The Omni-Integration Imperative: Reaching the Omniconsumer

by Lorena Harris 0

Asthe ranks of omniconsumers grow, the ability to provide a seamless omni-channelpayment experience is becoming critical for the businesses who serve them.

The concept ofomnicommerce—that is, a holistic approach to multichannel payments—has beenaround for some time. But with the proliferation of mobile devices andmerchants’ ongoing efforts to support multichannel business, the infrastructurefor omnicommerce is beginning to fall into place.

Using the Infrastructure. Consumers are not hesitating to use thatinfrastructure, according to recent Vantiv/ Mercator research. For example, 9out of 10 consumers now research and/or buy products online. When shopping forgoods worth more than $50, more consumers shop and buy online now than buyin-store without doing any online research. And 46% of consumers often conductresearch online and then go to the store to purchase higher value items.

Embracing New Channels. The rise of omnicommerce is opening the door tofundamental changes in consumer attitudes, led by the high expectations of theemerging omniconsumer. Omniconsumers are comfortable working across allchannels, new and old. That is, they are quick to embrace new channels,especially mobile, but they don’t replace the old with the new. For example,while online research and purchasing is now the most common way to shop forhigher-value items, 47% of consumers will go to a physical store and find andbuy higher-value items without prior research online. Or a bank customer mightshop for a loan or checking account online but then sign up for the product ata physical branch.

Blending Channels. Omniconsumers often blend channels as they shop in stores. About 4 in10 consumers are likely to consult their smartphones to support their shoppingexperience while at a retailer, and a similar number have used their devices toaccess special offers or discounts while in a store. Many also engage in showrooming.The research found that 19% of consumers often see a higher-value product,check prices on their phone, and buy it online; 17% do so but buy it in anotherstore. And many collaborate as they shop, with more than 1 in 5, tellingresearchers that they use their phones to share pricing and product informationwith friends and family.

Expecting Consistency. Omniconsumers have high expectations for a goodcustomer experience. Because they move freely and frequently across channels,delivering that experience, will dependlargely on being consistent across channels. Omniconsumers will expect to seethe same prices and services in different retail channels. They will want tohear consistent information as they shop for financial services in variouschannels. And when they run into problems in an automated channel, they willwant to be able to text, chat or call someone to get help quickly.

Setting the Pace. Over the last few years, the Vantiv/ Mercator research has found thatyounger consumers are the driving force behind this emerging omniconsumerbehavior. These consumers are more likely to use their phones to shop (86% vs.60% average) and to use showrooming techniques to make a purchase online (27%vs. 19%) or in another store (26% vs. 17%). However, this year’s researchclearly indicates that omniconsumer behavior is no longer restricted to thatyounger segment. Affluent consumers, for example, are more likely than averageto be omniconsumers, and even among the 65-and-older segment, 27% of consumersuse their phone to shop.

Overall, the number ofconsumers who think like omniconsumers is growing rapidly—and the omniconsumeris rapidly becoming the mainstream consumer. For merchants and financialintuitions, then, understanding and meeting the needs of the omniconsumer willbe critical in the coming years.

Source:Vantiv Insights Series Research 2012-14, conducted in partnership with MercatorAdvisory Servies.

Lorena Harris is vice president of corporate marketingat Vantiv, where she leads the Vantiv Insights Research program. For moreinsights, visit vantiv.com/research.