What happens when your Uber ride reaches your destination?
You get out of the car.
No fumbling around for your wallet. No need to worry about tips. In fact, you don’t even need to worry about having any cash on you at all.
The same goes for Amazon. Or Venmo. You can check out and pay in one click. Or, you can split bills online, no awkward conversations about who ordered the priciest entrée. Or who owes whom.
Amazon, Uber, Venmo and others have perfected the frictionless experience. Once customers are onboarded, they don’t have to think about payment ever again. The process stays in the background, invisible to the naked eye.
Merchants’ fates are inextricably linked to what customers want. So, as they continue to embrace frictionless experiences, merchants are under mounting pressure to deliver or risk losing out.
But customer expectations are sky high. They want a seamless experience across channels. They want end-to-end service, as well as wanting to pay using the method and currency of their choice.
These are big asks. Not all merchants have the resources to dissect every single aspect of the customer journey and reduce it to the bare essentials. Nor is it usually possible, or financially feasible, to offer every payment method under the sun.
Given this shifting landscape, it’s no longer enough for PSPs to be mere service providers. More and more, PSPs are facilitators, helping merchants streamline their processes, doing the heavy lifting and — why not? — giving advice along the way.
PSPs have the technology, experience and know-how to assist merchants on multiple levels. Point-of-sale hardware and online card payments aside, they can provide application programming interfaces, which would allow them to accept digital wallets and other alternative methods. In addition, creating a social community goes a long way and Venmo is setting its service apart from the others, which is what other payment companies need to consider when making the shift.
But PSPs should also continue to innovate, because there’s still a long way to go. Case in point, most digital wallets still rely on physical cards to function. Once this requirement is circumvented, it’ll surely create a paradigm shift in frictionless capability.
It seems obvious, but merchants value flexibility, relevance and convenience just as much as their B2C counterparts. They like seamless experiences, integration and having everything in one place. And they want to focus on their core business without having to worry about declines, chargebacks, interchange fees and other complex payments stuff.
Clearly, PSPs can no longer afford to restrict their focus. The future increasingly belongs to those who can become their merchants’ universal digital resource. Those that can smooth the path for customers but take friction out of the process for merchants, too.