The need for optimized omnichannel payment experiences will only grow as consumers and businesses embrace digital and as preferences evolve.
Omnichannel has been a buzzword in retail for years, with other industries catching on more recently. Simply put, it means creating a cohesive customer experience that is channel-agnostic: a consumer should receive the same high-quality service across every online touchpoint of your company. This consistency is especially important as consumers adopt digital methods at record levels and engage with their providers in multiple formats — even within a single customer journey.
Somehow, payment processing has not quite kept up with this omnichannel trend. When companies try to create universal customer experiences, they often forget about the back end. Rather than using the same provider to create identical workflows, many companies turn to individual channel experts. An omnichannel experience might therefore be cobbled together through multiple software solutions, creating a complex web of technology behind the scenes that can end in a less-than-ideal customer experience.
Of course, these challenges do not mean that a company should avoid omnichannel investments: quite the opposite actually — a BigCommerce and PayPal study found that a majority of consumers prefer to shop in-store, yet 62.5% are still making most of their purchases online. Companies must ensure their omnichannel strategy is optimized from end to end. Get it right and payments will be smoother, easier, and more secure — which is just what consumers want.
Consumers like to recognize a brand’s presence, whether using a desktop, mobile, or brick-and-mortar. Creating identical checkout flows (or as close to identical as possible) can help consumers feel more comfortable and therefore more likely to convert their purchases. Still, success in today’s online world requires more than just similar-looking end-user platforms. If a system isn’t unified on the back end, complications arise for everyone.
A payment that was made through one channel may not be trackable or refundable on another. Retailers must be able to accept a return in-store that was purchased online. Additionally, if a merchant is patching together multiple software programs, it can be difficult to upgrade all the platforms consistently and ensure that experiences remain cohesive over time. With a single provider, these concerns can be eradicated as uniformity is guaranteed. Switching from a patchwork solution to an integrated system will streamline the entire process.
Security is paramount when dealing with payment solutions, yet many companies are leaving themselves vulnerable with their current omnichannel approach. When several different software applications are patched together, maintaining a rigorous security protocol can be more challenging, making it easier for cybercriminals to launch attacks under the radar.
While solid security protocols are possible to achieve with a patchwork system, accommodating multiple integrations often requires extra layers of security, which can then burden the customer. A checkout should feel secure, but not so restricted that the consumer is jumping through hoops to be approved. With a single payments provider, there is much less concern about cumbersome checkout procedures. Instead, companies can deploy a trustworthy security system across all channels.
With a comprehensive omnichannel strategy, efficiency and security can guarantee an easy customer journey. More intelligent security ensures customers aren’t tasked with inputting their information over and over again. A streamlined back-end that supports channel-agnostic returns and refunds caters to customer preferences and convenience. Ease of purchase should be the focus.
There are many clear benefits to investing in a comprehensive omnichannel payments system. First, an improved customer experience will translate directly to greater conversions simply by removing the friction that can prompt cart abandonment. With fewer barriers to purchase, the sale is easier to achieve.
There is also the added trust and confidence felt by the consumer when they experience a secure and fast checkout. Consumer confidence is likely to promote longer-term loyalty and repeat business, which can drive significant value for a company’s bottom line. Regular customers create a healthy, reliable cash flow that can then be reinvested in future innovations or simply kept as profit.
Omnichannel programs, when implemented successfully, also produce a richer well of insights. Each channel can be viewed as part of a singular ecosystem, which leads to greater visibility and makes it easier to detect patterns and trends across the company. Finally, it is much simpler to manage performance, troubleshoot issues, and upgrade software when working with a single provider.
Companies are well-aware of omnichannel and its benefits, even if they haven’t fully recognized the importance of back-end unification. Fortunately, the right payment provider will make it possible to integrate omnichannel strategies end-to-end so that both vendor and customer can benefit.
Talk to our team of payment experts to know more.
We’re giving you a fresh dose of insights, perspectives and the latest trends from the world of payments.