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Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Payments Picking Up Steam

March 24, 2017

The way people prefer to shop and make their everyday payments is changing quickly.

The way people prefer to shop and make everyday payments is changing quickly. Since the EMV liability shift began in late 2015, consumers have gotten accustomed to using new types of payments on a daily basis, as well as doing more research about their purchases in advance online. As such, it’s vital for merchants of all shapes and sizes to make sure they can meet and even anticipate consumers’ expectations by adopting the latest multi- and omni-channel strategies.

Data suggests that by 2019, there will be nearly 237 million smartphone users across the U.S., and more than 270 million people will be shopping online by 2020, according to PointOfSale.com. Moreover, there’s plenty of evidence that points to how adoption rates and changing habits among millennials, who are now coming of age and gaining significant buying power, is driving much of the overall change.

More consumers are changing the way they find and buy items they want.More consumers are changing the way they find and buy items they want.

Meeting Their Needs
It’s vital for merchants to review how they can best go about updating their payment processing capabilities to match consumer demands in the changing purchasing environment, Blum added. The latest information from ACI Worldwide shows that only 21 percent of merchants have an omni-channel payment platform ready to go, and nearly half have no plans to add one this year. Moreover, 29 percent say they don’t even have plans to start strategizing for such a move.

These issues largely stem from merchants having existing payment processing systems that aren’t compatible with omni-channel, which leads to data integration issues, the report said. Moreover, inventory management, fraud prevention, security and more also came up frequently when discussing the hurdles toward broader adoption.

The Revolution Underway
The good news is that more merchants are taking the step toward multi- and omni-channel all the time, as highlighted by the recent holiday shopping season, according to PYMNTS. Mobile purchases made on Black Friday jumped 33 percent to some 1.2 billion, and about 1 in 3 consumers who buy online tend to pick their items up in-store. In addition, about 3 in 5 of those shoppers also tend to make other purchases once they make that brick-and-mortar visit.

“Merchants today are clearly looking at omni-channel as a way to not only boost sales but improve the customer experience but, with that, comes a certain level of complexity,” Qualpay CEO Craig Gass told the site. “I see a little bit of disconnect between the way consumers look at omni-channel and the way merchants look at it.”

To that end, it’s vital for merchants to start crafting their transition strategy now, even if they don’t think they’ll necessarily be ready to undertake those steps in the immediate future, according to the Creditcall Corporation. The more they can do to lay the groundwork for that switch, the easier the process will be when it happens.

This is true of merchants regardless of size, because as consumer tendencies shift toward next-generation decisions, businesses that don’t keep up could end up being left behind.

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