According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials—those born between 1982 and 2000—already outnumber the next-largest generation, the Baby Boomers. As they grow in earning power, they are on track to outstrip the spending power of the Boomers as well, and they are far more impatient. That’s why we’ve partnered with Discover® Global Network to highlight the changing needs of consumers who expect a fast and seamless experience.
Millennials expect faster customer service than previous generations. Not only do they expect to find what they want, when they want it, but they also expect retailers and brands to process payments and returns as quickly as possible. What’s more, in 2013, Accenture found that 68% of Millennials demand a seamless purchasing experience, one that integrates online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar stores.
Payment systems are the engines that help make it all possible.
Faster Payments, More Customers
“No one likes waiting in line, and it’s especially frustrating when you’ve spent time browsing, choosing items, perhaps trying on a number of outfits, to then end up in a ridiculously long checkout line,” says Stephan Schambach, CEO of NewStore and author of Makeover: How Mobile Flipped the Shopping Cart. “It’s not uncommon for customers to make a selection, see a long line at checkout, and decide, ‘Never mind.’”
Clearing the bottleneck for payments is vital not only to online shopping, says Schambach, but to the in-store experience as well. “Brands that worry about abandoned shopping carts online should be just as worried about abandoned purchases at the store checkout line,” he says. In other words, speed is of the essence in processing payments, wherever and however consumers shop.
Many retailers have found that mobile payments and self-service options are powerful antidotes to the checkout bottleneck. Empowered consumers—especially Millennials—used to self-service online now favor merchants who can bring the same convenience to brick-and-mortar stores without sacrificing outstanding customer service, according to Schambach. And combining the best of both the online and in-store worlds with the help of innovative, robust payment systems can provide customers with a friction-free shopping and purchasing experience, wherever they happen to be.
“Brick and mortar experiences can still be profound and profitable,” says Schambach, “and modern technology both on the front end and back end is crucial.”
Payment Partners, the Key to Success
Along with enabling faster transactions, payment systems can also bring added value. In 2013, Accenture found that 95% of Millennials want to spend their money with brands that actively court them. Since discounts via loyalty programs are a major ingredient for fostering this brand loyalty, payment infrastructure is at the center of the action for a host of new opportunities to attract and retain customers.
All of which means that the networks, financial institutions, and fin-tech companies that have access to the cutting-edge payments infrastructure that they need to develop innovative in-store payments solutions are those that will more likely succeed in today’s marketplace.
Payments infrastructure is typically provided by partners—companies that handle payments for merchants. A sophisticated payment partner can put the power of innovative payments in the hands of brands and retailers seeking the coveted loyalty of America’s largest demographic, as well as everyone else. Merchants can spend the majority of their resources on more robust customer experiences, while helping to ensure seamless payments behind the scenes—whether it’s online, on mobile devices, or in stores. Getting such a network behind a brand’s pursuit of progress can go a long way toward not only staying relevant today, but also thriving well into the future.
Discover Global Network makes the process of integrating payments into businesses easier by taking on the necessary work and complexity, allowing merchants to focus on what they do best: serving customers rather than worrying about payment infrastructure. Visit Discover Global Network’s booth at the Money 20/20 festival in Las Vegas October 22-25 to learn more.
The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes based on independent research, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.