Top 4 payment problems addressed by unified commerce

Dec 06, 2023

Key takeaways

A smooth payment transaction is critical to a positive customer experience  

The payment process can be an overlooked part of the customer journey where problems arise

From gift cards to multiple payment solutions, many problems may require expensive interventions

Business applications Retail Microsoft

Understanding the customer experience, especially across channels, is more important than ever. One important and often overlooked area is the payment transaction, the end of the customer journey: everything can be right, fast and accurate and then go wrong during this last step. Taking steps to address common issues that occur during this step will improve your customer experience and support trust in your brand. We’ve outlined the most common issues in the payment experience—and how to address them—below.

No. 1: Implementing multiple token vaults

Companies that have different payment solutions in each channel won’t be able to conduct transactions across channels without significant manual intervention. This occurs because the processor that accepts the authorization in one channel is not the same processor that’s used in the channel where the order is filled.

Implementing a single token vault that can be utilized across channels will improve payment agility and reduce customer service problems. This can be done with multiple gateway solutions as long as the underlying processor uses the same token vault.

No. 2: Completing credit sales prior to shipment

We’ve seen retailers that have different processors in each channel skip the authorization/capture process and capture the sale at the time of order. They then rely on the other channel to handle the order fulfillment. This is a gamble on the transaction completing in a timely manner that can backfire if there are any issues with fulfillment. When things go wrong, it takes a manual intervention, damages your brand and results in a loss of trust from your customers. The alternative approach is often more complex but will save your brand image and improve customer service in the long run.

The solution requires enabling a credit process where payments are authorized at the time of sale, but not captured until shipment. Having a unified commerce payment strategy allows this to happen seamlessly.

No. 3: Limiting gift cards

Online channels often utilize virtual gift cards. Stores issue physical gift cards. Many times these gift cards aren’t usable across channels. There are different handling and management processes for each, and stores typically have difficulty managing virtual gift cards (but online channels can often handle physical gift cards). Obviously, this situation can create a frustrating experience for customers. Sometimes companies have workarounds that involve contacting customer service, but these interactions are cumbersome and damage your brand.

The solution to this issue is to standardize a gift card service. The service store values and validates transactions for each of the sales channels that use it. Having an external service allows for more flexibility in adding channels in the future.

No. 4: Not handling returns on wallets (Google/Apple/PayPal)

Virtual wallets have been around for a while and are typically implemented in a ubiquitous way on the sales part of the transaction. Returns can get very tricky depending on the wallet and transaction. For many retailers, the process is a manual workaround that takes customer service intervention and the use of dummy payment entries. This takes something wonderful and convenient and turns it into a bad customer service experience.

Having a unified commerce payment strategy will consider payment usage across channels and ensure that the customer experience is a high priority.

What happens next?

Payments are complicated, even more so when enabling multi-channel interoperability. Taking the time to understand the customer experience and removing friction can result in significant gains. Being easy to work with is a competitive advantage that builds trust and loyalty. 

Connect with us if you need help with the payment experience or any other aspect of your unified commerce journey.

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