If there’s a recurring theme in all the questions merchants are asking payment providers, Andrew Monroe, global head of gaming and media at Worldline, said, “It all comes down to creating both a meaningful and efficient experience for consumers.”
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach in creating that experience, he told PYMNTS in an interview, pointing to how strategies in achieving that goal will differ from one merchant to another due to differences associated with local payment preferences and practices across different markets and regions.
From a payments standpoint, however, Monroe said optimizing the checkout process is the place to start, with merchants creating a seamless checkout flow that reduces cart abandonment and lost sales.
“They should get enthralled by the goods or services they want to buy and then get it,” he said. “Everything in between is the merchant facilitating the checkout experience.”
And while creating seamless experiences often means eliminating friction from the eCommerce process, Monroe said depending on the goods or services being purchased and the consumer’s country of location, a certain level of friction might be required to earn consumers’ trust.
“Sometimes it’s good to have no friction or minimal friction to enable them to slide through that checkout experience as quickly as possible,” he said. “Other times friction is necessary, or else consumers will drop off because they lose trust with the process.”
Merchants will have to provide the appropriate amount of information to strike the right balance, he added.
Overall, Monroe said the checkout experience is the first time within the payments cycle that a merchant can provide a meaningful and efficient experience to customers before moving to the next phases of providing the correct mix of payment methods and optimizing authorization rates.
As he said, “It’s making sure that by the time somebody has decided that they’re going to make a payment, that you’re able to offer them what they want to pay, and you’re able to authorize that and deliver their goods and services as quickly as you possibly can.”
In optimizing the checkout experience, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of payment providers can reduce cross-border complexities and drive revenue growth for both small businesses and large enterprises, Monroe said, pointing to payments providers like Worldline that are equipped to provide customized, data-driven payment solutions to over 1 million businesses around the world.
Partnerships are even more critical today due to the vast amounts of data points companies generate and must analyze, he said, not to mention the complexities often created when advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are thrown into the mix.
Monroe said that in his view, dedicating time and resources to data analysis takes merchants’ focus away from what truly matters: delivering the best products and services to their customers.
“I don’t think it’s a good use of internal resources to have someone who is specialized specifically in the data science behind payments,” he said. “There are companies that specialize in that and can either complement or supplement the knowledge within a lot of these small- to medium- to large-sized businesses.”
Looking ahead, while the focus will continue to revolve around creating an optimal and meaningful experience for consumers, businesses will need to explore different ways customers interact with organizations.
Monroe said “It’s no longer just a browser and mobile app” but includes new channels like the metaverse and live shopping. Businesses should tailor digital payment options to meet customers’ evolving needs and preferences.
“The ability of the merchant to capture the consumer’s interest and then immediately provide a way to convert that interest into the purchase of a good or service, I think that’s what we’re going to see more and more of in the future,” he said.