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Payments play a key role in consumers’ willingness to make repeat purchases from a merchant, according to Discover Financial Services Inc.

Some 85% of consumers say a negative payment experience makes them less likely to interact with a business in the future, says Discover’s 2024 Payment State of the Union report. In addition, 59% of merchants say payments are critical to the customer experience, while 39% say the impact resulting from how customers interact with a merchant is one of the most important considerations they take into account when selecting a payments partner.

The Discover study, conducted globally during the first quarter, generated 5,030 consumer responses and 2,258 merchant responses. The study was overseen by 451 Research.

Customers Want Options

Offering a variety of payment options plays a key role in the customer experience, with 53% of merchants saying that having a variety of digital payment options is their top strategy for driving conversions. On the consumer side, 63% of consumers strongly agree that having the ability to pay using their preferred payment method is the most significant factor in completing a purchase.

When it comes to specific payment types, 92% of merchants see tap to pay on mobile devices as the second most important value driver for their businesses over the next three years. The ability to accept payments nearly anywhere (61%) and deliver a more personalized sales experience (56%) are the top two use cases driving merchant interest in tap to pay on mobile technology.

Seamless Omnichannel Experience

Payment providers that can bridge online and offline shopping journeys for merchants can help them create more seamless customer interactions that can boost conversions, according to the report. Some 76% of merchants say offering streamlined payment experiences across all sales channels is important to their success, while 40% say the ability to offer seamless digital payments across multiple channels is a top attribute they look for in a payment partner.

“Payments can be thought of as the linchpin of omnichannel strategy,” the report says.

While how payments are handled across multiple sale channels is critical for merchants, in-store payment experiences should not be overlooked, the report says. In-store purchases are rebounding in the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic. In 2024, 43% of consumers expect to make most of their purchases in-store, up from 39% in 2023, according to the research.

Consumers in North America and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions are driving in-store spending, with 55% of North American consumers and 48% of consumers in the EMEA saying they expect to spend the majority of their discretionary income in-store.

Despite the importance merchants are placing on omni-channel digital payments, 86% of them agree their technology remains a work in progress.

Overall, indeed, merchants acknowledge they have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to offering a better digital payment experience, with just 23% saying they are providing what they view as a highly engaging digital experience for customers.

Source: Digital Transaciton news  June 3, 2024