The Challenge for Retailers - Building an Open Payment Platform

Retailers need to embrace new consumer demands and learn from new consumer consumption patterns to meet their shopping expectations. This is driving complexity for the retailer community since it means supporting new checkout means, new payment means, new payment channels, new technology, and adapting to new ways of enabling the shopping journey.

These new consumer demands challenge both pure online merchants which lack in-store expertise and brick and mortar merchants. They need to implement digital shopping experiences and omni-channel retail infrastructures. It is about creating a seamless customer dialogue through every stage of the customer journey, from pre-purchase research to post-sales support and after sales care, and from in-store to in-app and online - independent of the device used.

Retailers also need to transform their supply chain management and logistics processes, especially to take into account inventories, orders, consumer data, loyalty, and real-time stock verification to support Click & Collect. The objectives here include the ability to improve the whole interaction between online and offline to the customer’s convenience, creating a single customer database, and simplifying the current, separate outlet and online sales systems.

In the light of the latest payment trends like Open Banking payment apps, invisible payments and conversational commerce, retailers need a strong global omni-channel strategy for payment acceptance to succeed.

Specific key challenges for retailers consist of implementing a new kind of central payment platform. At the heart of the retailer’s omni-channel strategies, a central payments platform combined with multi-payment acceptance services appears to be a key business enabler, providing a basis for better customer knowledge and improved consumer experience. Further, it is a prerequisite for large retailers that have the intent to become acquirers of their own transactions.

A central payments platform can simply hide the multi-payment service complexity behind the scene. In addition, it can provide the basis for customer identification verification, purchase validation, upstream/ downstream services and support, seamlessly to the consumer’s convenience.

With these trends in mind, Payments Cards and Mobile collaborated with HPS to review the latest shopping behaviour of consumers, the blurring of previously separate shopping channels, and the payment trends demanded by consumers.

The methodology used in this study is composed of results from recurring market research in the retailer sector, and lessons learned from discussions with key players in the retail sector and in the supporting payments industry.