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Payments orchestration is a hot topic in eCommerce and involves working with multiple payment providers to optimize customer conversion, enhance cost savings and improve fraud prevention processes. According to a recent 451 Research Business Impact Brief, more than 60 percent of merchants prefer to work with multiple vendors, while more than a quarter said enhancing payments orchestration capabilities is currently one of the most important payment initiatives at their organization.

Orchestration platforms (POPs), also known as payment orchestration layers (POLs), are at the center of the discussion; they simplify front- and back-end integration. But do merchants need them and is there more to payment orchestration than these platforms are built to offer?

Front-end orchestration ensures disparate systems that may be the source of a payment can rapidly and simply integrate with payment gateways. Integration can come from multiple shopping websites, mobile shopping apps, call centers, kiosks, etc. The goal is to minimize integration effort and complexity for the merchant while enabling easy submission of a payments authorization request during checkout. A unified interface can ensure a simplified integration with those storefronts while gaining access to multiple payments, fraud management and additional services offered by payment gateways and other service providers.

But it is the back-end integration where orchestration layers typically offer the greatest value. Online merchants are hugely focused on customer conversion rates – encouraging customers through the shopping journey funnel and ultimately through the final phase of payment is imperative to running a successful online business. There are many stages to that funnel with opportunities for the shopper to abandon their basket; the last thing merchants want is for the customer journey to falter at the final hurdle. Offering multiple payment methods to ensure shoppers have choice – cards, wallets, buy-now-pay-later, direct-to-account, cash on delivery and others – is a critical factor in maximizing conversions.

Orchestration is one of the keys to conversion rate optimization

Orchestration layers can help avoid a fall at that final step. They provide connectivity to a variety of payment methods and bank card acquirers (often via multiple payment gateways), as well as manipulate payments flow to minimize friction during the shopper’s checkout process. This involves selecting the best acquirer to route the payment authorization request to based on the conversion rate of the acquirer for that particular card, transaction type, merchant category code, shopper location, transaction value, etc. It might also involve locating an alternative acquirer in real-time if the first request is declined. The orchestration layer can also adapt the payment flow to call out to tokenization services, fraud management services and SCA exemption management solutions – all in the interest of minimizing the risk of disrupting the customer journey and losing that basket. Every aspect of the payments flow and its associated orchestration must be predicated on increasing customer conversion.

Being able to orchestrate the payments flow in this way is vitally important as part of a strategy to maximize customer conversion. For high-volume merchants, marginal gains can lead to dramatic impacts to their bottom line. But it’s not enough for merchants to simply offer a selection of payment methods; they need to profile their customers to make sure they are offering the right payment methods for their customer base.

There is undoubtedly a market for independent orchestration layers to add this value to the payment gateways used by some merchants, but the best gateways already cater for this. While utilizing this functionality that is embedded in a highly flexible payments gateway is not entirely independent, it also offers the benefits of fewer service partners to manage and reduced complexity.

The ACI approach

Through the ACI Secure eCommerce solution, we deliver access to a vast network of card acquirers and alternative payment methods with integrated fraud management, tokenization and SCA exemption management. Our solution also comes complete with built-in orchestration services to optimize customer conversion: routing to the best acquirer, auto-retrying on soft declines, minimizing the impact of SCA and optimizing the payments experience with mobile-enabled payments and one-click experiences. Acceptance rates are also greatly improved with a multilayered approach to fraud prevention, taking advantage of machine learning, positive profiling, risk analysts, business intelligence, complex rules, silent mode and consortium data. Large merchant customers have been able to deliver significant bottom-line improvements using this approach.

Ultimately, a strong orchestration strategy can deliver robustness and resilience to a merchant’s payments chain, reduce customer friction and increase conversion rates – selling more and losing less – which is music to the ears of merchants.

Learn more about how ACI delivers seamless, secure online and mobile with ACI Secure eCommerce – or get in touch for a personalized ROI assessment that will help you identify potential gains from investing in a payments optimization strategy.

Head of Business Development – Merchant Retail Payments & Fraud

Andrew has worked in the payments industry for more than 25 years, during which time assignments have taken him from India to Iran, London to Libya and Johannesburg to Jakarta. He currently leads ACI’s sales to large retailers in Europe. Andrew’s focus is helping merchants to embrace the opportunity to serve customers in their omnichannel buying journeys securely and efficiently – while maximizing sales and minimizing costs. Whilst running marathons, Andrew has time to contemplate the world of payments, which helps him forget the pain.