Ensuring a seamless and enjoyable customer journey has always been a focal point for retailers. Until recently, the standard journey was well covered: Go to the store, browse the merchandise, and select a product for purchase.

However, the payment experience – albeit central to the journey – has long been neglected, with retailers generally choosing to outsource the responsibility to banks, largely due to its complexity. While making payments may seem run-of-the-mill and seamless to many customers, complexity arises as shopping channels, technology, issues with types of payment, and consumer preferences evolve rapidly.

Retailers are beginning to develop strategies around integrating payments into their value proposition. While some still see payment as a process to be optimized from a technical and cost standpoint, implementing the right payments strategy is an opportunity for retailers to gain a real strategic advantage.

"A seamless payment experience is the differentiator that Amazon, Uber, and WeChat all have in common"

Have you ever wondered what business trait Amazon, Uber, and WeChat have in common? All of them have harnessed the untapped power of the payment experience in enhancing the customer journey, and have based their success on it.

Amazon is leading the way in using payment as a strategic control lever. The company offers countless forms of payment, checkout is fast and seamless, and payment is secure. The Amazon payment experience is a differentiator: For the same product at the same price, users will often choose Amazon for its 1-Click button ordering. In addition to using payment as a pillar of its value proposition, Amazon has further used payment as a loyalty tool to expand its business and to capture larger market share and profitability.  

Amazon Prime Reload: This offers 2 percent cash-back to Amazon Prime customers when they load money from a bank account or debit card into their Amazon prepaid account.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: This is a relaunch of the Prime Credit Card, targeted at Amazon Prime customers to encourage loyalty. Card users are entitled to 5 percent cash-back for purchases made on Amazon and 1 percent to 2 percent cash-back on purchases at other retailers.

Uber has frictionless payment capabilities that are the most powerful assets of the centralized customer journey platform. A cashless experience for car transportation was the differentiator that formed the foundation for Uber’s success among drivers and users. More recently, Uber has expanded its payment and service offerings outside of its core application. 

Uber digital payment: Uber accepts various digital payment methods including PayPal, Alipay, WageWorks commuter credit, and Apple Pay. It also uses its underlying payment platform (among other synergetic assets) to develop Uber Eats, a restaurant marketplace app, which successfully entered an already competitive market by offering a well-proven and seamless payment experience. 

Driver Instant Pay: Uber has enhanced its payment experience for drivers as well. The Instant Pay solution allows drivers to get paid up to five times per day, helping to address their short-term liquidity concerns. For a small fee, this service allows cash to be taken out with an Uber debit card or personal card.

WeChat has transformed itself from a basic instant messaging and social media platform to a holistic ecosystem that connects people, services, and businesses. The company’s swift rise to success can be attributed, in no small measure, to the introduction of WeChat Pay, a digital wallet that allows users to make mobile payments and send money between contacts. WeChat Pay contains numerous payment capabilities and offerings, which have significantly affected how people use and interact with the application.

Peer-to-peer payment: Users who provide bank account information can transfer money into a friend’s WeChat Wallet balance. Recipients can then pay it into their personal accounts or use the funds for other purchases through WeChat.

Commercial transactions: Consumers can now use the app to pay bills, order and pay for a cab, and purchase goods online. Companies use WeChat Pay in four ways: in-app payment, QR code payment for desktop websites, e-commerce for owned channels, and quick pay for in-store purchases.

Payments & Retail

In a post-pandemic world, consumers are looking for more frictionless and seamless payments. Retailers and banks have to innovate in order to adapt to consumer preferences. If you want to know more about this and future trends, join the discussion by watching this video.

Source: Capgemini

The Path Forward

The payments space has been undergoing significant transformation in recent years. From being viewed as a cost of doing business, it has become a key enabler of an integrated and seamless shopping experience that provides a unique competitive advantage. Leading companies such as Amazon, Uber, and WeChat have made significant investments to implement successful payments strategies. These companies are shaping the future of shopping through an integrated, streamlined payment experience.

To offer their customers the best possible payment experience, retailers need to ask themselves the right questions in building their strategy:

  • What are my customers’ needs and how can an improved payment experience help to fulfill them?

  • How can I use payment to enable seamless, personalized interactions with my customers? What value-added services can I offer?

  • What is the right way to think about my own proprietary forms of payment versus third-party forms of payment?

  • How do I arrange finance and get organized to radically enhance my customers’ payment experience?

  • Which partners or providers are best suited to support my journey?

  • How do I strike the right balance between fraud management and customer experience?

  • What implications do the global trends in data protection have for my payments strategy?

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