Wait! What? What now am I supposed to be doing for my business?
Maybe you are a business owner who has been operating your business for 40 years or maybe you just finally opened your dream business in the recent years. Either way, how familiar are you with the concept of Omni-commerce in the marketplace and how well are you utilizing it for your business? (And what does it have to do with your retail merchant account?)
We are integrating technology more and more into our daily lives and along with it the internet and the Internet of Things. Today consumers are more connected than ever before. With the popularity of tools like Amazon Alexa and Google Home infiltrating our every waking moment, our smart phones permanently attached to our bodies it’s almost impossible to ever leave home without it.
In today’s retail marketplace it is not enough to be using multiple channels to engage your customer. Means such as mobile marketing, social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, a beautiful website, are all great ways to interact with your customers. But what are you doing to make sure this is a cohesive experience for your customers? It is not enough anymore to just have all of these channels, they have to also integrate well with each other to be considered true omni-channel, otherwise you are wasting it’s true potential.
What exactly is Omni-commerce and what does it mean for your business?
Omni-commerce is a new term that was coined to encompass the concept of a “consistent and integrated customer experience that is seamless, across all sales channels. That means a customer’s experience when interacting with a retailer, whether in-store, online, on a mobile device or even on social media, is all connected and works together to help make the purchase happen.”
So I am sure you can see how important this concept is to all retail merchants today. As the needs of the consumers change so must you. Millennials are not only the major users of mobile devices but they are also the major drivers of omni-commerce technology. They expect a contiguous experience regardless of the avenue by which they are interacting with a retailer.
“If you, as a merchant, are not willing to offer your customers a fully integrated payment experience within your omni-commerce channels you will not be able to remain relevant with today’s, let alone tomorrow’s consumers.”
In a study done back in 2015 by InReality they found that 75% of shoppers use their mobile device while in a physical store and that 25% of Americans have actually made an online purchase while standing in a brick-and-mortar store. What do you think that number is today?
The important thing to keep in mind is that consumers do their shopping and ultimately buying from a variety of different locations, for a variety of different reasons. They are used to being able to accomplish what they need wherever and whenever it is most convenient for them. For instance men are more likely to purchase items after drinking than women are, but 25% of men and women alike across ALL generations have actually made a purchase using their mobile device while standing in a brick and mortar retail shop.
Recent studies show that the majority of debit card users that want to be able to take advantage of a mobile wallet are using Apple Pay. Apple pay commands 77% of the mobile wallet share for debit card users while Samsung captured 17%. This is largely attributed to the fact that apple tends to appeal to a younger consumer market who may not be using credit cards. But guess what? They will only get older and more younger technologically savvy generations will follow.
Another recent study reveals that mobile wallet use should climb to 450 million users by the year 2020, and yet at the same time mobile wallet acceptance by merchants has actually decreased! And on top of that, in a recent study conducted by Periscope research, 78% of retailers feel that their consumers are not having a unified brand experience.
So, omni-commerce really refers to all of the channels through which your customers are interacting with your brand, and purchasing from your brand and how well those channels are integrated with each other.
Most importantly, an Omni-commerce strategy has the ability to allow retailers to better understand their customers, which ultimately helps to enhance relationships, as well as provides important analytics which can be used to reach out to new customers. As a retailer when you embrace omni-commerce as a sales strategy your customers will enjoy an enhanced shopping experience resulting in better sales and an even more loyal customer base.
What does omni-commerce have to do with my merchant account?
Retailers not only need to be able to provide their consumers the most cutting-edge tools in order to engage with them now, but also continuously into the future. And included smack dab in the middle of this seamless shopping experience is payment processing . It is an integral part of every single sales process ever to have existed. They go hand in hand now more than ever before. I the past a salesman was only concerned with the process of how you get the “yes”- there really wasn’t much concern with how he was going to actually take the payment. But today consumers expect a friction-less payment experience as well as a seamless shopping and buying experience overall. At the very end of the sales process, if there isn’t a smooth buying process the customer is likely to stop, think twice and abandon the cart. There is a whole philosophy on shopping cart abandonment and the various ways merchants can help to reduce the incidence on their websites, but that is for another day.
The point were trying to make here is that merchants need to be willing to make sure they are putting as much thought into the actual payment option as they do making the sale in the first place.
In this era of commerce business owners also need to change their mentality over payment processing. It has historically been viewed as just a thorn in the side. Every payment processor is just out to take advantage of you, right? Historically merchants have just viewed payment processing as a “one and done” kind of thing. They just know they need to accept payments and credit cards and they want the lowest rate they can possibly get and then they never want to think about and deal with it again. Until another young, hungry salesman walks through the door and promises to get them an even lower rate, which is every day….
“Our philosophy at Bankcard Brokers is simple. Provide businesses the truth about credit card processing, become their trusted resource, and the result will be a successful long term business relationship.”
Again, if you are working hard to have a cohesive presence, a true omni-commerce presence, then you must also consider how your payment options integrate with each one of those channels.
In order to do that you must have a merchant service provider that not only embraces new technologies but is instrumental in seeking out or creating the most innovative solutions for their customers. Recognizing the business needs of the merchant requires a merchant service provider who is well educated on all of the technologies available to retail merchants, even the ones they are not currently offering.
And as a retail merchant YOU will need to be flexible enough to evolve along with the changing market and your merchant service provider needs to not only be able to evolve but support you as your business evolves.
Merchant Services is not a one time chore, it is really more of an ongoing relationship that morphs along with your business as it grows. There is so much more than the rates that should be taken into consideration when you are choosing who to partner with for your merchant services. Things like reputation, security, customer service. Most reps just sign a merchant up for their merchant account and then ditch them for the next sale, do you have a dedicated service rep? Are they going to be there for you when you need an update or a change or did they just stick you with some 800# for the bank? That is not true service.
Whether you need multiple in store payment options along with online payments, mobile payment options, and then have it all integrate seamlessly you will want a MSP that is there for you when you call, ready to make suggestions and guide you to the right products for your particular businesses needs.
This expectation for a seamless sales experience and a friction-less payment experience isn’t just a passing trend. This will be the necessity of the future retail marketplace. Now, and as we move into the future of the retail marketplace, merchants have to be willing to change their mindset to one that is prepared to adapt to the needs of their consumers if they want to capitalize on the omni-commerce mindset of their customers. If you, as a merchant, are not willing to offer your customers a fully integrated payment experience within your omni-commerce channels you will not be able to remain relevant with today’s, let alone tomorrow’s consumers.
At Bankcard Brokers we pride ourselves on making every effort to remain on the forefront of innovative payment solutions and technology. Our representatives are ETA-Certified Payment Professionals who have shown their dedication to a obtaining a thorough knowledge of their profession as well as commitment to continued education and the integrity and Code of Ethics that goes along with this certification.