Multichannel vs Omnichannel Payments

You know that helping consumers transact anytime, anywhere with speed and security has become central to the success of your business. This is also illustrative of how shopping - both online and instore - is now shifting from mere convenience to an experience.

This change, for the most part, has been spurred by changing digital behaviour. Take for instance, the fact that 77% of North Americans have a smartphone and nearly 60% of North American consumers will often conduct online research for a product while in a brick and mortar store. But it doesn’t end at that. Nearly 52% of customers as less likley to engage with a business that offers a subpar digital experience, according to SuperOffice.

As shopping behaviours change, so do the ways in which retailers do business. Taking your business “anytime anywhere” with multichannel payments is good. But delivering a seamless path to purchase with omnichannel payments is even better.

What is the Difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Payments?

Multichannel payments are about offering your customers different online or in-app channels to pay. If you have a brick-and-mortar store but also allow customers to purchase products on your eCommerce store, on a marketplace such as Amazon, and on social media networks such as Facebook, you’re offering them multi-channel payments.

Omnichannel, on the other hand, is about fusing shopping experiences (and payment touch-points) across your brick-and-mortar store, eCommerce site, mobile app, and more.

Here’s an example of omnichannel payments at work:

A customer walks into a clothing store. Soon, she is approached by a sales assistant, who knows that the customer has been in-store before thanks to face-recognition technology. The sales assistant then goes on to make personalised product recommendations on a hand-held device based on the customer’s previous transactions. However, the product that the customer wants isn’t in stock. So the sales assistant promptly places an eCommerce order, and accepts a payment in-store.

Cut to a week later. The customer isn’t thrilled with her purchase and wants to return it, so she contacts the brand via Facebook Messenger. She is then offered a multitude of easy return options - from heading to her nearest store to dropping it off at a partner store to simply shipping it back. A refund is then lodged into the customer’s account.

This seamless integration of the brand experience, payment methods, and service is what the emerging trend of omnichannel payments is all about.

The Benefits of Omnichannel Payments

Today, it’s common to see more customers starting their shopping journey on one device but finishing on another. In fact, a recent report estimates that 67% people exhibit this shopping behaviour.

But as they do this, customers expect the same purchase experience across all channels - and handsomely reward brands that live up to expectations! The same report also found that omnichannel shoppers spend anywhere between 50% to 300% more than shoppers who use just a single channel.

As consumers become more closely connected and access product information on channels such as social networks, marketplaces, and eCommerce, the time for retailers to move towards omnichannel marketing and payments is right.

By creating multiple touch points as part of an omnichannel strategy, businesses can help the customer stay connected, offer a robust brand experience regardless of channel, and amass actionable data to improve customers’ interaction with the brand.

These could potentially result in ROI-centric benefits such as increased average cart value, higher sign-ups for subscription services, and greater customer loyalty.

How can multichannel evolve into an omnichannel experience?

Retailers that already use a multichannel payment platform can start implementing an omnichannel strategy to create cohesion between existing payment acceptance channels. While there are several steps to this evolution, these are the key elements:

  • Align back-office needs: Create a robust CRM system, optimise business while delivering personalised shopping experiences, manage security essentials such as PCI compliance.
  • Customer centrism: This entails gathering intelligence on purchase patterns, likes and preferences, developing loyalty programs and promotions, and optimising stock management.
  • Ubiquitous shopping cart: Regardless of whether a customer logs in via a website, mobile app, or in-store kiosk, the presence of a ubiquitous shopping cart across channels ensures frictionless shopping.
  • POS considerations: Moving away from a single fixed point of sale to multiple payment options both in-store, online, via wearables, in-app, and more.
  • Attribution of sales: Gather intelligence and data to accurately assign conversions and transactions to each channel that plays a part in the purchase journey.

Because payment methods sit at the centre of your omnichannel marketing strategy, providing multiple points of interaction with customers and integrating them with payment options can increase the chances of success.

How can Your Enterprise Harness the Omnichannel Opportunity?

Mobile, online, in-store and in-app will continue to remain powerful sales channels in their own right. However, they can only do so much for your business when they run in isolation. An innovative payments solutions provider such as Bambora can help you tie these powerful channels to create an omnichannel payments solution that offers a blend of benefits that range from payments and security to reporting and financial reconciliation.

What’s more, all this can be achieved via a single PCI-compliant platform. To learn more, simply get in touch with our friendly customer service team today.

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 About the author: 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

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