WeChat and the Future of Omnichannel
What WeChat’s success tells us about the future of omnichannel.
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13 December 2017
Australians made eCommerce stores richer by $32.56 billion in 2017, according to eMarketer’s estimates. The top 10 online stores taking a sizable cut of sales are JB Hi-Fi, The Iconic, Dan Murphy’s, Kogan, Catch, Appliances Online, Booktopia, Red Balloon, Temple & Webster and HardToFind, according to WebAlive.
Interestingly, a common theme amongst these key players is managing point-of-sales (POS) through multiple devices and channels enabling a seamless shopping experience for customers.
With that in mind, it might be worth pondering on how much of this online spend your eCommerce store managed to capture. Would your profit margins look fatter if you, too, were offering customers multi-device and multi-channel POS options?
For a more global perspective, let’s look to the US for what’s at stake if you don’t offer a breadth of choice. Forrester Research says by 2019, the US market for mobile payments will be worth an astounding $142 billion.
That figure was cited in PwC’s report, ‘Payments on the go: Making sense of the evolving mobile phone landscape’. The report describes that landscape as “still fragmented and unknown” with “few solutions having gained traction” among merchants or consumers alike in the US. And that’s where early adopters will likely also be the biggest gainers.
The report also says: “To succeed, a mobile payment system will have to solve multiple issues that have stymied adoption in the past.” It all comes down to offering a broader, more satisfying customer experience no matter what device or channel they’re hooking into to research and buy from your business.
So, how’s all that working in your business?
The lowdown on device agnosticism
An agnostic is a fence-sitter when it comes to believing in God, but in eCommerce, the term ‘agnostic’ means ensuring one device or channel for online payment doesn’t ‘lord’ over the others.
The technology allows purchasers to ‘follow’ the one that suits them at any particular time. The idea is to have your website designed to be ‘responsive’ to the end user, not make them ‘pay’ with their time and frustration on your platform when they’re trying to make a purchase.
Device-agnostic software or hardware doesn’t need manual modification to be compatible when run on smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers, for example. It also allows payments through multiple channels such as an integrated payment system, credit card, EFT, BPAY, peer-to-peer payment, apps, mobile device, direct debit, phone, email or even in your bricks-and-mortar store.
In short, omnichannel marketing is the aim.
Why you need to bother about POS options for your business
Your customers - it comes down to that. They expect a smooth brand and checkout experience on any device they choose to pay with and wherever they are.
Sounds reasonable, but what’s in it for your business?
Better customer experiences encourage them to linger on your site. This will make it more memorable so you’ll get repeat purchasing, higher brand awareness, engagement and loyalty. As well, POS options offer you flexible ways to scale up your business (or down if you wish).
What the stats say about purchasing patterns
A 2017 KPMG report, The Truth About Online Consumers, said 54% of Aussie purchasers preferred to buy via laptops/PCs, 8% via tablet, just 5% on their smartphone and a whopping one third said they had “no preference”.
Where are they when they’re doing this?
Most likely in bed, the bathroom, in the car, at the office or under the influence - in that order, found BigCommerce. Geographically, the biggest buyers are in Point Cook (Vic), Toowoomba (Qld), Liverpool and Gosford (NSW), and Cranbourne (Vic), according to Australia Post’s, Inside Australian Online Shopping: 2017 eCommerce Industry Paper.
However, no one shops just through a single medium and where you shop isn’t necessarily where you buy.
This is where it gets tricky: mobile is the preferred way to research and browse, desktop’s where we buy. BigCommerce says, overall, buyers spend 59% of their online shopping time browsing sites via their mobile or tablet, but these mobile browsers accounted for 38% of revenue. Meanwhile, 41% of web traffic to online travel sites came from desktop, but accounted for 67% of revenue.
Buyers researching your site via mobile phone or tablet generally aren’t tyre kickers, so why aren’t those devices leading to conversions? Perhaps missing or clunky POS options via channel or device are putting off your customers from purchasing. KPMG research shows payment options as well as consistent and seamless shopping experience across channels were among the top 10 reasons prompting customers to buy.
A pain-free approach to a new POS vista
Moving to a new POS system can cause headaches. It’s unlikely to be a flick-of-the-switch solution you can adopt overnight. So, how can your business be more accommodating to notch more conversions? Put in the time to plan and consider your options to take the pain out of your move to an array of payment choices for your customers.
Before you venture, consider:
The Devil's in the detail
When you’ve decided on a POS system, it’s best to get down to the details about how your customer and inventory data will be migrated. Planning to do that yourself … maybe manually or doing a bulk import? Get advice, give yourself time to make it happen such as by trialling a small batch to see how long it takes so it’s a smooth transition.
For most ebusinesses experiencing growth, locking into a long-term contract won’t be the best option. Not only will have to make an upfront payment, but you could be stuck with a system that’s not a good fit for you. Keep your business nimble with a subscription-based POS so you can scale up and down as you need.
However, paying for the software is one part of the deal. Consider, too, setup fees, costs in migration, maintenance, hardware and software, extra registers and payment processing.
What else is on the horizon?
Another consideration for staying nimble is the tech advances in blockchain and payment apps. It’s part of what KPMG’s Global Chair of Consumer Markets, Willy Kruh, calls the “move to cashless societies”. This will prompt retailers and online brands to create new ways of offering customer benefits.
Potentially the tech will offer more secure and cheaper online transactions, no fake goods - provenance can be verified easily - and guaranteed speed of delivery, claims the Cointelegraph site. But we’re not quite there yet.
Get on the bandwagon
A quality POS system that integrates with your portal to offer customers choice on payment options is crucial to the growth of businesses of any shape or size. We’re finding that businesses from across industries are adopting portable POS solutions to fit their customers’ demands for convenience.
Tap into Bambora’s advice and systems to work out how we can tailor a sophisticated solution for you. Get started today!
Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years, both in the UK and Australia.
What WeChat’s success tells us about the future of omnichannel.
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