Drowning in Data? Or Thirsty for More? Omni-Channel’s Biggest Challenge
There is no doubt that retailers recognize the value of knowing their customers better. Whatever the merchant sector, geography, or business model, understanding customer buying habits, payment and channel preferences, and satisfaction levels can drive sales, boost customer loyalty and raise revenues. But, in the ever-changing world of the omni-channel shopper, how easy is it to really know your customer?
The single biggest key to this challenge is data – and lots of it. Not just ‘big data’, but smart, consolidated big data – and this only comes from the ability to bring massive amounts of information together from multiple sources, and analyze it to build a comprehensive picture.
Data: Here, there and everywhere…
Merchants capture varying amounts of customer data from different touchpoints across the organization but, with many of today’s tech-savvy consumers using multiple channels, devices and payment types, the real task lies in bringing all that information together in a cohesive, coherent way. This is a task for which many merchants do not feel adequately equipped.
In a recent survey Payment trends in the European retail sector, published by ACI and Edgar, Dunn & Company, data integration emerged as the biggest challenge respondents face when implementing an omni-channel strategy. 69 percent of survey participants rated this high or very high on their list of obstacles to omni-channel success.
Anecdotal feedback from retailers identifies a number of reasons why data integration is such a difficult task. For instance, merchants often feel regulatory constraints are a major barrier to better data collection. Channel and internal team siloes are certainly also a major hurdle for data integration since many merchants started out with just one channel, adding others over time, often using separate systems for each, and working in separate, channel-based, operations teams.
Making use of untapped sources
Aside from the challenges merchants face with collating their data, there are also several areas where vital customer information is available, but not always used. For instance, a recent guide from ACI and Retail Week reveals that, whether or not they have a loyalty scheme themselves, retailers recognize the value of such a scheme as a source of information on shopper preferences, providing a “tremendous opportunity to target them and market to them specifically based on their unique needs.” Certainly a missed opportunity for merchants who don’t run a loyalty scheme, but also for those who do not use the information to best effect, by integrating it with their other cross-channel customer data.
Merchant systems are usually capable of capturing masses of formal, or structured, data such as transactions and conversion rates, which can help to build customer profiles, or at least point to broad trends and preferences. However, the use of unstructured data – such as information from social media interactions - is far less common, despite the wealth of actionable customer knowledge it can provide.
Can data really deliver one view of the customer?
So with all these challenges around consolidating information from across the business, to what extent can you really know your customer?
Data consolidation is difficult, no question, but some of the challenges are not as insurmountable as they may seem. Bringing data together is at the heart of an omni-channel payments platform. A common system across channels with a single data repository can provide the holistic view of customers that retailers are looking for. Having this single repository also reduces regulatory complexity, enables siloed teams to work together more productively, and provides the ability to market to customers on a more personal level.
There’s no doubt that consolidation is critical for retailers who want to make full use of the data available to them to deliver superior customer experience, remain competitive in their existing markets or expand into new ones. A unified payments platform makes this not only possible, but efficient too – providing the ability to innovate once and deploy in multiple locations without additional investment – ensuring that the payments infrastructure both enables growth and supports a seamless customer experience.
Download the full report: ‘The role of payments in the customer experience’, by Retail Week and ACI Worldwide.
Related Blog Posts
The Co-op U.K.: In with the New Does Not Mean Out with the Old
I had the pleasure on May 19 to discuss The Co-operative Group’s consumer payments strategy with Paul Fletcher, Co-op’s Head of Payments.
The Co-operative Group is a compelling case study within the U.K.’s convenience grocery sector; steeped in history and tradition, with a culture that demonstrates a real heartfelt pride in its mutual ownership origins. A nod to the past now seems to be a trend among big businesses, as they remind customers of their (usually) long-ago establishments and “origin stories.” But in the case of Co-op, it really does mean something, and it influences everything they do — payments included.
Move Over EMV – Meet the Real Protectors of Fuel Pump Payments
There’s much more than EMV for fuel merchants to consider when it comes to blocking fraudsters. Learn why P2PE and tokenization are the data security duo fuel merchants need to block fraud and satisfy genuine customers.
The EMV Deadline Has Been Extended for U.S. Fuel Merchants – Now What?
U.S. fuel stations were originally supposed to be EMV-compliant by October 2017, but due to complications and costs at the time, the deadline for EMV at the pump was extended for three years – and it has now been pushed out further to April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Merchant Fraud in the Age of COVID-19: We Need to Prepare Ourselves for a “Tidal Wave” of Attacks
With millions of consumers around the world self-quarantining at home, online shopping for goods, services and entertainment has become the new normal for many. A recent analysis of our own data has shown that average transaction volumes in the retail sector in March rose 74 percent compared to the same period last year.
Are Chargebacks Making a Comeback for U.S. Fuel Merchants?
With the planned EMV implementation date looming for U.S. fuel merchants, we’ll be spending some time ahead of the October 2020 deadline looking at the fraud issues affecting fuel merchants and how these might change through the final quarter of this year.
Rebirth of The High Street: An Unintended Consequence of COVID-19?
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. How true that is right now for the U.K.’s High Street (or for that matter local retailers in communities around the world) and our desire to shop.
Merchant Considerations for Protecting Payments During the COVID-19 Crisis
As the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact businesses of all shapes and sizes in unprecedented ways, the power of payments has never been clearer. Drastic increases in online transaction volume and the need for essential in-store payment processing create new challenges for online and brick-and-mortar retailers alike. Here are a few ways that merchants can protect their business – from the perspective of payment processing and fraud mitigation – during this uncertain time.
Positioning PSPs for Success in 2020: Scalability, Flexibility and Globality
We used to say that NFRs (non-functional requirements) such as scalability and availability didn’t really make for attention-grabbing headlines, but in fact, 2019 has shown us that these NFRs are often not far away from the biggest stories. A major outage or downtime – be it for bank or merchant – makes headlines in its own right, but we’re increasingly seeing a clear link between NFRs and a company’s growth trajectory. Those companies that are generating positive awareness from their ambitious global expansion plans, innovative customer experiences, or unique approach to fighting fraud – they are achieving this off the back of technology solutions that deliver world-class non-functional requirements. Scalability, flexibility and globality underpin these growth stories – and this message comes out clearly in speaking with some of our leading payment service providers (PSPs), which are supporting the growth of thousands of merchants around the world.
Three Merchant Payment Trends to Watch in 2020
In 2019, merchants everywhere were challenged by pressure from new entrants, the continued breakdown of traditional industry boundaries and growing customer preference for a digitally-led or digitally-influenced purchasing experience.
Learn How to Claim a Greater Slice of the Mobile Payments Pie
U.S. Wireless Players: $14.3B is at stake – are you in?
Mobile commerce is thriving as consumers seek out convenient, quick and secure shopping experiences. And transaction growth on mobile devices is outpacing traditional desktop and in-store channels, aided by click and collect and one-click purchasing trends. For U.S. telcos, the message is clear: proactively add value to the payments process, or risk missing out on increasing your portion of the growing mobile payments market.