Why an Omnichannnel Payment Strategy is Worthwhile in 2017
The term “omnichannel” has become so ubiquitous in marketing circles that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this term took hold. The general consensus is that omnichannel emerged in 2007, with the introduction of the iPhone. However, Retail Systems Research proposes that the roots of omnichannel lie in the idea of “customer centricity,” which retailers were exploring much, much earlier. Omnichannel strategies provide a path that cultivates customer loyalty and higher spend by putting the consumer at the center of the buying experience — both online and in-store.
By weaving together in-store, mobile and online operations, omnichannel strategies deliver a seamless shopping experience. Omnicommerce is about more than just securing the funds to pay for goods and services; it’s about the entire customer experience, from speed of checkout to loyalty. By investing in tools that use digital means to encourage in-store visits (and vice versa), retailers can harness the advantages of all channels.
Adopting an omnichannel strategy is all but mandatory to reach today’s smartphone-savvy shoppers. Increased adoption of mobile devices has given way to a more lucrative consumer who engages with retailers via multiple touchpoints, both online and offline. And there are a lot of them — 73 percent more consumers are omnichannel shoppers, according to a survey from the Harvard Business Review. The survey also revealed that omnichannel shoppers are more valuable than those who make purchases strictly online or in-store. Consider the following:
- Omnichannel shoppers spend more both in-store and online — an average 4 percent more in-store and 10 percent more online.
- Omnichannel shoppers are more loyal, visiting brick-and-mortar stores 23 percent more often over six months, and are more likely to refer friends.
- The more channels consumers use, the higher the spend — shoppers who interact with retailers in four or more channels spend 9 percent more in stores, on average.
There are simple ways your business can take advantage of this trend and begin implementing omnichannel strategies. Here are four to consider:
1. Expand payment options. Expanding your online payment options can help to reach diversified user preferences. Cards aren’t the only method of payment consumers want to use, and preferences follow generational trends. Younger consumers, for example, are demanding digital wallets, while many older buyers are using eCheck/direct debit.
2. Secure the buying process. Thirty-one percent of consumers worry about the security of their data, according to MarTech Advisor. Implementing advanced security features like encryption, tokenization and even biometric authentication can help solve these pain points.
3. Improve the online checkout experience. Twenty-eight percent of consumers find it too difficult to make a purchase on a mobile website, and 21 percent say it takes too long to make a purchase, again according to MarTech Advisor. The easier it is for consumers to buy, the lower the rate of shopping cart abandonment. Consider how often you view items online, but close the browser if you have to input a lot of information. Streamlining the checkout experience helps not only close sales, but encourage repeat visits.
4. Centralize customer data. Today’s consumers don’t care about systems integration — they expect an informed, convenient experience no matter how they interact with a brand. From order history and payment credentials to loyalty program credits, retailers need to create a channel-agnostic customer database to ensure customer touchpoints work in lockstep with each other.
As the buying experience continues to evolve for both consumers and merchants, retailers need to embrace omnichannel strategies. It’s clear that this type of on-demand buying experience is destined to become the norm for all commerce in the future.
Sayid Shabeer is vice president of merchant product at Vantiv, a credit card processing and payments services provider.