4 mighty strategies for building loyalty with omnicommerce
Why should merchants have an omnicommerce strategy, and what does it take for that strategy to be successful? Vantiv teamed up with PYMNTS.com to tackle the topic during a recent webinar, “Making Omnicommerce Real: A 4-step approach to building customer loyalty.”
Featuring the expertise and perspectives of Karen Webster, President of PYMNTS.com; Bill Cohn, Sr. Leader, eCommerce Products at Vantiv; and Ned Canning, Sr. Product Manager at Vantiv, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of their conversation.
What is omnicommerce and why is it important?
Bill Cohn opened up the discussion with a definition of omnicommerce as selling via multiple channels to provide a diverse yet seamless experience for consumers across all channels. He noted that as buyer behavior evolves, omnicommerce offers a significant opportunity as well as an imperative for many businesses. Consider these stats about omnicommerce consumers:
- They spend more money—4% more in-store, and 10% more online than single-channel customers
- They remain more loyal—making 13% more repeat visits
Clearly, Cohn noted, focusing efforts on cultivating omnicommerce consumers equates to a better return on investment in acquiring those customers. As for the types of experiences omnicommerce consumers are expecting, Ned Canning and Karen Webster pointed to three main factors:
“Convenience is driving customers back to the store,” said Canning, who noted that consumers are willing to pay a premium because of that convenience. “They don’t care about the processes behind the convenience—they just want it to work.”
As for how merchants can create the experience, Webster noted that consumers want a mobile experience, but simply having a payments app available isn’t enough. The app must enable something else that holds value for the consumer, such as order-ahead functionality that saves time.
Today, more technologies and tools are available to create this type of omnicommerce experience. Of utmost importance is seizing the opportunity to increase the order size at checkout. Canning and Webster outlined a couple recommendations for how retailers can accomplish this:
- Recommend items at online checkout based on the customer’s order and preferences, e.g. “Other buyers of X item also purchased Y item.”
- Offer discounts for online buyers to pick up instore, or other incentives for online buyers to visit the brick and mortar business.
4 mighty strategies
#1- Expand payment options
As new payment types are flooding the market and trying to gain adoption, merchants have a lot to consider. Canning noted that many merchants are testing payment offerings, learning from their customers and determining the payment types preferred by their targeted demographic.
“On one end of the spectrum, we’re seeing merchants like Overstock.com offering pretty much any payment method you could possibly want to pay with, even Bitcoin,” said Canning, “to the other side of the spectrum where an online retailer may only accept cards and PayPal.”
While there’s an inclination toward offering the payment options consumers want to use—there are about 200 different types of wallets, for example— Webster notes that things are happening to make it easier for merchants to accept different payment types without having to implement each individual solution.
“We’ll begin to see a consolidation around the critical mass of the payment types the consumers want to use,” said Webster.
#2- Remove friction
The consumer journey is no longer the straight line that it was years ago, where a shopper would browse, choose, buy, and return the item if they didn’t like it. Today’s consumer may browse on their mobile device, purchase on their laptop, and pick up or return in-store.
“Just being able to buy something online and return in-store is a serious point of friction,” notes Canning. “There’s a need for merchants to remove friction among (or across) all the points of customer interaction.”
One of the key questions retailers need to ask themselves is, “What is the experience our customers want, and how does our digital strategy support that across the channels our customers want to buy?”
The physical store can play a very important role in creating an important experience, noted Webster. Product reviews are very important for creating an omnichannel experience, as is personalization. A customer’s purchase history, profile, wish list—all of these factors that go beyond product availability—influence where consumers buy and who they buy from.
“Don’t underestimate that consumers are doing their research all the time,” said Webster. “There’s always an opportunity to sell them and seal the deal."
#3 Secure multi-channel data
One common concern in the omnichannel space is security: how does a business share payment data securely across all channels? According to Canning, leading merchants are realizing that it’s not an either/or situation.
“They don’t have to either have payment data security, or systems and channel alignment,” said Canning. “They are reducing the levels of complexity between the different providers to have one common secure element.”
This most often takes the form of one secure payment token that can be used across all points—in-store, online, etc.—to, for example, process a refund in-store for a purchase made online. In addition to helping limit a merchant’s breach risk, a secure token is another point of removing friction in all the channels used in the transaction.
#4 Centralize customer data
Over 60 percent of merchants use different payment processors for their POS and eCommerce functions, presenting a clear challenge piecing together a holistic view of their customer. How can merchants address this challenge?
While merchants have different processors for a number of different reasons, notes Canning, at some point the cost of maintaining all the disparate source of data begins to infringe on the customer experience.
“Merchants are limiting and simplifying the payments environment to protect the efficiency of their own systems and make sure there’s the ability to keep the customer experience central to the strategy,” explained Canning.
While there’s no silver bullet to address the concern, Webster notes that collaboration across the payment ecosystem is key to giving consumers what they want and enabling that through technology. And in terms of the merchant’s operation, Cohn notes that using different systems makes reconciliation and consolidated reporting more difficult.
“Best practice to have one provider to span all channels.”
Canning agrees, noting that you can have as many providers as you want, but at the end of the day, it affects the customer experience.
To view the entire webinar, go to https://www.brainshark.com/payments/omnicommerce.