It’s now a cliché to say that payment options have evolved enormously over the past decade. Industry commentators have tirelessly traced the rapid and widespread adoption of contactless and digital payments, as well as the growing popularity of hybrid online and in store retail experiences like buy online and pick-up in store.
As a merchant, you already know that consumers expect a wealth of seamless payment options wherever they go, and that you must embrace new methods quickly or be left behind.
What the people urging you to adopt new payments methods don’t tell you is how to do it. Implementing a new payments system is a complex, multi-faceted endeavour involving numerous stakeholders, complicated technical processes and comprehensive planning.
The stakes also couldn’t be higher. A project delay, or poor execution, could make it difficult – or impossible – for customers to pay, which means lost sales and lost revenue. It’s not surprising that a lot of merchants are reluctant to take that first step.
At Ingenico Enterprise Retail, we understand that merchants need reassurance that a payments implementation project will go smoothly and that transactions will be handled securely. Over many years successfully delivering fully managed in-store, online and omnichannel payment solutions, we’ve developed a methodology for how to successfully approach these transition projects.
If you’re a merchant considering implementing a new payment method, you may want to consider the following points:
Managing the move to a new solution now involves more people than ever before. Payment methods are a core part of any business, so any change will need the input of experts across your organisation, from marketing and finance personnel to store managers. This is a huge shift in stakeholder involvement, which, in days gone by, would have simply involved IT technicians.
As such, the first step is to understand the needs of all internal parties involved in the transition, as well as the needs of your customers. Engage with them early in the process and get their valuable perspective on how a new payments system could make a difference to them. This will ensure the new system meets their individual requirements, which will help with adoption, while also minimising disruption during project execution.
Of course, every business wants the bright, shiny, new technology that everyone in the industry is talking about. But each merchant has a unique customer base, size and configuration of estate, and intended retail experience. Differentiation in the very competitive retail market is vital so a payment solution needs to meet the specific needs of your business and must, crucially, be one that you can seamlessly implement.
This is the main reason for involving all stakeholders up front. It’ll give you a clear picture of your existing payments ecosystem, which, even for a single organisation, can be enormously complex. Many mature payment systems have evolved organically and grown over many years, not necessarily lining up with the original design or focussed on effectively achieving the intended purpose. Any change could have a massive impact on the whole business and it’s hugely influenced by your current tech and payment processes. This includes where the money flows, and whether there are any downstream links to financial reconciliation, inventory management, order fulfilment, and so on.
So it’s important to map out your payment ecosystem, paint a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses and where things could be changed.
This is crucial as it allows all parties to understand key technical dependencies and risks, and ensure that all facets of the solution are fully tested and piloted before the solution(s) go live.
Given how complicated these kinds of projects can be, any supplier must be confident and experienced in managing this complexity. A partner should be able to demonstrate that they can provide the following:
With any major transformation project, anxiety is expected and inevitable. Implementing a new payment system isn’t easy, and you shouldn’t attempt it lightly. However, by getting the input of your key stakeholders, understanding your existing ecosystem, and finding a provider who is able to manage the process smoothly, you can be confident that the risk factor will have been minimised significantly. The crucial thing is not to panic – the experts are here to help!
David Allan is the Delivery, Service, and Operational Lead at Ingenico Enterprise Retail for Northern Europe. An expert in implementing large-scale complex IT Transformation projects and with over 20 years’ experience in the field, David has considerable experience in delivering Change Programmes to the public sector and financial services around the world. Programmes he has delivered include Technology Change, People Change, and Operational Change.
As part of his role at Ingenico Enterprise Retail, David leads the Northern Europe Customer Operations team in providing a range of pre-sales and delivery projects in the payments sector. David is passionate about delivering exceptional customer service along every step of the client’s journey. Among a range of responsibilities, he leads cross-functional teams to ensure customer consultations, and the omni-channel projects they require, are delivered to standard and are fully secure with PCI compliance and point to point encryption.