Driving the Customer Experience: Omnichannel Strategy & the Future of Digital Payments

Payments Leader

Posted on May 14, 2015

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Customers have more payment options than ever before. As technology advances, merchants need to be ahead of the changes by updating their systems to accept these new forms of payment. Businesses also need to innovate to ensure their customers receive a frictionless, responsive and revolutionary shopping experience. Unification of the customer experience across those payment channels is the goal of omnichannel strategy.

Consumers want to feel as if their journey to purchase is personalized, but not intruded upon. The aim of omnichannel strategy is to make sure that no matter where the consumer accesses a business – whether from a mobile app, web site or in-store – they have a seamless purchasing experience. The efficiency and ease of their experience ultimately decides whether or not they will become a repeat customer. The continuous personalization of a consumer’s likes and dislikes, along with accurate product incentives with flexible payment acceptance, – will drive sales, increase customer retention and drive omnichannel purchasing behavior.

Omnichannel Purchasing with Mobile
Retailers with an omnichannel strategy reap many benefits by creating a frictionless transaction experience from start to finish. As consumers begin to adopt and get more comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices, businesses need to deploy a mobile point-of=sale (mPOS) solution to complement their existing payments infrastructure.

mPos solutions will optimize and leverage business resources and the transactional experience of the consumer. Instead of relying on designated checkout counters with associates behind them, mPOS allows the associate to address a customer’s needs in real-time from a mobile device – anywhere, anytime on the store floor.  An integrated mPOS solution combines with the store’s traditional POS and back office infrastructure to help personalize customer experience in many ways. It also increases the speed of checkout.

In addition, mPOS gathers purchase history across all delivery channels, providing the sales associate with more information about the customer, including preferences and interests. This information can create tailored discounts on items a customer would like to buy and can push mobile alerts for additional promotions – all while in the store. mPOS technology  thinks ahead and offer a wide array of secure payment acceptance choices from chip and NFC to digital wallets.

Pay at the Table
An example of a revolutionary advancement in omnichannel technology is the delivery of pay-at-the-table for restaurants. Instead of customers sitting down and waiting for someone to introduce the menu and take orders, the customers can do it themselves. A tablet on the table allows access to the menu, announces specials, lists nutrition values, takes orders, and can even offer games and present the bill. One company offering this service reports that tips increased 16% and restaurants turn over tables for other customers seven to 10 minutes faster, and the average bill per table increases more than 5%.

Starbucks created something similar when it rolled out its mobile ordering system. Rather than speed up table-turnover, however, it speeds up the ordering process. The system allows customers to choose their items and see the wait times at various locations using GPS functionality. Customers can then pay via the app and visit the store of their choice to pick up their items.

Be Prepared and Act Now
Responding to changing payments dynamics takes preparation, but the time to act is now. You must think ahead, understand your retail environment and implement a strategy to prepare for digital payments in order to remain relevant to your customer. And there’s no time to wait.

Now is the time to begin upgrading your current hardware and consider supporting it with software and cloud technology that seamlessly pulls together your front and back office functions. . As payment technology and customer preferences evolve, you must choose a flexible and secure solution that will handle alternative payment types such as NFC, chip, Apple Pay, Samsungand whatever may come next. Creating a fast checkout experience and streamlining the customer’s interaction with you will drive repeat business and will help expand your customer base through social media.

By marrying your front and back office systems, you can provide your customers with personalized rewards for their purchases and direct them to other product lines they might be interested in, thus driving demand. This incentivizes customers to return, revolutionizes their experience and establishes a strong operating brand for your company, which can result in increased sales and optimum service levels.

 

 

 

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Payments Leader

Payments Leader from FIS provides insights on credit, loyalty, fraud and emerging payments strategies through blog posts from our industry experienced authors.