Today, consumer awareness of mobile payment methods are increasing, but research shows that actual usage of such options is still low. However, consumers aren’t standing still. They are already using mobile technology to change the way they shop — and credit unions need to factor that reality into their strategies.
Research from Vantiv and the Mercator Advisory Group shows that many consumers are now incorporating smartphones and tablets into their shopping behavior. For example, 46% of consumers said that they usually conduct research online before making an in-store purchase. And 28% said that they regularly use showrooming — i.e., finding a product in a store, using a mobile device to search online for the cheapest price, and then making the actual purchase either online or in another store.
With such cross-channel activity, retailers and financial institutions alike need to deploy an omnicommerce approach. This means playing to the strengths of each individual payment option — including online, person-to-person, cloud-based mobile, and card-reader attachments — while providing a more consistent, seamless experience across the entire spectrum of available channels, from branches, to the Web, to mobile banking platforms.
The Vantiv/Mercator research identified a number of consumer attitudes that credit unions should keep in mind when developing omnichannel strategies. For example, many consumers are confused by the array of wallet options in the marketplace. Despite the industry’s strong marketing efforts, only 10% of respondents in the study said that they are interested in actually using a digital wallet at a retail point of sale — a decline from last year’s 13%.
This data points to an ongoing opportunity for the industry to make the value of mobile wallets clear to consumers and to provide them with the capabilities they will value most, such as the ability to handle a variety of payment options at a broad range of retailers.
Research also indicates that consumers show relatively low interest in simply using mobile payments in place of their traditional cards. Instead, they are looking for mobile banking options that provide financial and shopping resources — such as loyalty programs and budgeting tools — bundled in with payments as part of a comprehensive platform.
The key to omnichannel banking will be the integration of evolving technologies. Some larger banks are already working to recast systems for the omnichannel world, and credit unions now have an opportunity to do the same. Cooperative institutions will need to continue their efforts to work across silos and tie together various departments — inlcuding core banking, back office, CRM, loan, credit cards, and mortgages — across branch, mobile, and other channels in real time.
Building an omnichannel infrastructure is no small challenge, but the effort should be worthwhile. Credit unions, like retailers, operate in a world of constantly rising customer expectations. Those who can work consistently across channels will be ahead in the race to deliver an excellent payment experience.
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Vantiv is a leading integrated provider of payment processing strategies and advanced technology solutions for businesses and financial institutions. For 40 years, our team of committed professionals has made us one of the most trusted and respected organizations in the payment processing industry. We’ve driven many of the changes that prompted the shift from cash to electronic payments, and that innovative spirit continues to be our strength. We’re innovators, thought leaders, boundary pushers. Vantiv is changing the face of payments.