Is your business ready for the next digital disruption?
If you’re old enough to own or manage a business, then you probably remember the doomsday predictions that ebooks and ereaders would spell the death of hardcopy books and even the publishing industry itself. But we’ve since seen that wasn’t the case, with sales of physical books recently outnumbering digital copies and the renaissance of the local independent bookseller.
Similarly, fears that online shopping would be the end of Main Street and bricks-and-mortar stores proved false. We now understand that digital technology doesn’t automatically eliminate physical, sensory shopping experiences – it simply means businesses have to change the way they operate in order to thrive.
In industries such as retail, services, food and beverage or hospitality, this means businesses have to satisfy the customer’s needs at every possible access point – whether it’s bricks and mortar, online shopping on a desktop, or in the mobile world. It’s a concept known as omnichannel, or omnicommerce. And in the world of payment processing, having omnicommerce capability is essential for getting the most value out of your customer relationships.
But as a business, it’s hard to provide that full, seamless omnicommerce experience to your customers unless you have a fully integrated payment system dedicated to delivering it. Your customers need to be able to use the same card across all digital and bricks-and-mortar points without hitch; if, for example, a customer makes a CNP (card-not-present) online purchase and then needs to take the product back to a store for a CP (card-present) refund or exchange, the process is only as smooth as the payment system supporting it. The happier the user experience, the more loyal the customer and the better for your bottom line.
Being omnicommerce also provides a singular view into your customers, no matter how they choose to interact with your business. Having all your company’s payment points serviced through a single system such as Elavon’s Converge solution means you can learn each client’s shopping habits across all channels, and harness that data to drive more business through online sales, in-store promotions or loyalty programs.
Then there are the huge efficiency gains that one integrated, omnichannel payment solution will bring to your operations; think of having all your important data related to sales, inventory and customer behaviour in one central collection point. Imagine no longer having to retrieve data from separate in-store and eCommerce systems and waste precious time spent getting it all to make sense.
These are just a few of reasons why all merchants should be part of the omnicommerce future. And despite the state-of-the art technology required to drive a true omnicommerce experience, the ideas behind it – great customer service and a productive business – are by no means new; in fact, they’re even older than paper.