Throughout the twentieth century, retailers made the vast majority of sales in-store. In the 1990s, when the internet began evolving into the monolithic ecommerce channel it is today, consumers increasingly began purchasing products and services online, ushering in the opportunity for retailers to implement ecommerce omnichannel solutions that capture sales through multiple digital sales channels.
Prior to the proliferation of ecommerce, consumers could still make purchases from remote locations and acquire products or services without setting foot in a store. But the purchase was made by mail order or telephone, involving more time and effort than keying in a few pieces of data to purchase through an online payment gateway.
At many retailers, consumers still have these traditional options, but ecommerce omnichannel solutions offer faster, more convenient ways to purchase almost anything we want or need.
Ecommerce Omnichannel Solutions
In many industries, new solutions make older solutions obsolete. When it comes to payment channels, the retail industry isn’t one of them. Rather, the goal is to accept as many types of payment as possible (cash, credit, ewallet, etc.), in as many settings as possible (in-store, remote desktop, mobile while on-the-go, etc.), in as many currencies as the retailer’s customer base uses.
Omnichanneling encompasses all legitimate payment channels, but ecommerce omnichannel solutions have become an industry within themselves. The widespread emergence of retailers that operate solely online is a big reason why.
Operating online lets retailers avoid the start up costs of inhabiting brick and mortar locations. More importantly, it lets them avoid the ongoing overhead of maintaining a physical location, such as 24-hour lighting systems, commercial security solutions, numerous types of building maintenance, and multiple kinds of workplace insurance.
Selecting the Right Solutions
Web-based retailers that implement ecommerce omnichannel solutions to cut costs and reach a wider share of customers use these methods in two of the most effective capacities. However, in order to get the best return on investment (ROI), retailers need a skilled marketing approach — especially in terms of audience segmentation — when deciding which omnichannel solutions to employ.
According to a 2017 report from Forbes, “[Retailers] have been chasing ubiquity when they need to be chasing relevance and differentiation. Clearly, customers are engaging in more channels as part of their shopping journeys and retailers must respond accordingly.”
Fair enough, but does that mean online merchants should have an in-store setting in addition to their online business, becoming what are called “brick and click” retailers? Ultimately, it depends on what a retailer sells and how its customers prefer to buy. If a retailer plans to do lots of business online, deciding which payment gateway is best is a good place to start.
Which Payment Gateway is Best?
Deciding between payment gateways requires considering both sides of the coin: which gateway features are best for the retailer, and which options most favor customers.
For example, three important factors for any retailer to consider are: online sales volume, startup expense and recurring fees, and cyber security resources. Three crucial factors to consider on the customer’s end are: types of payment cards a gateway accepts, number of official currencies the gateway processes, and, again, cyber security resources.
Retailers who aren’t sure which payment gateway would work best have two helpful options at their disposal: Work with a marketing professional to segment the target audience based on their location and how they prefer to pay, then consult a Merchant Service Provider (MSP) to select the best gateway based on four factors: geographic dispersal of the target audience, how audience members prefer to pay, sales volume by time of day, and average sales volume.
The Importance of Brick-and-Mortar
Ecommerce omnichannel solutions have increased in popularity thanks to the increase in ecommerce payment channels, particularly the remote mobile channel (e.g., smartphones and tablets) and the ewallet channel available to consumers through MSPs. But web-based payment channels haven’t caused sales at brick-and-mortar locations to uniformly crumble.
According to Forbes, “The majority of retail purchases in virtually all categories start online and, despite conventional wisdom, digitally influenced physical store sales are far bigger than online sales. Many traditional retailers made their ecommerce offering better while underinvesting in their physical stores, seeming to forget that the lion’s share of shopping is still done in brick and mortar locations.”
In other words, an online product or service offering is the catalyst that creates the “lead” (i.e., the prospective customer), and most leads then become customers by purchasing in-store. This sequence of events demonstrates the growing importance of retailers that operate on the brick-and-click model.
In-store retail and remote, web-based retail aren’t as mutually exclusive as they are often made to seem. Rather, to the benefit of both retailers and consumers, in-store and web-based retail compliment each other. For retailers, they create a powerful, synergistic approach for closing sales. For consumers, they help inform purchases that create the sales (e.g., an appealing product is found online, then the customer examines the quality of the product in-store).
Ecommerce omnichannel solutions include remote, web-based purchases and in-store, web-based purchases, as both fall under the umbrella of ecommerce. Eventually, many retailers will find that their web presence isn’t destined to replace their physical presence. Instead, their web presence will empower their physical presence, making the latter more important — not less important — than before.
About Allied Wallet
Allied Wallet is the premier provider of merchant services and international payment gateways for merchants. By facilitating global ecommerce, our payment gateways can be an important part of a retailer’s ecommerce omnichannel solutions.
To learn more about our offerings, call us today in the U.S. at +1-888-255-1137, call us in the U.K. at +44 203 318 8334, or use our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!