Much has changed about the world we live in over the course of the past 20 months or so. Government-imposed social restrictions and health protocols that were introduced in response to the pandemic limited, and in some cases prohibited, our normal ways of doing things. It’s precipitated a heavier reliance on technology as a means to support our activities, fueling a digitization of the lives of people across the globe. For retailers, it’s resulted in a critical need to keep up with a consumer whose shopping and purchasing behaviour has shifted away from physical brick-and-mortar stores toward online channels. It’s forced merchants everywhere to recognize and understand the shift in their customers and develop strategies around the ways by which they’ll continue to serve them. And, according to Mike Bradley, Founder and CEO of payment service provider Clik2pay, one of the ways retailers can enhance their offering while also meeting a rising consumer demand, is by providing greater options and flexibility at the online checkout.
“Consumers have historically purchased items online in one of two ways – either by credit card or from their bank account, which is typically done using a debit card,” he explains. “The challenge is that when retailers sell online, the notion of a debit card is very different from what it is in-store. Interac Debit transactions in-store are very cheap for retailers and easy for consumers to use. Online, however, the debit card means Interac Online, Visa Debit and Mastercard Debit, each supported only by a handful of financial institutions. This results in a split offering and confusion for the online customer concerning the best ways to pay. What we’ve noticed, along with the obvious online shift in consumer purchasing, is the customer’s increasing desire for online payment options. And, to best serve them, retailers have got to ensure that they make these options available.”
Removing the friction
Clik2pay is a payment solution that allows Canadians to pay for online purchases directly from their bank accounts. Leveraging Interac e-Transfer, the service reaches nearly every Canadian financial institution. It’s incredibly easy for consumers to use, who simply click the Clik2pay button, scan a QR code and pay for an item through the financial institution of their choice. It’s this seamless user experience that Bradley says underpins Clik2pay’s success to date and is one that he believes is a necessity when serving today’s digital-savvy, convenience-starved consumer.
“Consumer habits are changing,” he asserts. “They’re increasingly making decisions based on low friction, easy to use options that are effective. Nobody stays up at night wondering what payment solution they’re going to use to pay for their groceries. They just want something simple and easy. And what we’ve seen is the retailers that adopt simple, convenient alternatives to support their customers are going to be the retailers that consumers want to shop with. Anything that reduces the friction within the conversion process, from the time the consumer decides to make the purchase to the point the purchase is paid for, is going to be accepted and appreciated by the consumer. And, that step that involves closing the sale or not, often represents the difference between success and something well short of that.”
Reducing retailer costs
The biggest challenge Clik2pay helps alleviate for retailers and brands selling online, says Bradley, is the cost that’s associated with credit cards. By leveraging a payment solution like Clik2pay, the retail industry could collectively save billions of dollars in costs directly related to accepting credit card and debit card payments online.
“For retailers operating in general merchandise, grocery or any other big retail category, debit card is a big form of customer payment in-store,” he says. “Debit card transactions cost retailers a nickel or less to accept payments in-store, making it an extremely affordable method for them. As the pandemic has shifted volume online, it’s also resulted in greater costs for retailers. As common as it is for customers to use debit to pay for in-store purchases, they often use credit cards online which can cost 100-times more than in-store debit. And payments are not a small portion of a retailer’s expenses, either. For many, it’s becoming such an expense that it trails only cost of goods sold, premises and staff. In fact, Canadian merchants spend somewhere north of $10 billion on payments every year. And because this is a cost that continues to increase, retailers are left in a really tough spot at a time when they’re already under such a tremendous amount of pressure.”
Security and trust
To help retailers tackle this challenge, Clik2pay enables account payments online, lowering their overall cost of accepting payment. It is fast, easy and efficient for both consumers and retailers to transact, removing from the payment experience much of the friction that Bradley refers to. And, when it comes to security, Clik2pay boasts some of the highest possible standards for risk management, leveraging one of the world’s most secure money transfer services. It’s something that he says is of significant importance when considering the trust that needs to be inherent within the consumer when adopting services like Clik2pay.
“Nobody gets involved in the payments business without security being at the very top of the list,” he says. “What’s most significant about Clik2pay is the fact that the consumer completes their payments from within their online or mobile banking – which are equipped with security features and measures offered by their financial institutions. In addition, our system is highly secure and allows us to confidently offer our services, helping retailers engender a trust and confidence in their consumers – sentiments that are becoming so critical when it comes to winning their business.”
Because the payment service solution is supported by API technology, retailers are able to implement it within their systems incredibly easily. And, it’s benefits to merchants that use it are numerous, including the provision of faster guaranteed payments and increased customer satisfaction.
Because Clik2pay leverages QR codes to complete transactions, it helps to support retailers’ curbside pickup processes with a contactless form of payment. The service also allows retailers and other billers to create customized payment links delivered through SMS/text to collect outstanding bills from their customers.
As the 2021 holiday shopping season grows nearer amid expectations of record volumes of purchases made through online channels, it’s clear that in order for retailers to succeed they must ensure the offering and options that consumers will be searching for. Bradley recognizes the importance of doing so as well as the challenge in executing on the task. However, he lauds the team around him, which is comprised of people from payments, retail and digital banking, and is confident in their collective ability to continue transforming online payments.
“Our mission is to be the best way for Canadian consumers to pay, and for Canadian retailers to be paid – with respect to making things easier, faster and simpler for them. We’re consistently looking at ways to shorten the transaction process even further while continuing to reduce the costs retailers must incur when accepting payments online. We’re also eager to help more merchants in these ways. In fact, we have a mobile app planned for release shortly which will enable small businesses to use Clik2pay for payments. There’s so much potential concerning this technology and the positive impact it can have on retail operations with respect to payments going forward. And we’re excited to make it available to as many retailers and brands as possible.”
For more information about Clik2pay and how it can help retailers reduce the cost associated with online ecommerce transactions, visit https://clik2pay.com/