Elavon elevates the omnichannel customer experience
Customers are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping, now having many more options for buying and paying for goods and services, both online and off.
“Omnichannel truly is the new normal: for browsing, purchasing and post-sales servicing,” said Scott Frisby, head of strategy for Elavon Europe. “There is a desire to return to the social and recreational aspects of high-street shopping, but I think that online, in-app and remote shopping are permanent features of the retail landscape, and everyone involved in retail should be embracing that.”
Elavon is a leader in payment processing, serving over one million merchants worldwide, from large global enterprises to local small business owners. It processes nearly $450 billion of transactions around the world per year. Country surveys by Elavon and market researcher Ipsos MORI found that adults in Ireland, Poland and the UK have readily embraced various payment methods such as contactless payment, click-and-collect services, and digital wallets on smartphones or smartwatch, and, latterly, scan-and-go in stores.
“Interestingly, the most popular payment methods being used show consumers are embracing the full range of payment types available: from face-to-face in-store to online and omni-commerce,” said Simon Tune, commercial director for Elavon Europe, commenting on the survey.
They also found that 9 in 10 of those who started or increased their use of contactless payment methods during the pandemic plan to continue using those methods – specifically 94% in Ireland, 90% in Poland and 91% in the UK.
“Consumers, who in the past might have had security concerns about online shopping or found it confusing, have now had positive experiences for the most part, and new habits have formed,” said Frisby. Fraud remains a perennial concern, but payment providers and merchants are now supporting Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for cardholder-initiated remote transactions to protect customers and merchants from losses
Elavon’s white paper on optimisation noted that Europe’s card fraud losses reached Є1.55 billion in 2019. The UK accounted for 46% of Europe’s card fraud losses, in line with it being a market of large volumes and values of card transactions. Remote purchases accounted for 76% of the fraud where customers made electronic payments ‘at a distance’ via e-commerce and mobile payment.
SCA intends to help improve online payments security and reduce fraud. The UK will be the last participating nation to adopt it actively and is already ramping up to hit its (now extended) March 2022 deadline for full SCA compliance. Switzerland, too, will fully enforce the SCA by 15 September 2021.
Set a bar high, and fraudsters will continue to jump higher. Elavon anticipates this and leverages Featurespace’s innovative ARIC™ platform to further decrease fraud and enable merchants to detect anomalies and prevent bad actors from completing transactions. The technology can be applied across all payment methods and channels in real-time, and is aided by machine learning and adaptive behavioural analytics. This capability allows for payment optimisation (as low friction as possible) where fraud is minimised.
No one wants customers to drop their shopping bags because a physical self-serve checkout is complicated or an online authentication process takes too long. While the risks from fraud are ever-present, it is undeniable that omnichannel payment B2C is here to stay and is rapidly becoming the B2B norm across multiple verticals outside retail, including hospitality and transportation, areas in which Elavon specialises in.
“Technology is moving so fast, and customer expectations change every day – especially after their experience with other high-end retailers. They expect that high level of service elsewhere, including public transport,” said John Keys, group treasury manager for Translink, a public corporation and the primary provider of public transport in Northern Ireland.
Translink’s Future Ticketing System Project aims to provide more cashless options for its passengers, including pay-as-you-go using contactless debit and credit cards to travel and feature-rich online customer accounts via a mobile app. Elavon Europe supports these eCommerce and app sales channels to ensure the online transactions are secured and meet the SCA and PSD2 (EU’s second Payments Services Directive) requirements.
“Payment solutions can be complicated. Financial services can be complicated. There needed to be a real focus on the relationship and on providing high-quality services that Translink needed. We wanted access to the right people – the experts – who can get us answers quickly to things and guide how we do things,” Keys said, adding, “We have a huge reliance on our key payments partners – we can’t do this ourselves, and Elavon is a key part of that.”
The post-pandemic experience may differ between industries, but the omnichannel nature of customer interaction is likely to stay and thrive. Frisby observed: “Retailers of all stripes will have to pay close attention to how consumers are expressing their preferences. Many consumers will be determining their mix of face-to-face shopping versus e-commerce, and the retailers that win will be those who support consumers across all channels.”
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