The payments process is certainly a big part of the struggle for many merchants. Compliance burdens and consumer demand for a seamless checkout experience are creating payments challenges for every merchant’s business. But the growing digitization of commerce and diversity of devices and channels – in sectors such as travel, telco and entertainment – give merchants additional headaches in their efforts to balance innovation with cost to serve.
Legacy systems won’t make the grade
Merchants that haven’t yet modernized their payments systems face the biggest challenges around successfully reducing operating complexity while still investing for the future, which is why so many are funnelling more budget into upgrading their payments capabilities in 2018 and beyond.
Merchants are opening their eyes to the benefits that innovations such as real-time payments, social channels and IoT (Internet of Things) can deliver, but it is also becoming evident to them that their siloed, unwieldy legacy systems are not going to give them the support they need to make a success of these innovations.
Payments system modernization is undoubtedly one of the keys to cutting costs, but its other (and perhaps more significant) benefit is that it can unlock opportunities for a huge array of service enhancements that can give merchants competitive edge and drive growth. For instance, by uniting channels, merchants can improve data aggregation, which can improve cross-channel customer visibility. This, in turn, means that merchants will have a greater ability to personalize services, spot customer trends and use AI, customer profiling and data mining to stop fraud.
Coming full circle – streamlined, modernized payments systems can also give merchants greater agility to respond quickly and cost-effectively to future technology developments and new customer trends.
Prepare today and innovate tomorrow
Of course, all of this isn’t simple, and many merchants will need to enlist the help of their payments partners to critically examine their existing systems and adapt their development roadmaps to cater for the relevant innovations and trends that will underpin sales growth for their business.
One key consideration – given the pace of change and increasing complexity of payments – is which developments merchants can cost-effectively and successfully manage in house. In our recent global survey with Ovum, we found that merchants that have seen their payments operating costs fall run fewer in-house systems and more vendor applications than those that have seen costs rise. While this is just one view, it does show the benefits that are being felt by those merchants that have invested in modernizing their payments infrastructure through external expertise.
In our upcoming webinar my colleagues will be exploring this topic in greater depth. In this exclusive session, Kieran Hines (Head of Industries, Ovum) and Mike Braatz (Chief Solutions Officer, ACI Worldwide) will reveal today’s trends in merchant payments and what merchants should do to begin preparing for tomorrow.
How are merchants investing in payments systems to drive growth in 2019? Visit us NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show in New York City, Jan 13-15.