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New research by PCM Research and ACI Worldwide suggests that only a very small minority of retailers have managed to achieve full omnichannel service for their customers. Incompatible systems, data integration, and an inability to track customers are all cited as reasons why retailers are finding omnichannel hard to implement. Fraud and security issues are also repeatedly raised as reasons why implementations have failed, or just not started.
Just 21% of the retailers in the research claim that they offer an omnichannel experience to their customers. Worryingly a further 46% said that they would not achieve it in the next year.
What’s really interesting though is that 63% of the retailers surveyed said that they are interested in alternative payment mechanisms and 53% are interested in mobile payments. This strong interest in new ways to pay demonstrates that many retailers believe omnichannel requires a completely new approach to payment in addition to service.
Why would this be important?
As expressed in the list of problems cited, if you cannot track or identify your customer then it is extremely difficult to create a fantastic omnichannel experience – allowing the customer the freedom to operate across various channels during a single transaction.
Consider the Starbucks app as an example of how this can be done well. It is possible to go and buy a coffee at Starbucks without their app, but to do so means going to a café and waiting in line. The app allows you to place an order before you arrive at the café, to pay using the app, and to track your spending for loyalty rewards. That means you get all your points and you never have to wait in line because you can order 5 minutes before arriving at the café and just step in, pick up your cup, then go.
This demonstrates that integrating payment into loyalty management can be an important way of creating an omnichannel environment, but using new payment mechanisms is not always essential. Apps however are a very useful way of being able to track information on your customer so that the best possible experience can be created, but do you think they are essential for a great omnichannel experience?
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