Omnichannel payment services offer sales optimization value-add

Page editors for A/B testing, alternative payments integration, and reverse logistics wins. Omnichannel payment services ramp up features.
27 February 2023

Cash is not the only payments king. Omnichannel services cater for a wide range of payment methods and bring new features to the table. Image credit: Shutterstock Generate.

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Converting sales prospects into repeat customers takes hard work and dedication. And no company wants their efforts to be derailed at the final hurdle – payments. “Consumers want to choose how and when they shop, in-store, online and mobile,” comments Verifone on its website. “They expect an engaging experience that is fast, frictionless, safe and reliable.” Get that right and firms can push ahead of the competition. There are other wins up for grabs too, which explains why interest in omnichannel payment services is climbing.

Omnichannel payment services unify the customer experience and streamline the process no matter whether shoppers are online or instore. And that includes reverse logistics too. Clothing isn’t always going to be the perfect fit and items break. Product returns need to be built into sales operations and must be budgeted for. But they bring a silver lining too. Discussing e-commerce logistics in 2022, Shopify cites research that 76% of first-time buyers who’d had an “easy” or “very easy” returns experience said they would shop with that retailer again.

And having flexible returns options can be key to winning the business in the first place. FIS, which acquired Worldpay in2019, runs through some of the considerations that retailers need to plan for. Research suggests that when it comes to returning items, 40% of customers find it easier to take goods back to the store. And, tellingly, if that service isn’t available to online shoppers as well as customers instore, then there’s a good chance that the retailer will lose business as a result. FIS reports that 17% of shoppers wouldn’t make a purchase without a return to store option. Seamless omnichannel payment services help to preserve customer journeys from start to finish.

Unified commerce

In Worldpay’s case, the omnichannel payment services provider teamed up with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to offer clients a unified commerce platform dubbed ‘Omnistore’. The system makes use cases such as processing online purchase returns in-store much more straightforward. Cashiers can quickly call up customer details, log the returns, and make refunds to the original source of payment. Having a unified customer view available is key to creating a successful omnichannel environment that makes payments easy for customers.

It’s not hard to picture the advantages for businesses that have an omnichannel payment gateway – capable of servicing online transactions, purchases made over the phone, in-store, and via other methods – compared with those that don’t. And it’s more than just maximizing sales. Routing the various sales channels through a single gateway simplifies merchant support and reporting.

Payments hardware has come on leaps and bounds. A single device can perform many of the functions that would have required juggling multiple pieces of kit not so long ago. In restaurants, staff can take orders and receive payments on a single handheld device. Alternatively, patrons can choose to pay on their own smartphones – for example, directed by QR codes – with omnichannel payment services linking everything together on the back end. Reducing the amount of technology that merchants need to deploy in-store helps with updates and makes it simpler to add new features. Mobile solutions mean that customers don’t necessarily have to find a till point to make their payment, and designers can radically rethink in-store shopping experiences.

Impactful features

Colin Neil, Managing Director of Adyen’s UK operations, sees modern payments technology as levelling the business playing field with smaller firms gaining too from omnichannel payment services. Plug-and-play hardware means that companies of all sizes can capitalize on the performance gains and implement best-in-class customer service functionality. And again, some of the spinoff benefits can be unexpected. For example, payments technology makes it possible to include a donation as part of the transaction. Adyen reports that Body Shop customers raised £350,000 for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), through donations at online and in-store checkouts, which adds to the positive impact of omnichannel payment services.

Combining payments operations into one paves the way for optimizing the process. Globally, customers may have very different preferences. It’s easy to name icons such as Visa and Mastercard. But that’s leaving out some alternative options that have big uptake in their host countries, such as paying using Pix in Brazil, iDEAL in the Netherlands, or Swish in Switzerland– to give just a few examples. PayXpert highlights that omnichannel payment services make it much easier for firms to add a wide variety of alternative payment methods to attract local customers and ramp up sales.

Tools such as payment page editors make it possible for retailers to extend valuable e-commerce techniques such as A/B testing into the transactions space. And users can quickly settle on a payments page design that optimizes online checkouts by keeping customer friction to a minimum. Behind the scenes, dashboards can help to monitor for signs of fraud and help operators balance sales volume against risk.

Omnichannel payment services give retailers a valuable sales platform with far reaching operational features.