The payment platform that levels the playing field for retailers
Early visitors to the first Apple stores were wowed with some fantastic technology — not just what was on offer for sale, but they were in awe of the software the global giant used both online and in-store.
Customers back then and to this day can order online and pick up in-store, with handheld point-of-sale units wielded by staff who have every customers’ details and payment methods literally on-hand.
Back in the early 2000s, the whole experience was pretty revolutionary, leading to a slew of competitors copying the model, including — with varying degrees of success, Google and Microsoft.
Today, bringing together online and in-store payments, customer service, payment options like installments and subscriptions, and varied return options are becoming more standard. But all of this still seems to require significant investment in both infrastructure and the fintech to piece a complete service together.
Some notable names in this market space, such as Elavon, have developed specialist platforms that operate with multiple currencies and payment methods — and have been doing so for 20+ years. The fin-tech service, which established its original European foothold in Ireland, now has teams in the UK, Poland, Germany, Norway and Spain – serving those countries and their neighbours. It offers a payment gateway that unifies online and in-person payments (and refunds) and can accept more than 130 currencies, plus offers several advanced features that are only available thanks to some very smart technology.
It’s technology that’s available to startups and enterprises alike – meaning, whatever your size, you can compete on a level playing field. So, while bigger retailers and restaurant chains continue to drive the quality of retail experience higher, even smaller operators can more easily meet the levels of care customers now expect.
Omnichannel is more than a buzzword
Today, customers expect to be able to buy in person, organise a return online, have an order delivered to three different places on different days, and be kept up-to-date at all times as to the progress of every element.
All these variations are now available to any retailer without deep technical knowledge or millions to invest. Many organisations already operate online and run brick-and-mortar stores, but rarely do the two environments co-exist easily. And critically, the two can’t form a cohesive experience for customers — at least, not without significant investment — in interconnecting software and systems that create a seamless overlay.
Right now, retailers of any size can use payment provider Elavon to give them the kind of options that have only been available to the big-name retailers. For business owners and operations directors who don’t want to spend their entire budgets on IT development and services, that’s good news.
The Elavon payment gateway can be added to an existing e-commerce site, either white-labeled, as a branded frame inside a page, or anonymously in the background via the Elavon APIs — the options are there depending on your company’s technical capabilities, but all offer a high-quality of end-user experience.
The same technological facility also operates in-store and integrates with electronic point-of-sales systems (ePOS). Immediately, even small businesses can offer omnichannel retail, with seamless data flows between brick-and-mortar and internet stores in apps or on the web.
Customers in-store can pay with contactless, or order online, and pick up locally. Plus, retailers can operate pop-up stores or outlets, take mobile payments and pre-payments anywhere, and get paid in near-real-time. No more waiting until the end of the month for reconciliation.
There are many thousands of pages on the web given to data governance, the GDPR, PCI DSS, PSD2, and a whole host of other legislation and red tape. That can be a minefield even for big business, so Elavon takes care of staying on the right side of the law and the wrong side of fraudsters. Its multi-currency platform operates with all due diligence to local statutes and regulations, complies with tax laws, and does all this seamlessly behind the scenes
One immediate gain for the retailer is retaining customers’ payment details, and giving them self-service to manage expiry dates, lost cards, forgotten details, and so on. That means repeat payments are now possible simply and quickly, and it opens the subscription and pay-later payment models for any retailer.
In the next article about payment gateway operator Elavon, we’ll dive deeper into the many omnichannel options and advantages the company’s software systems present.
But until then, if what you’ve read here has piqued your interest, why not take the first steps? The Elavon website’s home page asks a few questions as to what you’re looking to achieve and what systems your organisation already uses. That’s the basis for your next moves, with options for demos and conversations the next logical steps in your investigations.
And don’t forget to check back here on the pages of Tech HQ for our own exploration of the platform’s capabilities. Your retail empire might not have flagship glass cube stores in Times Square, but that’s no reason not to behave like it does.
1 December 2022
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