Can Bristol merchants meet customer expectations?

City of Bristol skyline

City of Bristol skyline

Last month featured an article, “Here’s Why Payment Considerations Are More Important Than Ever In Retail Marketing,” which discusses the ways retail is changing.

To compete with the power and convenience of online and mobile shopping, brick and mortar stores of all types must adjust. The message in the article is critical: “You need to cater to changing customer preferences if you’re going to stay in the game.”

The way Bristol-based stores can stay in the game is by enabling omni-channel commerce and payments. Put simply, it’s not enough to have a brick and mortar presence. Customers want choice and the ability to buy online, mobile, and in store.

All this is omni-channel, and it’s a requirement for companies of all types — retailers, restaurants, salons, transportation companies, and more.

There are also benefits to the business that adopts an omni-channel initiative. Satisfied customers are fantastic. In addition, omni-channel commerce gives organizations the ability to understand customers habits. For example, wouldn’t it be powerful to know what an in-store patron is also buying from you online? That valuable insight into customer behavior is priceless and able to be leveraged to create even better shopping experiences for customers.

Creditcall, a global payment tech company based in Bristol’s Harbourside, has spoken to many companies worldwide to know that there hasn’t been a clear path to omni-channel commerce. It requires either a complete rip and replace of IT infrastructure or the integration of existing systems with new technologies.

Additionally, there have been challenges with the critical electronic payment component of omni-channel. Credit card processing for in-store purchases are traditionally handled separately from online purchases.

This causes a massive roadblock for retailers seeking the benefits of omni-channel because there’s no visibility or exchange of transaction data between the different channels of commerce.

Thankfully, that roadblock has been removed (admittedly, Creditcall was involved). Companies who have struggled with omni-channel initiatives in the past should take another look. In fact, they can’t afford not to.

The desire for online, mobile and in-store shopping experiences isn’t something that’s going away and the threat to those who don’t address this trend is very real.