Life is busy and time is scarce. Digitisation has encouraged people to look for easy, simple and efficient solutions to challenges they face in their daily lives.
These rules are no different in the retail sector. Consumers want to buy and retailers want to sell, it’s as simple as that. The technical details inherent in making a payment happen are of no concern to either party, and should not complicate matters.
Whether customers are buying online, in-store, or from anywhere in between, the experience must be seamless to ensure complete satisfaction and repeat custom. A true omnichannel solution can address the fast-changing demands of today’s consumer and become a crucial foundation for the future of retail – it is the obvious option. Yet, it has become far too easy for retailers to pay lip service to the omnichannel approach without truly delivering what this should promise.
The term ‘omnichannel’ is used a lot in the retail industry, but its meaning is often misinterpreted. Consumers demand the ability to buy and return goods across any channel, anywhere and at any time, and retailers need systems to work seamlessly without thinking about backend complexities behind payment processes.
A true omnichannel solution should deliver a fully integrated payment solution, operating not just across multiple channels, but multiple countries, currencies and payment methods, whilst providing automated reporting and reconciliation.
What most retailers offer to consumers is a multi channel payment experience, not a true omnichannel payment solution. This is in part due to the complexities around security and compliance as European countries are required to adopt different payment technologies in compliance with regulations specific to each country.
Despite the introduction of P2PE certification having significantly reduced the complexity of protocols between countries, still only a small number of companies are listed as PCI-P2PE Certified on the PCI Council website. One of the challenges all retailers face today is managing different acquirers in different markets across Europe, as there are a limited number of suppliers in the payments industry that can offer a truly integrated solution.
Therefore in reality retailers are often using “spaghetti solutions”, separate legacy systems bundled together at the reporting stage in order to provide an appearance of being omnichannel.
Reaping the benefits
Implementing a true omnichannel solution enables retailers to accept any alternative payment method, from any channel and in any country. This assures retailers that they aren’t going to lose customers purely because they don’t offer the desired payment method. Businesses can even reduce the time it takes to make a purchase by 25%, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and consequently, larger sales for retailers. This allows retailers to focus instead on improving the customer journey and overall experience.
Operating under one single payment solution means that retailers can find all their payment data in one place. They can track and analyse consumer behaviour across a range of stores or countries, and act more quickly and easily on these findings, rather than being forced to transfer data across different solutions and risk the chance of human error in the reporting process. Additionally, organisations can implement loyalty schemes and gift card solutions across different channels and markets, something normally restricted by country borders. This in turn not only improves customer engagement, but also streamlines a retailer’s brand internationally.
So getting omnichannel right brings huge benefits. To reap these rewards though, retailers must interrogate suppliers over their ‘omnichannel’ offering. If they are truly to meet the needs of today’s consumer they will need to do more than just operate across multiple channels. Simpler, easier and more efficient payments, can be a reality for both for the consumer and the retailer but there has to be substance behind the rhetoric.
AltaPay’s mission is to give control to our clients over payment flow, UI, data and cost transparency – enabling change, growth and global expansion.