The global pandemic has forced businesses all around the world to significantly shift strategies. This, for many businesses, implies taking a highly digitally-focused approach. The retail industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors that have been affected by the pandemic. However, the given industry has been primed to pivot. With the advancement of multiple payment options as well as systems, including card, cash, mobile banking, and contactless payments, the industry has been overflowing with multiple options.
The pandemic has resulted in forcing the typical brick and mortar retail stores that had plans for gradually deploying online sales for expediting the given transition or permanent closure for the existing risks. Now, retailers out there are required to figure out the processing of the payments in a secure and quick manner. At the same time, they are also expected to manage the delivery of highly engaging & affirmative customer experience. As we continue adapting to the all-new world during the pandemic, retailers are going to look for effective ways towards the creation of a seamless omni-channel experience for the end users. The cornerstone of the retail industry and the respective changes lies in the integration of the right payment processing systems.
The Retail Apocalypse
While the global crisis has brought the urgent retail apocalypse to everyone’s light, the retail industry is known to have been struggling for over a decade. The recession during the time of 2008 was responsible for setting the scene for a significant retail change. This was happening even when other industries tried getting back by the time of 2010. However, retailers all around the world were not very fortunate in the given aspect.
In the year 2019, thousands of stores all around the world closed down. Moreover, the overall move towards online sales started growing at an exponential rate. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, the overall opportunity for ensuring online sales was heightened significantly. As of 2020, the online revenue growth in the United States of America has increased by as much as 68 percent.
As the overall lift on restrictions related to the pandemic continues to be quite unclear, the organizations that aim at prioritizing the overall ease of online shopping experiences are the ones that will be standing out amongst the existing competitors. This serves to be especially crucial as the presence of an omni-channel solution is vital when it comes to providing the shoppers what they exactly want. Moreover, a myriad of businesses out there is going to look out for innovative ways to ensure a highly holistic approach with respect to integrated payments-especially towards prioritizing the overall health & safety of the consumers.
How are Integrated Payment Systems Improving the Omni-channel Experiences?
As per the historical terms, retailers around the world have continued accepting cash along with debit or credit card payments. However, with the advent of the Covid-19, the retailers out there are required to consider other modes of payments as well that tend to work with the platform & the customers –hand in hand. Even during 2018, a study reported that around 50 percent of customers are going to choose the cancelation of an order if the respective preferred method of payment remains unavailable.
The pandemic also tends to impose challenges for the overall safety as far as payments are concerned. This tends to highlight the overall desire for ensuring digital payments like contactless solutions or mobile wallets. This tends to be best illustrated with the help of companies like MasterCard –pushing its merchants to stop the requirement of signatures during checkout. This helps in eliminating the need for customers to touch surfaces that are shared.
The omni-channel retail system serves to be integral when it comes to improving the overall customer experiences and ensuring brand recognition. However, the delivery of a dedicated Omni-channel retail experiences tends to be possible only with the help of integrated payments –especially when more retailers are shifting online. It is believed that banking and payment services should be seamlessly integrated into software solutions that are utilized by businesses on a daily basis.
Integrated payment solutions are known to allow businesses to ensure the integration of multiple business applications –including customer relationship management, fulfillment, accounting, and others in context with payment processing. Eventually, integrated payment processing is known to help businesses in saving time as well as money while minimizing the overall errors. As payment processing happens to be on the backend for most businesses, the delivery of a seamless customer experience helps in creating increased opportunities for catering to the customers and delivering personalized experiences.
Therefore, as the need for integrated payment systems has been existent for a long time, the safety & health issues as heightened due to covid-19 have only added to the potential reasons why retail merchants require multiple options for meeting the needs of the consumers.
How are Companies Adapting to the All-time Low?
Retail and e-commerce companies are adjusting the respective business strategies for competing with the all-new normal. For instance, Shopify has gone forward with the creation of an omni-channel approach by expanding the respective conventional commercial platform for seamlessly integrating financial services and delivering improved customer experiences.
By adapting to the modern omni-channel approach, the retailers out there can look forward to creating better customer experiences while observing increased success throughout. As the retail industry was nearing an apocalypse for around a decade, however, the advent of COVID-19 has only accelerated the overall evolution of the given industry.
While physical retail stores will not be gone forever, the global pandemic has increased the need for high-end solutions that aim at working for the end customers –particularly related to the overall safety of payments. As several payment options like mobile wallets and touchless payments are serving as ideal options for the end consumers, the retailers that go forward with prioritizing what end customers desire are the ones going to stand out from the relevant competitors.
Hannah Cohen is a Senior Relationship Manager with Host Merchant Services. A graduate of University of Michigan, Hannah has extensive experience in the merchant services industry. At Host Merchant Services, she specializes in working with small to medium sized businesses to streamline their payment processing, reduce costs, and to implement payment technology to enhance customer experiences and drive revenue. She is an expert on the topics of customer service and payment processing trends.