Omni-channel retailing is trending high again, particularly during the pandemic. We explain how choosing the right payments partner is a critical consideration.

Blurring online and offline channels — also known as ‘omni-channel’ — is an objective for many businesses at the best of times. With all but essential shops shut in many countries, retailers are increasingly focused on finding new ways to reach customers.

However, I’m always worried when a company’s payments system restricts what they can do today. Plus how they are able to develop their business tomorrow. Let me explain in practical terms how back-end constructs impact the customer experience.

This is perhaps easiest to illustrate with card tokenisation. How this is implemented can affect the omni-channel experience of click and collect, endless aisles and the mixed bag.


Click and collect

 Customers may want to order goods online for delivery to their home, office or to a store. As a retailer you want to provide a seamless brand and customer experience across all channels, but you depend on your back-end systems to make that happen.

We tokenise card numbers on the back-end. And importantly, our tokenization works cross-channel. Not many payment providers can do this. It means that customers can order something online via card and collect it in-store using the same card.

That’s because the token created online is the same one used for collection in-store. It can also be used for track and trace in-store, if the customer enquires as to the progress of their order.

The same token is used for payment as for refunds. If you sell via a call centre or catalogues, the same token can be used in these environments, too. This further simplifies back-office processes. As our tokenisation also works across countries and different brands in a merchant group, this also helps simplify business expansion.


Endless aisles

 If an item is out of stock or not available in-store, you can close the sale with an endless aisles proposition. This enables the customer to order the item with a staff member or at an in-store kiosk.

Again, our tokenisation system can deal with sales or completions. This is key because taking the customer’s card details with their order, and taking payment when the item is delivered is a two-stage process.

16- or 19-digit account numbers. Individual transactions or batches. Whatever payment card customers choose to use, however this is processed on the back-end, our tokenisation system can accommodate it.


Mixed bag

The mixed bag is essentially a hybrid of the two omni-channel concepts above. Customers may buy some items in-store and order other out-of-stock items for delivery later.

Behind-the-scenes this is a face-to-face sale in-store and an e-commerce sale when the items on order are delivered. Some retailers may have separate acquirers for card-present and card-not-present sales. For us, this is not a concern as our tokenisation system works equally well across acquirers as it does across channels.

Choosing the right payments partner is the secret weapon to making omni-channel a reality now and in the future. To request a consultation about your particular omni-channel needs complete your details on the contact form below.