Winning consumers means making payments invisible

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The payment part of a transaction remains one of the highest points of friction in the customer purchase journey. Innovative companies that find ways to mitigate that friction will attract customers to transact faster and more frequently.

It wasn’t long ago that payment signaled the end of a transaction and marked the culmination of a consumer’s journey with a business. But Uber helped change the game by making paying for a ride not only seamless, automated and smartphone-based, but also practically invisible to consumers.

Businesses thinking about how to de-emphasize the payment stage of shopping are also taking cues from unexpected sources. Video game developers excel at facilitating in-game payments for access to additional capabilities and levels of play — all without interrupting the gaming experience. The widespread adoption of mobile games reflects consumers’ increasing comfort with transactions that don’t necessarily feel like transactions, at least in the traditional sense.
As more companies follow suit and reinvent the shopping experience to evolve with customer expectations, the payment component of the customer experience is increasingly fading into the background — especially in mobile and online payment strategies. Forecasts indicate “invisible” transactions will become much more common in the mass market by 2022. Retailers should take note of this shift and consider redefining the customer journey.

Improving the customer’s journey with a seamless mobile experience doesn’t only delight the customer — it can also help companies harness the power of mobile data to gain an edge in the marketplace.

Analyzing data that shows how and where customers make purchases can help businesses create a personalized shopping experience for each individual shopper. And with nearly 90% of consumers demanding a personal touch, companies will be hard-pressed to deliver.

Each click from a customer who visits a website or mobile app is a data point. Visits and conversion rates are important, but it’s also important to monitor what happens between the moment someone enters your website and the moment they decide to make a purchase — or leave. Companies that fail to capture this full range of indicative data could miss out on crucial insights that spark new sales or new engagement points with the consumer.

For example, some retail chains use geolocation data to detect when customers step into the store, then deliver customized offers to their smartphones. Other companies feature customized digital rewards programs, taking into account each customer’s buying history and location.

Advanced digital delivery solutions can also help drive customers' actions in stores. For instance, geofencing uses mobile location based services to determine a customer’s proximity to a store and, in moments, sends them a one-time “must use now” coupon. This just-in-time approach is gaining in popularity among the most competitive companies.

Capitalizing on insights gained from mobile data, in combination with data from other customer interactions, can help companies get a 360-degree view of their customers, build smarter loyalty programs, more precisely measure campaign performance and help reduce costs. All of these insights give businesses a deeper understanding of their sales trends that are critical to driving performance.

Technology transformations have empowered today’s consumer to expect more out of a shopping experience, with nearly 70% of consumers saying their standard for good experiences are higher than ever. These evolving expectations present retailers with an unprecedented opportunity to innovate.

Every day, we move closer to a multichannel commerce experience in which payments are seamless, secure and invisible, and the customer experience is personalized and tailored to their shopping journey. We’re seeing channels converge and devices working together to make those journeys more simple, personal and accessible. Companies studying these trends and making the effort to understand consumer behaviors and preferences can outpace the competition by reimagining their engagement and relationships with their customers.

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