To provide the most consistent cross-channel experiences, however, merchants need to tie those channels together with integrated systems, including implementing a universal payments platform.
Why Merchants Need Universal Payments
Merchants that have used multiple payment solutions know it complicates accounting. It turns end-of-day reporting it into a more time -consuming — and error-prone — process, reconciling sales from different channels and paying fees to different vendors. Non-integrated payment solutions also limit visibility into cash flow, since there isn’t a single source that the merchant can turn to for information on the entire business.
From the customer’s perspective, multiple payments can make doing business with the merchant less convenient. Payment data on file may only work on one channel, or customers may be limited in loyalty points or gift card use. Non-integrated payments also make it difficult to recognize customers — for example, a loyal online shopper who visits a physical location.
Benefits of a Universal Payments Platform
Universal payments overcome those challenges with benefits, such as:
- Convenient payments: A universal payments platform allows merchants to accept payments at the point of engagement, not require that they bill customers or wait for payment in a store when orders arrive. It also allows customers to use any type of payment, including mobile wallet, payment card, gift card, or ACH. In addition, a universal payments platform allows merchants to create customer experiences with payments in the background of a shopping experience, so they can focus more on personalizing engagements, providing excellent service and delighting their customers.
- Consistent experiences: Regardless of how customers engage, they can count on a predictable payment process that reflects the merchant’s brand. They can earn or redeem loyalty points, use or purchase gift cards, and take advantage of discounts on all channels.
- Cross-channel experiences: Universal payments platforms that include tokenization allow the customer to enter card data once and have it on file for future purchases. This makes buy online, pickup in store and in-store returns of online purchases quicker and easier. It can also help reduce return fraud.
- Integrated data: in addition to making accounting easier, aggregating data from all channels can lead to new insights about customer behaviors. SMB merchants can use this information to level the playing field with Tier 1 companies that target marketing, personalize offers, improve service, and make informed business decisions based on data.
How Much Value Do Your Solutions Provide?
Universal payments aren’t just beneficial to merchants and their customers. They also give ISVs and VARs and advantage. With a platform that manages sales and integrates payment data from all channels, you are providing a more flexible, scalable solution that gives your clients more options to create experiences that will build customer loyalty and position their businesses competitively.
Overall, universal payments add value to the solutions you provide, and ISVs and VARs that provide the greatest value will always come out on top.