A recent Business Insider survey of payments professionals found that "61% of omnichannel merchants use different acquirers for eCommerce and physical channels (1).” That means the 61% of merchants have to deal with different security tools, different data types, and different reporting platforms - all just to handle payment processing. Why is this a bad thing? Not only does it increase costs of acceptance and maintenance, but it all but ensures your customers will have an inconsistent retail and online experience.
While multiple payments providers can offer enterprise merchants of scale more options for international expansion or single-point-of-failure avoidance, the cost to build out and maintain integrations and relationships can often go unnoticed. Treasury teams are required to devote people and time for multiple reconciliation and cash management processes. Operations teams need to train and monitor different reporting systems to get the information they need on a daily basis. IT groups have to build and maintain multiple integrations to meet their business' complex needs. Payments projects already often struggle for budget dollars within a merchant organization, so streamlining the scope and complexity of these projects is paramount.
Worse yet, a customer's experience can suffer when physical and online systems are siloed. Data surrounding a payment made on a merchant's website - a secure token for stored credentials, customer information for order lookup, purchase price and SKU information - needs to be available to a merchant's retail systems in order for a customer to return an online purchase to a physical store. 83% of U.S. and U.K. customers in a recent AT Kearney survey indicated that they would rather return purchases to a physical store than online, regardless of how the purchase was made (2). The requirements don't stop at the return process, either - customers are being trained to expect more from the brands they interact with. If you haven't heard of buy-online-pick-up-in-store yet... you will.
I think a common theme for retail businesses in 2017 will be connectivity: enhancing the connectivity between systems that have been traditionally siloed and operated in parallel, building robust connectivity between sales and marketing teams that have primarily operated either in the brick & mortar or online space. Companies have been rapidly expanding into new channels of customer interaction, through organic growth or M&A, but the time has come to focus on the connectivity between those channels. Merchants at the top of the food chain are training consumers to expect a consistent experience, regardless of the method of interaction - falling short of that consistency is becoming less and less acceptable by day.
(1) (http://e.businessinsider.com/, "Merchants use different acquirers for physical and digital sales")