The Pandemic pulled forth Omnicommerce faster than Video Killed the Radio Star. It is no longer a two channel system of face-to-face and eCommerce. Omnicommerce expands the channels and experiences to offer on-demand, delivery, curbside pick-up, in-person and mobile. Social media and voice activated devices continue to add dimensions. Businesses must adapt and combine online and offline interactions with a payment system which supports the interactions, inventory and transactions demanded by Omnicommerce.
Payments must remain fast, seamless and efficient yet evolve to account for the multitude of entry points. In this way, consumers will be rewarded and continue to engage and adopt new payment methods. The stakes are high, however as the converse is also true.
Unified experiences or bust
Customers demand a unified experience. They may purchase in one channel but they can and do return through another. POS systems must be able to retrieve card data and perform reference refunds such that the card data is not stored but the reference to the purchase may be pulled and the tokenized card may be credited.
This provides for an efficient consumer experience while remaining PCI compliant A friend relayed how easy it was to return a purchase that his wife made on Amazon. He indicated he would return the items at a Whole Foods store and received a QR code. He walked into the store with the items and had them scan the QR code. He received a credit to his account the following morning.
Mother necessity and inventory management
Inventory management must track SKU location and be able to accept returns even if an item is not sold through the channel where the return occurs. I recently exchanged a power tool at a Big Box retailer which was purchased online. It was excruciating. The online model was exactly the same as the floor model but because the online model was bundled with other items, I needed to return the entire set even though the floor model was identical to what was purchased online. Because of a different online pricing scheme, staff were not allowed to exchange a floor model with one purchased online. This experience was so full of seams, by comparison, Frankenstein’s head would be unblemished.
Inventory management must go further and delineate inventory by buckets such as
- On-hand inventory
- Sold but not shipped inventory that much be deducted and
- Ordered but not received inventory that must be added
Reporting, tracking and marketing required
Merchants must be able to track customer spend over differing channels and provide guidance for marketing investment. This insight will assist businesses with content creation and promotions which will be more meaningful and personalized. The engagement should meet customers where they are and pair the technological sophistication of the consumer to that of the marketing based on their history.