The ecommerce merchant’s guide to omnichannel payment processing

Andy Tweddle, Payments writer
10 Apr 2024
money moving in and out of a portal

Omnichannel payment processing lets businesses accept payments through different channels — such as in-store, online, and mobile — using a single, unified system. 

Customers want to use their favourite payment method at checkout. In fact, for more than 20% of merchants, being unable to pay how they want is the most common complaint they receive from customers. 

For merchants to make this expectation a reality, payment methods need to be available across all customer touchpoints, ensuring customers can always use their preferred payment method.

This is known as omnichannel payment processing, which lets businesses accept payments through different channels at different stages of the buyer’s journey — such as in-store, online, and mobile — all using a single, unified system. 

This article will take you through what you need to know about omnichannel payments and the key considerations for merchants implementing omnichannel payment processing. 

What is omnichannel payment processing?

Omnichannel payment processing refers to accepting several payment methods — aligned with your customers’ preferences — integrated into a consistent customer experience. When ready to pay, your customer is presented with different payment options tailored to their preferences regardless of where they are making the purchase. A successful omnichannel payments strategy should span the entire buyer journey, from initial purchase to returns and refunds.

Despite widespread digitisation accelerated by the pandemic, most customers still interact with companies offline. The vast majority of UK consumers experience a mixture of digital and physical touchpoints: 60% like to visit brick-and-mortar stores to see products, even if they plan to buy online. Omnichannel payment systems include a selection of online and in-person options to meet customers where they are, seamlessly providing them with important purchase information. 

No matter the payment method chosen, the customer should see consistent company branding from start to finish, and checkout should be easy. Omnichannel payments are part of an omnichannel shopping experience that is seamless and personalised, because it takes into account what your brand knows about a customer — including their payment preferences and potential interest in upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

Omnichannel vs multichannel payment processing

Multichannel payment processing involves accepting payments through multiple channels — such as in-store, online or mobile apps — allowing customers to pay through their preferred method. Businesses may also accept different payment methods in each of these channels, though each channel’s experience and backend processes are not necessarily unified. The continuity of experience across different channels will not be as smooth or integrated as with omnichannel payment processing.

Types of omnichannel payment methods

Omnichannel payment processing encompasses several payment methods depending on customer preference. Some payment methods that are commonly used in an omnichannel payment platform include:

Omnichannel payments include physical, in-person transactions as well as card-not-present and in-app purchases. You don’t need to offer every option on this list — omnichannel payment processing is best when tailored to suit specific customer preferences. 

For example, a global clothing retailer might combine online orders with in-store interactive catalogues, while an ecommerce store might blend one-off checkout payments with subscription services.

Benefits of omnichannel payment processing

Omnichannel payment processing is typically good for business. Retailers with omnichannel strategies tend to report higher rates of revenue growth

This impact on revenue can be explained by the fact that two of the main reasons why people abandon their carts are a lack of payment methods and a complicated checkout process. By using omnichannel payment systems, merchants can create a smooth, secure, and cohesive online checkout experience with the payment options customers want. That leads to greater customer satisfaction that, in turn, improves conversions.

An omnichannel payment platform also makes life simpler for merchants. Omnichannel payment solutions:

  • streamline multiple payment methods into a single unified system

  • offer all-in-one reporting for simplified accounts reconciliation

  • make it easier to monitor sales and inventory

  • consolidate customer purchase journeys across channels

  • reduce management and maintenance time

Rather than maintaining multiple systems to manage each individual payment method, merchants can monitor payments from a central dashboard. And by generating data from multiple transaction types, omnichannel payment services allow you to fine-tune your sales and marketing strategies.

Considerations for omnichannel payment processing

There are a few factors to consider before implementing your omnichannel payment processing methods.

1. Security

Some payment methods are more secure than others, and different payment methods have different compliance and security standards. For example, if you accept online card payments, you’ll need to follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This ensures that customer data is handled according to best-practice security methods.

2. Consistency

Customers crave cohesion when making a purchase, so it’s important to ensure that your payment processing has a consistent experience across each payment channel. For example, it shouldn’t matter whether the customer buys online and then returns some of the goods to the store. The entire process should feel like one integrated journey.

3. Data sharing

Alongside consistency comes the need to gather data for a smoother payment experience. Online customers are fluid, shifting from physical to digital interactions — all of which generate unique data. Look for omnichannel platforms like Magento and Shopify that unify the data to create a snapshot of each customer’s buying habits. Customise the user experience with real-time, accurate data sharing across channels.

Omnichannel payment solutions give businesses an all-in-one, comprehensive payment processing platform. Integrating multiple processes into a single platform gives you a bird’s-eye view of customer interactions. You can take this into account to target your marketing efforts as well as enhance the purchasing experience.

Upgrade your checkout with instant bank transfers 

The best omnichannel payment strategy will include the payment methods your customers prefer to pay with. While card payments are still the most popular in the UK, open banking payments  — often called ‘instant bank payments’ at checkout — are a growing payment method in online retail. 

Get in touch with the TrueLayer team to find out how open banking can transform your payment experience,  helping you drive sales, build loyalty and offer a more secure way to pay.

Insights straight to your inbox
Join 10,000+ subscribers getting the latest open banking news.
4 key takeaways from Money20/20 Europe 2024
16 Jul 2024

4 key takeaways from Money20/20 Europe 2024

19 Jun 2024

What is authorised push payment fraud?

When should you consider adding open banking payments to your checkout_Header
14 Jun 2024

Open banking’s path to dominance in UK ecommerce | TrueLayer

Categories to explore