omnichannel: the new must have?

The New Black of Payments

Even though the name may make it sound complex, omnichannel payments simply means an ability to take payments in a wide variety of ways, providing customers with the same level of convenience and service for each one. Omnichannel is therefore an umbrella term covering payments, from online and in-person to recurring billing, invoicing and mobile; from cash and credit and debit cards to checks and contactless payment. 

What Does it Mean in Practice?

This, of course, means retaining the services of one or several processors who will then expand your payment options. Some processors only deal in one payment method while some are an all-in-one solution.

Using an all-in-one processor is recommended, since having a secondary processor may sound like a good 'backup' policy, but in reality means paying fees for services that are not used regularly. However, you would be wise to have multiple merchant accounts with your processor, since this is likely to positively affect your pricing, if the types of payment you use include both card-present and card-not-present. 

Payment Types and Channels

'card-present' 

The staff runs the card through a reader, be it a magnetic or a chip card or a contactless/NFC payment card

'card-not-present' 

Does not require a card swipe: mobile payments, online shopping, recurring or subscription billing, invoicing with links to secure payment options or keyed transactions

Omnichannel allows customers to receive real-time assistance from the same customer service, regardless of which channel they use, which greatly reduces customer frustration. 9 out of 10 customers expect consistent interaction across all channels and over two thirds research information on their items while in-store before purchasing them as well as expecting staff to be knowledgeable about online-only products. Over half of shoppers using omnichannel expect to be able to purchase an item online and pick it up in-store. Likewise, the number of touch points an average consumer uses while buying an item has increased from 2 to 6 over the last 15 years, with almost 50% of consumers regularly using more than 4.

Toward Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction can significantly increase with omnichannel, since it streamlines the payments and service providing ('click and collect'), allows for impulsive purchases of even temporarily out-of-stock items, and thus increasing flexibility.

Purchases can be split, such as in the case of items available in-store being charged for immediately and others upon restock. With omnichannel payment, cards can serve as identification upon package delivery if, of course, they were used to pay for said package.

Omnichannel Tokens Tell All

With omnichannel it is easy to spot consumer behavior across channels by using an omnichannel token in the form of a payment card. This will improve your customer knowledge.

Once you apply this information to your business practices, for example when creating loyalty programs, you will improve customer satisfaction. And since using tokens means you will no longer store card data on your servers, the risks to e-payment will be reduced and overall security improved.

OMNICHANNEL FUTURE

According to surveys, businesses that adopt omnichannel can expect up to 91% greater customer retention and, according to Aberdeen Group's survey report,9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, a percentage that is expected to increase with the number of omnichannel adopters among customers rising. Surveys also indicate that by 2020 demand for an omnichannel customer experience will force businesses to invest resources in nearly perfect execution, which is then set to become a deal-breaker for both old and new customers.

Benefits of Omnichannel

  • simplicity: an all-in-one processor means only one customer
  • lowers administrative costs
  • easier business management: single report contains all key business metrics from sales trends and revenue to returning customer ratios, channel efficiency and e-commerce and store activity
  • web refunds secure and on-the-spot with reduced refund costs