Last week, I discussed the first of threethemes that Mercator’s merchant acquiring research will focus onover the course of the year: mobility and the implications ofmobile plastic card acceptance providers. Please read last week’sentry for the preamble and themobility issue discussion. This week, we’ll be looking at thesecond in our series of central trends in the merchant acquiringspace:
Multichannel Merchant Services
Multichannel retailers face a wide range of challenges regardingthe point of sale and are seeking both systems that provide robustfeatures and cost-effective services for transaction processing,business intelligence, and enhancement of the customer experience.Mercator Advisory Group’s recent research and commentary on themerchant solutions space have looked at multichannel retail fromthe merchant perspective, focusing on problems and solutions forglobal companies selling goods online, through othercard-not-present (CNP) channels, and in physical locations inmultiple geographies. Merchant acquirers will need to give moreattention to this market in the coming months as competitionbecomes more intense. Merchants in digital content, online gaming,daily deals, social networking, and a slew of other fast-growingverticals that are expanding globally are very desirable accountsfor payment service providers hoping to piggyback their way intonew geographical markets.
System/device rationalization and consolidation of vendors also areon the minds of multinational, multichannel retailers as EMV gainstraction globally, as merchants pursue cost-cutting tactics forpayment processing, and as the newer mobile channel develops. Inmany markets, consumers’ shopping weapon of choice is the mobiledevice and, consequently, the consumers’ “natural user interface”is becoming more tightly integrated with the payment transaction.
In-store online research and browsing with smartphones and tabletsis having a very real effect on consumers’ purchase behavior.Merchants are seeking solutions to translate savvy consumercomparison shopping into incremental sales conversions. Even ifmobile devices are not fully functional payment instruments (as ispromised with NFC), consumers are still using them more and more toinitiate payments through apps and the mobile Web. Payment serviceproviders who enable both online and in-store transactions willneed to bridge the divide between the two to serve the multichannelspace.
Please come and visit again next week when I’ll tackle the last inthis series of three posts looking at a few of the major trends inmerchant acquiring: risk management.