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Do Merchants Have the Right Tools to Tune Their Engines for the Innovation Race?

Merchants Have the Right Tools to Tune Their Engines

2020 has been a year of many, many changes, across nearly all walks of life and business. One beacon of light is that these circumstances have pressed the digital acceleration button, in some cases advancing digital uptake and innovation by years, within a matter of a few months.

Full speed ahead for the digitization of payments

So, what does this digital acceleration look like in the merchant payments landscape?

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, I talked about some of the most compelling areas of progression we’ve seen this year and what tools merchants need to meet customer demand in the “new normal” of digital and omni-channel commerce.

In mid-October, ACI reported on the impact that the pandemic has had on eCommerce volumes, different merchant sectors and changing customer behaviors. The huge surge towards online hasn’t just boosted eCommerce, it’s stepped heavily on the digital accelerator across the board – driving up adoption of online ordering, digital payment methods and omni-channel fulfillment.

Accelerating digital demand

Younger consumers are already “fully digital” and expect to be able to click through various use cases and get subscriptions or other offerings in an instant. They also expect to get goods delivered to their homes in a matter of days, if not hours. But these traits have also been increasing across other demographics, with a huge increase in the popularity of “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and curbside pickups, for instance.

Consumers also now expect flexibility in payments choice, and to be able to pay with a method that best suits them. Real-time payments and “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) options, whether online or at a brick-and-mortar store, are likely to grow in popularity, particularly for shoppers who need to closely manage their finances.

With more and more consumers opting for touchless, frictionless journeys, we expect emerging technology and experiences around embedded payments to take off much sooner than expected, with payments becoming a virtually invisible part of the overall customer journey.

Tuning the digital engine

We're starting to see a shift back to the merchant really wanting to enable these in-demand journeys and being able to deliver the best value by knowing who the customer is. To offer flexibility and choice for consumers, merchants need flexibility, freedom, choice and omni-channel capabilities as part of their payments technology. This will enable them to adapt and tailor services in line with changing customer preferences, quickly launching innovative new customer journeys.

But, of course, there is always a word of caution when it comes to digital payments and merchants’ need to understand the risks they face – and mitigate them using appropriately tailored technologies.

Machine learning and other advanced technologies are vital in boosting fraud management and risk management capabilities. Tokenization, in particular, omni tokens associated with specific payment accounts, can also play a critical role in making sure payments are done securely, whether that’s online, across mobile devices or in-store at a kiosk. These omni tokens allow merchants to confidently authorize payment transactions, improve the collection of revenue and avoid fraud losses and potential chargebacks.

 

Read the full interview on PYMNTS about how real-time payments and P2P will accelerate payments digitization.

Learn more about ACI’s flexible omni-channel capabilities.