There’s been more change in retail and e-commerce over the past two years than in the previous two decades.
Particularly in the retail and commerce space, we often hear about rising consumer demand for a more ‘seamless’ experience, no matter where and how they choose to shop. As the last step to completing a purchase across any channel, the payment process plays a critical role in enabling a smooth customer journey. However it can also be the point of highest friction - after all, people don’t come to you just to pay.
In a study on global trends in paytech, Alla Gancz, EY UK Payments Consulting Leader, speaks to the idea that payments should in effect feel invisible.
“Fundamentally, payments are becoming more instant, frictionless and embedded within customer journeys – hence invisible."
In South Africa, 88% of respondents in a 2021 survey from Deloitte indicated that an effective checkout would actually influence their choice of store. This remains the case whether customers are shopping online, in-store or via social commerce (set to nearly triple by 2025) - and increasingly, in all of these channels.
As Nikil Saithe, CTO at Blackhawk Network said in an interview, “Omni-channel experiences are probably going to be the single biggest long-term impact from the pandemic era.” He added, “The same types of capabilities that users have come to expect in the digital world are now permeating both the digital and the physical and really connecting the two in seamless payments and shopping experience.”
A sound omni-channel strategy also pays. Omni-channel shoppers spend 10% more online vs those who only interact with a brand via one channel. Particularly as the cost of acquisition continues to rise, any steps a business can take to remove barriers to payment, in effect minimising the entire experience of paying, can go a long way toward increasing conversion and retaining customers.
Ensuring a seamless omni-channel experience for customers often comes with a great deal of complexity in the backend. Businesses need payment solutions that will work across channels, and often struggle to manage and reconcile those payments, which can result in issues with inventory management, high admin burden and ultimately a less-than-ideal user experience.
Teams managing these processes might face:
Instant EFT – and bank transfer more generally – has become the fastest-growing payment method in South Africa thanks to its ease of use and fast settlement times. It’s also the most convenient and cost-effective method for businesses – enabling instant notifications, faster settlement times, lower transaction fees and far less fraud.
These solutions can be embedded anywhere in a website or app, fitting seamlessly into an existing checkout flow to create the impression of an ‘invisible’ payments process.
For customers, this means they can pay with Stitch pretty much anywhere they shop – whether online, in-app, at POS via QR codes, or socially via payment links, thanks to some of Stitch’s partners, like Zapper, SnapScan and Yoco. The process is fast, convenient and secure. If they’re a returning user that has previously linked their account with Stitch SafeLink, they can even pay in a single click. All they need is access to their online banking details.
For businesses, Stitch payments can significantly reduce the burden of backend processes. No matter where a customer chooses to pay, businesses enjoy:
Finance teams can also leverage Stitch Payouts to complete the customer journey with automated refunds for items returned, and send disbursements to vendors, suppliers and more – all via API with a single integration.
The opportunities for leveraging omni-channel payments solutions extend beyond the retail and e-commerce space. Any business that accepts digital payments or communicates with consumers via WhatsApp, email or SMS can leverage solutions like Stitch InstantPay. It can also be used to facilitate easier invoicing.
Insurers looking to stay on top of premium collections can leverage LinkPay to enable scheduled recurring or convenient once-off payments from a verified account, and reach out to customers with a link to pay online if a payment is missed. Thanks to Stitch Direct Deposit, customers can even choose to pay via manual transfer, with automated reconciliation alongside Instant EFT. The same is true for lenders, debt repayment services and even savings solutions.
We all communicate and interact with brands across multiple channels; it’s time for brands to meet their customers wherever they are.