Omnichannel retailing has been gaining steam for years. But more recently, it has surged as consumers demand greater shopping and buying flexibility. Customers today look to browse on any device anywhere to compare prices and inventory—all while shopping in-store or online and picking up in-person or receiving delivery at home.
In other words, shoppers everywhere are becoming channel agnostic, open to engaging with merchants in virtually any way possible. The one thing that has never changed, though, is that consumers still want a simple, secure and seamless customer experience.
Merchants, too, recognize that payment flexibility is an opportunity to enhance their agility and adaptability. According to 451 Research,1 67% of merchants strongly agree that modern payments infrastructure will have a transformative impact on their business over the next three years.
Sound easy? “Despite the level of innovation in the marketplace, no one payment method fully satisfies consumer needs for ubiquity, convenience, security and speed across every payments use case,” according to a report by Aite-Novarica Group.2 “As a result, consumers still struggle with pain points across the payments value chain.”
How can merchants succeed with seamless commerce? These Frequently Asked Questions explain what you need to know to make sure your payment platforms gives consumers the seamless experience they want.
1. How Are Consumer Behaviors Changing?
The trend toward mobile payments has accelerated as consumers favor contactless and remote transactions. Online shopping has also surged. Years of innovation became compressed into months, with merchants rapidly adapting to this development. Today, merchants are seeking solutions that are frictionless and secure, such as Discover®Secure Remote Commerce, which allows consumers to use the simple Click to Pay feature. This removes the need for passwords and reduces manual entry of personal information, while adding a layer of security. Other top payment options that have come to dominate in various regions include digital wallets and QR codes, which are the top payment methods in China.
2. What is Seamless Commerce?
Seamless commerce allows consumers to browse, shop, pay and choose methods of fulfillment from any device or combination of devices. As consumers shop in different channels, they don’t want to encounter friction when they move between these methods. They want a unified experience. For example, a consumer might research and buy a product on a mobile app, pick it up in-store, only to print out a label on the merchant’s website for return.
At the same time, consumers overwhelmingly want the highest measure of security when they are moving between channels. According to 451 Research,4 90% of consumers are somewhat or very willing to go through additional steps at checkout for enhanced security. The good news is that they can have both. By implementing solutions such as Discover® ProtectBuy, a 3D Secure customer authentication solution, merchants can have an added layer of protection.
3. What is Cross-Channel Consumption?
It used to be that customers had significant loyalty to their method of shopping. Consumers either preferred online buying or in-store shopping. Not anymore. Today’s consumers want a mix-and match approach, where they come to products through multiple touchpoints. But they don’t want to encounter any hiccups when they do. In fact, nearly half of consumers surveyed (48%) said they left a store at least once in the past 90 days and did not make a purchase because the line was too long.4 One-third of consumers said they would prefer the ability to pay ahead online and pick up in store.4 By building a seamless cross-channel business model that lets consumers shop whenever and wherever they want, merchants can grow revenue and build loyalty.
4. What is Curated Consumption?
Technology offers consumers practically unlimited options. But with the mind-boggling amount of choices, consumers can become paralyzed. They need new tools to narrow down—or curate— the vast number of choices regarding what to buy, experience, read, watch or wear. Curated commerce carefully selects products that appeal to a particular demographic based on their search and purchase history.
5. How Do Curated Consumption and Cross-Channel Consumption Fit into Seamless Commerce?
Consumer habits are changing, and consumers are increasingly demanding that merchants tear down the walls between channels. Seamless commerce bridges the gap between in-store and e-commerce with the increasing presence of so-called Open Banking and Open Finance. These create new opportunities for cross-channel marketing and transactions by turning banking and payments data into customer insights to provide exceptional customer experience through an integrated network of financial services. But, integrating payment types is a top challenge for merchants wanting to make the most of curated and cross-channel consumption.
6. How Can Merchants Succeed with Seamless Commerce?
Today’s consumers expect to be given alternatives in the way they shop and pay. For merchants, this means they need to provide the seamless payments options that their customers want. To achieve this, merchants should rethink how they approach much of their customers’ shopping experience, from increasing payment options and building loyalty to making transactions simpler and easier, and working with payments partners to keep their technology up-to-date.
Trend to Seamless Will Continue
Changing consumer behaviors—and the changes in payments that come with them—will continue to offer greater opportunity for merchants who embrace seamless commerce. But challenges remain. Working with payments partners that have deep experience in payments integration is key to developing the seamless commerce that today’s consumers expect.
“While change has always been a constant in the payments landscape,” according to Mercator Advisory Group, “the accelerating rate of change makes it harder for merchants doing business in multiple channels and across multiple regions to stay current.”