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The Growing Importance Of The Omnichannel Marketplace

In A Decade of Digital Transformation in 12 Months, 46 C-suite executives spoke with PYMNTS for its Q2 eBook on what the world will look like as recovery rolls on and the next iteration of normal rolls out. In this excerpt, Dave O’Brien, CEO of Agreement Express, discusses how payment firms that challenge themselves in terms of speed and direction will be poised to succeed.

Read the entire eBook here.

Apple invested a decade of research, development and marketing into making aging baby boomers comfortable using FaceTime. In just a few months, Zoom became a household name for online video conferencing. The payment industry has seen an equally transformational impact from the pandemic, and the industry is adapting to create a better, more streamlined consumer experience.

Consumers surrounded by chaos have found comfort in a digital experience that’s completely seamless, nearly instant and, if necessary, contactless. To deliver on these customer demands, merchants must adapt at record pace to create the ultimate experience: one in which the consumer engages the same way at the point of transaction as they would when making a purchase online.

Already, the industry is being disrupted by companies that are moving quickly amid changing expectations at every level. While the global crisis has created new customer demands, businesses have been constrained by marketplace disruptions that limit the resources they can bring to bear. They can’t simply hire a tenfold increase in underwriters to onboard more merchants faster – they need the latest digital tools to streamline and automate onboarding process with existing resources.

As if that wasn’t difficult enough, the marketplace continues to change as we gradually move into a post-pandemic era, where consumers’ demands will likely shift yet again. ROI has become more important than ever as firms struggle to gain ground in an uncertain marketplace.

Thankfully, spending on this type of backend processing generates a tremendous proven return on investment. According to a survey by Cornerstone Advisors, 76 percent of lenders believe their payment services are above average, while only 41 percent of customers indicated that their needs are addressed well or extremely well. You can rest assured that the digital demands for a seamless user experience will remain with the payments industry long after the pandemic has passed.

Today, a seamless consumer experience requires a merchant to maintain linkage to save a customer’s basket across all digital channels and devices they might use. Payment facilitators used to rest easy with the “one-hit wonder” of merchant eCommerce: Consumers only needed to make digital payments to merchants on individual websites or in-store platforms.

But times have changed. Omnichannel marketplace sales will account for 60 percent of all global digital payments by 2023, according to the 2020 McKinsey Global Payments Report. That means consumers want the power to purchase products from multiple merchants or multiple eCommerce stores when listings appear on Google or YouTube – and those payments should appear to be seamless. This seamless user experience is at the heart of the recent partnership between Square and Google’s Merchant Center.

Although an omnichannel experience appears simple to the customer, the process is highly complex for merchants and PSPs attempting to manage it on their own. Simplifying the omnichannel experience is getting easier thanks to outsourced software and other end-to-end onboarding solutions. In just the last 12 months, we’ve seen incredible enhancements in the tools we use for investigating risk, underwriting, evaluating merchants and processing payments. The latest innovations in the digital payments space have made it possible for organizations to onboard more merchants quickly with existing resources and without adding risk.

The best part is that the marketplace is still changing, and these tools are smart enough to adapt to those changes. Payment firms that are ready and willing to constantly challenge themselves on their speed and direction now have the tools at their disposal to meet the unforeseen future.

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