Dave O’Brien, CEO of Agreement Express, discusses how rapid changes in the payments industry have put pressure on merchants to adapt and deliver an omnichannel experience for customers. Find his insights and recommendations in The Connected Economy’s Power Source – CEO Edition.
The simplest way to get your blood pressure to rise? Stand in line at the grocery store and watch the person in front of you pull out a check. If you were born in the year 2000 or later, you likely don’t even know what that means, as the payments industry is rapidly changing. The most transformational impact in the next few years will be how this industry will streamline and create an amazing consumer experience.
Consumers enjoy an experience that’s completely seamless and, if necessary, contactless as well. To enable this, merchants must create the ultimate experience, one in which the consumer engages the same way at the point of transaction as they would when making a purchase online. Already the industry is being disrupted by companies that are moving very fast and changing expectations at every level.
This means to stay in the game, you have to not only speed up, but you must be laser-focused on your direction. You can move fast, but if it’s in the wrong direction in today’s market, you may never make it back. Today’s consumers have higher expectations than ever before, and merchants who can meet those expectations will reap the benefits. In turn, those merchants demand a high level of performance from their payment service providers (PSPs). Forward-looking merchants require versatile, all-encompassing solutions.
Thus, the firms focusing on monetizing payment revenue streams and taking on risk are seeing the greatest transformation. Though invisible to the consumer, these game-changing and proven exponential improvements in back-end processing provide frontend consumers with an amazing omnichannel experience.
The best part? Spending in these areas generates a tremendous proven return on investment. According to The State of Commerce Experience, 40 percent of B2C consumers would pay more for a better experience – and in B2B, the appetite rises to 56 percent. Even more telling, the same respondents indicated that they would not repeat a purchase if they had a poor experience the first time. What constitutes a “poor experience” will continue to shift over time.
Today, a merchant without the ability to save a customer’s basket across all channels and devices would generally be considered as offering a poor experience. This is something retailers must actively pursue if they want to grow their market.
An omnichannel consumer experience requires linkage between multiple channels in order to provide that seamless experience. Though simplified on the front end, the process is highly complex for the organization. While simplicity is hard to achieve, it is getting easier with outsourced software. We’ve also seen incredible enhancements in the tools we use for investigating risk, underwriting, evaluating merchants and processing payments.
These innovations have made it possible for organizations to retain a larger piece of the pie without taking on the burden themselves. The crazy part is that we are in the infant stages of all of this change. The firms that are meeting quarterly to discuss strategy, and constantly challenging themselves on their speed and direction, will have a bright – and, daresay, fun – future.