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Expert opinion

Envisioning omnichannel commerce and payments

Monday 13 November 2017 | 09:39 AM CET

Eric William Pitts, Executive Manager at Sixt, explains how to develop an omnichannel commerce and payments experience.

This editorial was first published in our Online Payments and Ecommerce Market Guide launched on 1 November 2017. The guide features several important thought leadership editorials from ecommerce and payments industry professionals, which makes it a top-reference source for anyone involved in the payments ecosystem.

While the term ‘omnichannel’ refers to multiple channels, omnichannel payments entail the ability to process payments in different ways, without any significant changes of branding or inconvenience in service and always fully integrated into the merchant's multichannel business processes.

However, omnichannel goes beyond simply online or in-person payments – it also includes invoicing, recurring billing and mobile payments.

As an international mobility service provider, Sixt is a true omnichannel business. Different types of incoming channels are used by our customers to interact with our different services such as our car rental service, the car sharing-offer DriveNow or the transfer service myDriver.

To ensure customer satisfaction and to enhance sales and profitability, Sixt accepts payment details in multiple ways. Depending on the type of reservation or customer inquiry, payment details are transmitted through the web (ECOM) and/or the phone (MOTO) before we are able to greet customers at our stations (POS). Customers often contact us to make changes (e.g. extensions) to their active rental agreement via email or phone. Additionally, after-the-fact interaction with our customers' transactions is crucial for our customer service department.

For globally active companies, an ever-changing and evolving payments landscape presents several challenges for adapting to the conditions, but it also offers opportunities that enable companies to approach the largest possible customer base in each of their serviced countries. New and locally available payment methods and brands, as well as preferred alternative payment methods, offer great potential if you can get them to support your business processes which require e.g. support for authentication types during the rental contract lifetime, which entails online reservation, p/u at branch, rental extension via phone, etc.

After supplying customers with a seamless and convenient payment setup, one should then look at the backend infrastructure.

Payment processing contracts need to be in place for the required acquiring service regions. A central payment routing hub that connects a globally homogenous payment terminal infrastructure and management can be put into place by offering an open standard payment setup for your card business (most proprietary payment cards are co-badged!), thus enabling maximum acceptance availability.

EU regulation on card fees limited the advantages proprietary card schemes had over the globally available brands. Currently, we see that a general decline in transaction fees is underway. The results are lower payment costs and an ongoing payment market consolidation. Everyone, from terminal vendor to NSP, PSP and acquirer, is now building their interpretation of a full-service omnichannel service provider setup, resulting in many interesting business models and offerings.

Needless to say, the right mix of perfectly aligned providers is crucial to an omnichannel setup, whilst ensuring consolidated and combined reporting and reconciliation in order to simplify accounting procedures. Additionally, consolidated reports on key business metrics such as sales trends and revenue make for easier business management. Simplicity is another benefit that comes with this setup, dealing with only a minimal number of customer service departments and Key Account Managers, when in need of assistance.

Enabling customer profiles with up-to-date customer data

Every merchant's goal should be to know their customer's preferences, which include e.g. their favorite payment credentials. This could be done, for example, by an online metaprofile. Companies will enable their customers’ use of various services or products through a single sign-on procedure, making the use of these services and products conveniently interchangeable. This scenario provides the basis for important functionalities such as fast checkout or a one-click payment, improving your customer’s payment experiences.

Empower your customer

Offer your customers access to services at any point in time and at any place, and give them the ability to e.g. rent and hail wherever and whenever they want.

Fraud prevention

The trend of fraud across channels can be curtailed when omnichannel payment partners decide to render help in preventing fraud by linking risk data across channels. During payment collation and processing, internal organizational structure and various processes related to prevention of fraud should be centralised.

Multi-processor strategy

The benefits of working with multiple processors for one business have to be weighed in even if you take payments through multiple channels. Maybe it is time to evaluate a DIY approach.

About Eric William Pitts:

Eric leads the Payments Department at Sixt, and is primarily responsible for their global payment infrastructure and processes. He is continuously refining payment acceptance solutions spanning across all SIXT subsidiaries and JVs, such as e.g. Flizzr, myDriver and DriveNow.

 

About Sixt:

Sixt SE is a leading international provider of high-quality mobility services for business and corporate customers as well as private travelers. With representations in over 100 countries worldwide Sixt is continually expanding its presence. The company's strengths lie in the high proportion of premium cars in the vehicle fleet, its employees’ consistent service orientation and a good price-performance ratio.

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