As consumers increasingly experience convenient, flexible buying options, omnichannel payment processing is becoming a necessary business strategy. But what exactly does that mean?
We live in a digital age. Our smartphones are always in our hands or our pockets, and they have irrevocably shaped how we interact with the world, including the way we shop. Think back to the last significant purchase you made. Did you go to the store in person and simply buy what was on the shelf? Or did you have a more complicated experience?
These days, the following scenario is fairly common: You visit the store, look up competitors’ prices on your phone, go home, do some more research, see a few ads on social media, and then finally decide to purchase the product online.
And this customer journey isn’t just limited to B2C. B2B buyers are increasingly going through similarly nuanced experiences, where they interact with the business at several different touchpoints before making a purchase.
With this changing buying process, consumer expectations have shifted. They want to seamlessly interact with a brand or company across multiple platforms and touchpoints. Crucially, this attitude extends to payments. Consumers want the flexibility to pay where and how they want—in a store, with their phone, online, and more. If businesses want to succeed in the modern era, they have to be savvy enough to capture payments whenever customers show buying intent, regardless of sales channel. That’s where the idea of omnichannel processing comes in.
What is omnichannel payment processing?
Omnichannel payment processing is when a business creates a cohesive, unified payment experience across all sales channels and customer touchpoints. This strategy not only presents a better customer experience but also provides your business with enhanced data and insights. Businesses that employ omnichannel payment processing have a holistic view of all their payments, regardless of channel, and can make key decisions based on this valuable information.
The goal of omnichannel is to provide multiple, convenient payment methods that allow customers to choose the method that best suits them. In addition, each channel or payment method should be seamless, so regardless of the channel a customer chooses, they’ll have a consistent and positive experience.
Types of payment channels
As technology improves, more sales and payment channels are available to both consumers and businesses. Some of the most popular payment channels include:
- Mobile payments
- Social media shopping
- Online shopping
- Point of sale
- Salesperson with tablet/reader
- Contactless payments
- Online shopping
- Customer payment portal
- Email pay
- Recurring billing/subscription
- Software integrations
- Over the phone
Customers are now accustomed to moving between any and all of the above channels seamlessly. With the increased buying options available, customers don’t want to be pigeonholed into an outdated or inconvenient payment method. They want simplicity, ease of use, and strong data security. An omnichannel payment processing strategy delivers this enhanced experience to customers.
4 key benefits of omnichannel payment processing
1. Improved customer experience
Businesses that implement an omnichannel strategy deliver better customer experiences. Customers enjoy a seamless, unified brand experience across multiple platforms. They’re able to easily move between the different touchpoints, whether that means checking the brand’s social media profile or visiting the retail store. All of these positive experiences lead to increased trust and legitimacy for the company.
2. Increased sales and cash flow
An omnichannel strategy creates both a better customer experience and a smoother payment process. By definition, businesses that take on the omnichannel approach are forward-thinking and constantly looking to improve, so they’re able to offer convenient, safe payment options for their customers.
When the payment process is easy, customers are more likely to buy. There are fewer barriers to making a payment, and customers feel more secure pulling the trigger. This confidence translates into more sales and better cash flow, which any business could benefit from.
3. Enhanced data/insights
Omnichannel payment processing brings all of a business’s payment channels onto a single platform. From here, businesses can look at the big picture and discover previously unknown trends, gain better insight into buying habits and preferences, and make strategic decisions based on this collective data.
4. All-in-one provider vs. multiple third parties
Businesses that don’t use omnichannel have to deal with a number of different third-party payment providers. Each of these providers has a different phone number and support department, so if something goes wrong, merchants waste precious time getting in touch with multiple support teams and waiting for a response. Even if there’s no emergency, trying to manage several separate payment providers can be a headache.
Omnichannel payment providers offer all-in-one service. They supply everything a business needs to accept payments across a wide variety of channels, so there’s a single point of contact. This approach simplifies operations, saves merchants time, and ensures everything works together seamlessly.
5 things to look for in an omnichannel payment processing solution
If you’ve decided that your business could benefit from an omnichannel solution, there are 5 things you should look for in a provider:
Security is imperative when it comes to payments. Businesses are responsible for protecting their customers’ sensitive information. More than that, security is part of the bedrock of strong customer relationships built on trust.
Because omnichannel systems cover a wide range of payment methods and involve a lot of moving parts, it’s essential that each part is secure. Look for a provider that uses tokenization and encryption to protect data at rest and in transit. The solution should be fully PCI compliant and store all credit card information off-site.
If you’re investing in an omnichannel solution, it’s important to look at both your current and future needs. The solution you choose should support your current needs and goals, but beyond that, the solution should be capable of growing with you. Ensure that your chosen omnichannel solution can support your business as it scales with increasingly robust products and solutions.
3. In-house development
Any omnichannel payment processing provider you choose should have an in-house development team. Providers with in-house development teams are committed to innovation. They envision and create new payment methods and channels, which means your omnichannel strategy is always expanding and meeting the growing needs and expectations of customers.
4. Payment collection tools
In addition to the standard payment channels, look for an omnichannel provider that offers payment collection tools like email pay and a customer payment portal. These tools provide simple, convenient online payment methods that are especially helpful for B2B customers. These additional payment tools increase your customers’ payment options and make it easier for you to get paid.
Collection tools increase customers’ payment options without adding extra work for you. Email payments and customer payment portals automate much of the payment process and automatically sync back to your accounting software, so there’s no manual work to reconcile payments.
Finally, it’s important to have excellent support. When you’re managing multiple sales and payment channels, you need a responsive, helpful support team to help identify and solve problems. Fortunately, one of the main benefits of omnichannel is that you have a single support team to contact, rather than a different one for each payment provider.
Transform your business with omnichannel payment processing
Omnichannel payment processing can transform your business by delivering unparalleled experiences to customers and simplifying your back-end operations. In addition to better customer experiences, stronger cash flow, and enhanced data analytics, you’ll benefit from dealing with a single provider for all your payments.