The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed consumer buying behavior, and the changes will likely persist as the world responds to the demands of the pandemic.
According to PwC, 49% of consumers are avoiding leaving their homes, and Adobe Analytics found that the pandemic contributed an extra $107 billion to online merchants’ sales this year. With rising numbers of employees working from home and a large portion of the population staying home, buyers are increasingly moving online and exploring different buying options, and merchants have had to quickly adapt.
For many merchants, this has meant migrating to an omnichannel payment approach. Omnichannel is a strategy that takes a holistic view of the business and considers how the customer interacts with each and every sales channel. Omnichannel merchants ensure that every touchpoint in the customer’s journey is smooth and consistent, and they offer multiple payment options that cater to customers’ unique needs.
For example, while a traditional merchant may only take credit card payments in person or over the phone, an omnichannel merchant can offer customers additional options that cater to customers’ needs, such as online payments, contactless payments, and mobile payments. For customers on terms, omnichannel merchants allow customers to pay invoices via email or an online customer payment portal.
How do merchants migrate to an omnichannel approach? By using an omnichannel payment platform like EBizCharge. EBizCharge is a full suite of payment solutions that allows merchants to expand their payment offerings to customers while improving their own workflow and increasing cash flow.
5 Reasons Why Merchants Need an Omnichannel Payment Strategy in 2020 and Beyond
1. Safer digital payments
In light of the pandemic, businesses are increasingly adopting digital and contactless payments in an effort to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 and provide a safer buying experience to customers. As more and more consumers opt to stay home or stay virtual, businesses must respond with convenient digital payment methods.
An omnichannel payment platform helps merchants rise to this challenge by enabling omnichannel digital payment acceptance. From mobile payments to email invoices to a convenient customer payment portal, integrated payment applications benefit both merchants and their customers by providing safe, convenient digital payment methods.
2. Better customer experience
By giving their customers multiple options to pay, omnichannel merchants make the buying experience safe, convenient, and more efficient. The customer can make a payment on their terms. They don’t have to come into a store or call during business hours to make a payment. Instead, they have the flexibility to pay from the comfort of their home and on their own schedule. This improved customer experience can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business.
3. Better cash flow
An omnichannel payment strategy can automate merchants’ invoicing and collections process and increase overall cash flow.
Instead of having to reach out to each individual customer, the omnichannel payment platform will automatically notify customers when invoices are due. Customers can then pay through a convenient online form, and the payment automatically syncs back to the merchants’ accounting software, cutting down on time-consuming double data entry.
This automation increases cash flow by making it easier for customers to pay. When customers have convenient payment options, they’re more likely to pay on time. And because everything is automated, merchants get cash in their bank account without any extra time or work. Especially in these uncertain times, healthy cash flow is essential to keep businesses running.
One of the strongest tools in an omnichannel merchant’s arsenal is an integrated payment application. Integrated payment applications plug into merchants’ accounting software and enable merchants to accept payments directly in their accounting software.
With an integrated payment application, merchants won’t have to go back and forth between their payment software and accounting software. Integrated payment applications keep all the action in one place. Merchants simply run credit cards in their accounting software and the application automatically applies payments to invoices, so merchants don’t have to enter payment data twice.
Because merchants only enter the payment information once, there’s a lower chance of error, and less time spent fixing mistakes. And because the entire process is automated, accounting teams will experience greater efficiency. They’ll spend less time on tedious, repetitive data entry and more time on essential projects.
As businesses respond to the economic pressures of the pandemic, tools that increase efficiency through automation can relieve some of this pressure by streamlining workflows and giving merchants more time in their day.
5. Changing customer habits
Many experts have noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered purchasing behavior, in many ways, it has only hastened impending trends.
That is to say, consumer behavior has been moving toward online and digital payment options for a while now; the pandemic simply increased the rate of change.
Moving forward, this means that customers are getting used to buying online and having convenient payment options. Once the pandemic is in the past, consumers won’t go back to the old way of buying. They’ll continue to expect innovative options that make their lives easier.
Businesses can’t afford to fall behind. They must continue to anticipate changing buying habits and continually work to provide customers with payment options that meet them where they are and serve their specific needs. By adopting an omnichannel approach and committing to continual improvement, merchants can stay ahead of changing consumer habits and lead the way in serving their customers.
2020 has brought unprecedented challenges to merchants across the globe, and many of these challenges are likely to stay as the pandemic permanently shapes customer buying habits. Merchants can respond to these changes with an omnichannel payment strategy that caters to customers’ needs while also improving and streamlining business operations.
About the author
Niki has been writing about the integrated payment processing space since 2016. She enjoys clarifying complex topics and helping B2B merchants find helpful solutions that increase payment efficiency.
Accept and Manage Payments Automatically in Macola
EBizCharge is an out-of-the-box payment integration that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments, automate payment collections, and more – right within Macola. Learn more about EBizCharge for Macola here.