The central promise of our networked shopping world is called Omni-channel: limitless access to every product – any time and from anywhere you want. This has made the customer journey, which was once so linear, into an adventurous journey with unlimited possibilities.
In the age of omni-channel, closest possible customer connections and an individual customer approach at each touchpoint have become key success factors for merchants. Smartphones and tablets play a key part in this: According to current forecasts from Gartner, the market research institute, around 20.4 billion networked devices will be in use by 2020. This omnipresence will massively shape – and change – our shopping habits.
Tour guide on the customer journey
These days, customers discover products and services in a variety of ways: You can find articles on Instagram, “like” a product on Facebook – or stumble across something the old-fashioned way in a shop. As a result, each customer journey starts somewhere different. On the way to making a purchase, consumers will also often move back and forth between the online and offline world. Customers try on clothes in the shop, compare offers in search engines like Google Shopping, reserve or order online, collect the items from the shop, and exchange them there if they don’t like them. For retailers, this new complexity is not just a challenge, it represents an opportunity. If they manage to create the right touchpoints and reach out to customers at every stage along their customer journey with the right offers and messages, it will have a huge impact on customer loyalty and sales revenue.
New functionalities are in demand ...
According to a survey by SIX Payment Services, 71 percent of those interviewed want offers like Click & Collect (order online, pick up in-store) and Click & Return (order online, exchange in-store if necessary). Two thirds of those interviewed also welcome the “endless aisle” option (sold-out products can be ordered online in the actual shop). From the customer’s perspective, a simple and convenient shopping experience is just as important as the continuous (as far as possible) availability of products and services.
... and guaranteed security
In order to fulfil these expectations, certain user and transaction data must be constantly available and merchants must therefore be able to store it centrally. Key aspects in this regard are data security and data protection: Consumers meanwhile know very well what information they do and don’t want to disclose and share. Customers trust the merchant with valuable data and expect the merchant to keep them safe. The merchant, for his part, is responsible for protecting this data within the framework of applicable law. This is guaranteed using a payment service provider like SIX, which is certified according to the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and takes on the complete storage and processing of sensitive payment data. This not only saves the merchant a lot of time and the cost of his own certification, it also has the welcome side-effect of giving the merchant valuable insights into how he can optimise his business: If requested, it is no problem for a progressive payment service provider to analyse, regularly evaluate and present the customer’s transaction data generated in a user-friendly way.
Flexibility when paying
When it comes to paying, consumers these days have all sorts of preferences depending on where they are making their purchase: In addition to cash, credit and debit cards, modern forms of payment such as online banking, PayPal or mobile payment are being used more and more. In order not to tarnish the shopping experience in any way, it is key for the merchant to accept a range of different payment methods – both in store and online. This enables customers to pay quickly and easily using their own preferred method. This vastly reduces the risk of a customer cancelling his purchase – because he doesn’t have any cash on him or the desired means of payment is not available online.
A secure future with omni-channel
In order to successfully implement an omni-channel strategy, it needs a technical infrastructure that meets three key prerequisites:
- The merchant must be able to flexibly serve a wide range of touchpoints along the customer journey. Cross-channel offers like Click & Collect or Click & Return must be easy to implement.
- The infrastructure must offer a high level of data security and meet all legal requirements for data protection. This is the only way merchants can gain the full trust of their customers.
- The merchant must be able to offer his customers a wide and balanced range of different payment methods.
If these components are guaranteed, there is nothing to stand in the way of a successful omni-channel solution.
Omni-Channel by SIX
By seamlessly integrating all sales channels, SIX creates ideal conditions for successful omni-channel marketing: The selected payment solution works quickly, reliably and securely – in store as well as online or when mobile shopping. The (in-store and online) systems must be connected to ensure the process is automated and executed without any manual procedures. The merchant can securely process all transaction data in accordance with the PCI-DSS via two linked SIX interfaces. In the process, the credit card details are encrypted and saved as a Token with SIX. Have we sparked your interest? You can find the full offer from SIX in the challenging area of omni-channel under this link: www.six-payment-services.com/omnichannel