With the growing prominence of ecommerce, many industry experts have been led to think that this could be the end of brick-and-mortar storefronts, as we know them. In reality this is far from the truth. This isn’t the end of in-store nor is it the complete domination of online. Instead, the real value lies in retailers being able to have both a strong ecommerce and in-store presence.
Omnichannel is more than just a buzzword for retailers, and they should look at it in that way. In order to drive retail efficiency, nailing your omnichannel strategy from browsing to purchase can make the difference between new happy customers and lost sales.
The problem: retailers struggle to make the multi-channel experience seamless, which in turn keeps them from being a true omnichannel retailer. The answer to solving this doesn’t mean that retailers should immediately turn to the trendiest and flashiest technology to bridge this gap, because those novelty investments often don’t support long-term plans. Instead retailers should take a step back and look to optimize the basics like their checkout experience to truly win omnichannel.
The Omnichannel Disconnect
For retailers with both an in-store and ecommerce presence, there is a common disconnect. Many retailers think of their in-store and online customers separately instead of realizing they are in many cases the same customer. As a result, retailers make different investments and upgrades to their online experience than they do for their in-store and vice versa. This leaves customers unhappy with the difference in experience, especially when it comes to checkout.
For example, customers want to be able to browse online, receive financing online, and then use that financing to make their purchase at a retailer’s storefront. They expect to be able to navigate smoothly through every step of the purchasing journey, not matter the channel.
Retailers have been slow to see the value in making their checkout process channel agnostic. Think about it this way, how would you like it if you could get payment options on one channel but you couldn’t get it or use it on another?
Today’s customers want familiarity, especially when it comes to checking out. Not offering this can be costly, including increased cart abandonment both online and in-store.
Payment Innovation at Checkout
So, what must be done to meet this customer demand? Retailers need to not only make the same payment options available across every channel, but also provide it in a simple, straightforward way. Keeping up with the demands of evolving customer preferences requires checkout innovation.
As most retailers know, credit sales are an important part of the payment mix. With retail store credit programs making up upwards of 60% of revenue, they are an important part of any payment discussion.
When consumers search for financing, 44% consider a simple online application to be an important part of the financing process. Specifically, more than two-thirds (67%) of millennials say the ability to apply for financing online would be “very important” or “somewhat important” to them.
Convenience is also essential, with 33% of consumers applying for financing on the same day they want to make a large ticket purchase. Immediacy and availability of payment options are key for today’s customer looking for seamless purchasing.
Checkout innovation, no matter the channel, is meaningless if customers aren’t made aware of their new options and the ease of applying. It goes without saying that customers won’t apply unless they know what payment options are available. Unfortunately, nearly half of consumers are not aware of financing options offered by retailers. While today’s savvy customers come to expect the flexibility, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to make their customers aware of these payment options that could enhance the omnichannel experience.
The Emergence of Omnichannel Financing Platforms
To be able to support the growing customer demand for financing across every touch point, retailers need to leverage a partner that can ensure great experiences across any channel. Financial technology platforms, like Vyze, have emerged to make a consistent omnichannel experience possible.
Financial technology platforms have the ability to make financing available in-store or online, when customers need it most, all while reducing the barriers to entry to ensure that every customer receives a seamless and standardized experience, regardless of their credit background.
Retailers look for simple yet robust solutions that will help them drive more sales. New powerful platforms are making financing easier and more accessible by being an all in one financing partner for retailers. These platforms have the ability to connect retailers with multiple lenders that offer not only bank cards, but also revolving lines of credit branded to, and offered exclusively at that particular merchant. Also available are term-based loans with fixed payments, and lease purchases with fixed-term payment plans that offer customers the option to buy, return or extend the lease. The best part of using a platform partner? Every step is streamlined through the platform so retailers don’t have to juggle separate integrations, application and settlement portals, or employee training.
For retailers, new lending platforms have the ability to revolutionize the convenience, security and financing options to enable them to reach a larger pool of potential customers. Ultimately, when it comes to financing in 2017, a retailer’s primary goal is simple: to deliver accessible, satisfying experiences to as many of their customers as possible. Retailers who align this goal with the sophisticated capabilities of today’s lending platforms will stand the best chance of capturing market share, greater revenue, and increased customer loyalty.
It’s in your hands to push your omnichannel solution to the next level. Register for our webinar to see how customer-obsessed retailers are rethinking their payments strategy, and leaning on financial technology like Vyze, to meet their sales goals.