Online technologies, mobile devices and new consumer demands are rapidly transforming the retail sector and the payments industry. They offer retailers and payments industry players new opportunities to generate differentiation and new revenues.

Multiple recent technological innovations have changed the way consumers consider shopping. Merchants need to embrace the omni-channel trend to cater for new customer consumption patterns and expectations.

The transition is difficult as pure e-commerce players lack in-store expertise and brick and mortar merchants are working hard to integrate and unify their online and physical entities. In practical terms, implementing omni-channel strategy requires a major effort from retailers and the supporting payments industry.

An important first step consists of significantly developing IT infrastructure to simplify systems and create a single customer database. Merchants also need to reorganize team structures and even financial and sales reporting in order to move away from the single-channel approach.
The review indicates merchants need to rework their supply chain management and logistics processes, especially to take into account inventories, orders, CRM & consumer data, loyalty, real-time stock verification to support click & collect as well as payments to restructure the whole interaction between online and offline to the customer’s convenience.

At the heart of the retailer’s processes, a cross-channel payment infrastructure combined with multi-payment acceptance services appears to be a business enabler, providing a basis for better customer knowledge and improving the consumer experience.

Omni-channel retailing is here to stay and will grow rapidly. Retailers need to have a strong global payment strategy to succeed. It is about creating seamless customer dialogue through every stage of the customer journey, from pre-purchase research to post-sales support and after sales care.

At the heart of this challenge is the role played by payments systems. These can provide the basis for customer identification verification, purchase validation and upstream/downstream services and support, seamlessly to the customer’s convenience.

Consumer driven change, payment and technology fragmentation through innovation and market dynamics, security and their associated costs are now a CEO/Board tracked item, both in the retail sector and in the payments industry.

Chris HARRIS – Director of Sales & Marketing / Ingenico Northern Europe

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