By David Allan, Director of Customer Operations at Ingenico Enterprise Retail
In today’s ever-changing payments landscape, keeping your payment options up to date to cater to a wide range of customers is vital to remaining relevant. However, this is easier said than done. Different methods of payment are infiltrating the market all the time, and remaining on top of them, with a full understanding of how they work, can overwhelm merchants.
On top of this, implementing a new payments system can be extremely complex. To ensure no customer experiences payment disruption, and no merchant loses a sale, the process requires a lot of planning and seamless integration into existing systems.
So, to make the process a little simpler for merchants, here’s a few top tips for those looking to adopt a new payment method:
Inform all stakeholders about the changes taking place
Not only do you need to keep your stakeholders informed on the transition, but involving all stakeholders up front can help your form a clear understanding of your existing payments ecosystem and therefore what needs improving, and what is working the way it is. Of course, payments are integral to every part of a business, so any change being implemented will require input from experts across the whole organisation – from marketing and finance personnel to store managers.
So, the first step to implementing a new payments system is to understand the needs of everyone involved in the transition, as well as the needs of your customers. Gaining their perspective on how a new payments system could make a difference to them will ensure the new system meets their individual requirements. This will help with adoption, while also minimising disruption during project execution.
Before you implement a new system, understand what you’re currently working with
When deciding on a new payments system, it’s important not to get reeled in by flashy new innovations and instead focus on a method enables you to best serve your customers and stakeholders.
However, to have a full understanding of what needs to change, you need to understand your current system first. So, by mapping out your current payment ecosystem you’ll be able to note what works well and what has been holding you back.
Once you’ve taken a closer look at your operations you’ll be able to work out what would be beneficial going forward, identifying key technical dependencies and risks and ensure that all facets of the solution are fully tested and piloted before the solution(s) go live.
Work with a payments partner that can ease the burden
Any payments partner you work with should be highly experienced in implementing payments transitions, with the ability to meet your needs at the scale your require. To make an informed choice on which payments partner to work with, here’s an outline of key elements any partner you consider should be able to offer:
Consultation – Payments experts should be able to give you confidence that they have everything in hand, that solutions are implemented with a low level of risk and are backed up by creativity and deep technical expertise. As well as this, a good partner will assess your business individually and suggest a bespoke plan. If a potential partner agrees to deliver exactly everything that you ask for, it’s likely they’re overselling to try and get you on board. However, payments are extremely complicated and although the odds are not impossible, it’s unlikely a company could supply the exact spec you require down to the exact solutions, activation date and cost. Retail partners add value by providing expertise, so if they’re agreeing to everything it’s unlikely they’re really taking your requirements on board and considering the best way to make them happen for you.
Planning – When making changes to your current system, a good payments partner will always be transparent regarding their responsibilities, the role you need to take to ensure a successful delivery, and any risks that can be anticipated during the process. During the planning stage, a good provider will engage stakeholders at the outset to ensure they understand what the business is trying to achieve, and how they can anticipate the changes will affect the running of the business.
Transparency – When it comes to the above, communication is key. Providers should ensure that they can commit to all quality, time or cost targets, and provide regular updates along the way. Then, they should facilitate joint meetings to give all stakeholders visibility of the project status throughout, and communicate clearly how they will organise, track and govern the delivery of your payment solution.
Stability – A robust platform with Enterprise grade Service Level Agreements is essential. On this note, a provider should include a thorough testing and pilot phase to assess the inner workings of a solution and ensure it’s functional, operational, and ready for a smooth rollout.
Don’t let it overwhelm you
When it comes to it, payment experts have been helping merchants implement new payments systems for years. As a result, there’s no need for any one merchant to take all the pressure of implementing a new system on their own. After all, a merchant’s attention should be focused on the day-to-day ins and outs of their business. Spending too much energy on payments alone could mean they divert attention from other critical aspects of the business.
So, work with a provider that understands your company’s needs. Combine this with key stakeholder involvement to get a complete understanding of your businesses’ needs, and there’s no reason why you can’t transition your payments system seamlessly.