What retailers get right about payment experience

Leading organizations benefit from integrating new technologies into their platforms, channels and touchpoints, connecting with their customers every step of the way, and providing a smarter and more personalized experience.

What do customers want today? Seamless and consistent experiences. A recent study by Salesforce.com found that 73% of consumers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience.

The effort begins with creating a consistent shopping experience across multiple touchpoints that maximizes convenience. It can be a website that provides smart suggestions by leveraging machine learning or a mobile app that accepts mobile wallets to avoid the trouble of manual sign-up. Or a merchant can optimize inventory management systems across channels to enable hassle-free “buy online, pick up in store” and “buy online, return in store” experiences.

Improvements can even go beyond traditional retail channels. Are your products and solutions connected to your customers’ digital watches and other wearable devices? Or their voice assistants, connected cars and smart appliances? Is your company’s brand connected with your customers’ digital footprint on social media?

Digital innovation has completely changed what consumers expect from the marketplace. For example, according to Baymard Institute, 26% of shoppers will abandon their online shopping carts if the checkout process is too complicated and another 34% don’t want to create an account. To help increase conversions, it’s critical to limit the number of clicks and fields required to check out. Think about how easy it is to buy from Amazon.com with its one-click ordering.

Or consider Dunkin’, where a gift card on the app can be automatically reloaded from a preferred debit or credit card for the customer to order ahead or pay in-store. The convenience from the app and embedded payment help the merchant stay connected with existing customers and acquire new ones with promotions and rewards.

ExxonMobil is another retailer taking its payment experience to a new level. The company’s Speedpass+ app allows users to pay for gas at the pump using a smartphone and lets them customize their experiences when it comes to receiving receipts, alerts, rewards and offers.

Improving the customer purchase journey through integrated platforms and updated payment methods doesn’t only delight the customer, it can also help companies harness the power of data to gain an edge in the marketplace. For example, through payments data, a retailer might learn that millennials represent a larger share of its customers than Generation X—revealing that its marketing efforts might be better suited targeting the former demographic.

Many companies talk about “big data,” but few really leverage payments information to grow their businesses or change their business model for the future. Payments data can be a powerful asset to help companies win in their respective marketplaces.

The act of purchasing something is the only definitive action that proves a customer wants your product or service. It’s the “moment of truth” that can provide valuable insights about customer behavior today and in the future.

Companies that use AI and machine learning technology to analyze vast amounts of data in a meaningful way can convert this payment transaction data into “actions” that will distinguish themselves in today’s competitive retail environment. Amazon has proven it in retail. Other industries such as transportation and food delivery are taking steps to transform themselves in the same way. The key is payments data—the real “gold” for companies to mine.

Finally, the most successful brands embrace partnerships and go beyond baseline efficiency. They offer unique products and services delivered with exceptional end-to-end customer experiences. That’s why, in a recent pilot program, TGI Fridays has tested paying its customers’ Uber tabs. In another innovative move, Kohl’s will package and ship your Amazon returns for you. In the process, Kohl’s creates lasting relationships with customers and fosters a sense of trust and loyalty.

Indeed, 80% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. The businesses that thrive in the coming years will be the ones that combine convenience with unique, hard-to-replicate experiences.

This article originally appeared on PaymentsSource.


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