The ultimate merchant experience

The consumer experience starts with merchant experience, this means maximising what a merchant gets from how it conducts its business.

What is the merchant experience?

We often talk about consumer or shopping experience, but what about the merchant experience? One cannot exist without the other, so what is the true meaning of merchant experience?

‘I always forget to make an appointment with my hairdresser, and when I do remember, they are closed.’

That’s a common occurrence for many. When Head of Partnerships Nicky Koopman spoke to PYMNTS she observed how travelling and a busy work life can make it difficult to get the consumer experience that she wants, but went on to say:

‘I am so happy that I can actually go online and make my booking when I remember I need to.’

As the digital age evolves, how consumers seek to interact with merchants is ever-changing. Their lives can be time-constrained, so there’s a craving for immediacy, and a higher value placed on the quality of the interaction.

Consumers demand a seamless shopping experience

To maintain a market position, merchants need to streamline the checkout process for in-store transactions. Our Retail Innovation Readiness surveys found that more than 80% of small businesses believe they need to innovate to stay competitive.

Tesco have recently joined the ‘no-checkout needed’ club in London, along with Aldi and Amazon. All three are now trialling stores where the customers items are scanned as they go, and payment taken seamlessly through an app. As more and more customers try out an experience driven shop, it is what they will come to expect. Innovate, or be left behind.

To meet consumer needs for a better shopping experience, merchants must be able to incorporate more value-added services into the payment process and do it seamlessly. There are many solutions available to merchants, such as loyalty, customer relationship management, booking, and more, that will be helpful in offering the best shopping experience to their customers.

But how useful can these solutions be if they’re not also providing the merchant with a great experience as well?

What does the ultimate merchant experience look like?

To understand a lived experience, it’s easier if you can visualise it. Enter our video aimed at helping acquirers to understand what the ultimate merchant experience could look like.

The video below introduces smart POS, which turns the point of sale into a vibrant point of interaction (POI) and lets the audience experience a perfect example of first-class customer service via a small hairdressing business. Look at the smiles. The merchant acquirer does more for the merchant: providing more than just payments, it provides value-added services. The merchant, in turn, can run their business more efficiently and make customers happy.

In what becomes a seamless transaction, we see our consumer able to book an appointment directly the mobile phone, leading to a digital check-in upon arrival. Not only does this make it easier for the merchant to manage the flow of customers, but it adds to the level of customer service satisfaction, with a friendly welcome and the sense of being valued as a remembered client.

We also see a much-developed checkout experience, with the ability to process the transaction, access loyalty functions, a customizable checkout and a digital receipt. Add this to the various analytical features available to the merchant and that classic POS has become a new vibrant point of interaction.

Watch the video on YouTube here.

How to provide the ultimate merchant experience?

Every payment provider is now at a unique evolutionary stage as the world enters the Payments 4.X. era.

Maximizing the merchant experience, in this new ‘experience-driven’ environment, is about improving how a merchant interacts with the solutions they use to conduct business.

This includes the ability to improve the behind the scenes running, aka the back office, as well as the service provided to its customers, using value-added services. Yet how can a merchant offer the best shopping experience with tools that do not work well together, or worse do not even talk to one another?

Today, smart POS solutions incorporate a software POS along with third-party applications offering other functions that provide additional consumer services and automate traditional merchant back-office needs such as employee management, inventory management, or billing and invoicing. Not only does the consumer get a better experience, but the merchant can take advantage of productivity tools that are integrated at the point of interaction.

The ultimate merchant experience is what payment providers, such as merchant acquirers, ISOs, VARs should be aiming to deliver as we evolve to Payments 4.X. Fast track your journey with a scalable, cloud-based payments platform.

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