Tactics vs strategy in retail payments

In 2020 the pressure was on for many retailers to effectively implement digital transformation over a matter of months. We saw massive amounts of retailing efforts moving into digital channels at an accelerated pace, all while businesses were getting to grips with new logistics, systems and warehousing, and managing unpredictable stock requirements.

Now, even the ‘bricks and mortar only’ stores are adopting elements of online retail, while still retaining as much as they can of that in-person experience. And, in contrast, in October we saw MADE.com launch a pop-up shop in Leeds to showcase its homeware range. Still e-comm, but offline.

The fact is that 2021 is looking increasingly omnichannel, and with all of these changes comes even higher customer expectations.

As consumers, we want it all.

Flexibility, speed, frictionless payment journeys, personalisation, online freedom, offline accessibility…

It was happening anyway, but now it’s happened fast. So, even though none of this has come as a surprise, it will have been a shock, and that means retailers have been forced to play their hand tactically rather than strategically.

Now we have a chance to take a breath, survey the changing landscape, and ensure that e-commerce is set up in an optimal way for the future.

Where to start?

Payment orchestration provides a strategic foundation to play tactically.

Payment orchestration gives retailers the flexibility to play the market, keep up with competitors, and even overtake when it comes to innovation. It brings choice back into the marketplace.

The number of tactical improvements that you can make using BR-DGE through tokenisation ownership, intelligent routing, central fraud management and reporting mean that you can start to think and act more strategically when it comes to payments.

The faster route to adoption that payment orchestration enables, and the ability to work with the Payment Service Providers that is right for your business or customer at a given time, has moved the goalposts. Complex and established businesses that may have been intimidated by the scale of change required can get on a level footing with the start-ups that were threatening to out-innovate them.

You can still be tactical, without being backed into a corner, because with payment orchestration, flexibility is the focus from the start.

Fast track customer adoption of alternative payments.

Retailers need to find a way to introduce Open Banking payments seamlessly along with other traditional payment methods, which is where BR-DGE can help. There are benefits as you state for the retailer to promote open banking payments and of course not all customers will want to pay by card, then again, it may be some customers don’t have a current account to support an Account to Account open bank payment.

Moving away from things like card payments to account payments or open banking is more appealing for consumers for lots of reasons, but also a major boost for retailers in terms of getting money quicker and reducing or removing card fees. Retailers need to find a way to introduce Open Banking payments seamlessly along with other traditional payment methods, which is where BR-DGE can help.

As an observation when organisations move to e-commerce, they need to bear in mind their customer can come from anywhere, unlike visiting a store, hence the principle reason why they need to cater for different payment types, prevalent in different geographies

Merchants should focus on key identifiers that will help them to provide a frictionless experience. Things like the number of cards accepted, different payment options like digital wallets, instalments, purchase now pay later, discounts, loyalty programmes, and more.

The key is to check out what encourages your customers to make a purchase from your store and what payment patterns they are comfortable with. Then focus on making that as straightforward as possible. Because unless you can get your payment processes into the consciousness of your customers quickly and easily, fast adoption simply won’t happen.

Think “what will I care about tomorrow” as much as you think “what do I care about now”.

When it comes to payments, the lines are blurring all the time. Things like Click & Collect or Scan & Pay are fundamentally changing the way we shop. It is as much about human behaviour as it is about payments.

As we build partnerships and collaborations along the whole supply chain in order to deliver the highest efficiencies, more questions are being asked about how to optimise the flow of payments between customers and revenue-sharing partners.

The autonomy and control of payment orchestration is built exactly for this type of business evolution. Apportionment at the point of sale reduces risk and removes the ‘just in time’ disbursement of funds, enabling things to flow smoothly, regardless of how complicated the supply or sales chain is.

So if expansion means further pivoting for your retail business, make sure you have a payments infrastructure that can handle it.

Build a business model with payments at the heart.

The more that businesses move online the more we are seeing shopping patterns change.

Businesses are used to seeing around 8% returns, but this jumped to 25% when we look at online sales alone, and it’s set to rise. (Pazzi).

Research by Barclay Card has shown that 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items, and 19% admitted to ordering multiple versions of the same item so they could make their mind up when they were delivered, and this has been exacerbated by ‘buy now pay later’.

This to and fro-ing of funds requires even deeper levels of insight without hindering the freedom that the model requires. Payment orchestration is the key to this combination of flexibility and control, allowing businesses to build on their existing business model with a streamlined and effective payments process that is adaptive to trends and the changing shopping habits of their customers.

The payment ecosystem has been one of the most technological influential sectors in 2020. No longer a tactical add-on but a strategic function that impacts an entire retail business.

2021 is expected to be even more transformational.

Retail businesses will need to gear up to get ahead of the curve by offering seamless, global, agile, and secure payment systems. And it is the forward-thinking that will survive and thrive as the space gets ever more competitive.

To speak to one of our team about implementing payment orchestration as a strategic approach to payments in your retail business, get in touch.