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What are omni channel payments?

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Last editedMar 20232 min read

The term “omni channel payments” describes the strategy of accepting payments from a variety of payment channels. Omni channel payments may form part of an overall omni channel strategy. This is a strategy for undertaking business through different channels. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about them.

The basics of omni channel payment processing

There are two main ways to implement omni channel payment processing. They can be used independently or combined. In the first way, customers on a single platform are presented with a range of payment options. They simply choose the one that suits them. 

In the second option, the payment options are adjusted to suit the channel the customer is using. This may result in the customer only seeing one payment option on each channel. However, it is usually possible for merchants to offer different payment options on a single channel.

In either case, the customer’s experience is kept as straightforward as possible. They see very little difference, if any, between omni channel payments and single payments. All the technicalities are handled at the merchant’s side. For practical purposes, that generally means they are handled by the merchant’s payment gateway and payment processor.

Omni channel payments and omni channel strategy

Merchants can use omni channel payments even if they’re not operating an omni channel strategy. By contrast, merchants who are using an omni channel strategy need to support omni channel payments. 

It’s very likely that the vast majority of modern merchants are using an omni channel strategy even if they don’t think of it that way. For example, many online merchants also offer the option to make an order over the phone. This is a very basic omni channel strategy. 

It’s becoming increasingly important for merchants to leverage the opportunities that an omni channel strategy offers. Quite simply, the more channels a merchant can use effectively, the more potential customers they can reach. 

The key word in that sentence is “effectively.” Be careful of over-stretching your resources. SMBs are particularly vulnerable to this. It’s therefore advisable to expand into new channels slowly, mindfully, and strategically. In particular, make sure that you are offering the right payment options for each channel.

The mechanics of omni channel payments

There are three key elements of omni channel payments. These are the customer experience, omni channel payment processing, and omni channel payment management.

Customer experience

It’s vital to keep the customer experience as straightforward and frictionless as possible. The starting point for this is using the right payment methods for each channel. Present the payment methods in a way that’s easy for the customer to use. 

Making the right choices can require you to look closely at the details of individual solutions. For example, some digital wallets are very simple to use on websites but very difficult to use for in-app payments, and vice versa.

It’s also important to note that implementing omni channel payments does not require you to support every possible payment option. This would likely confuse customers and increase the risk of cart abandonment. Instead, strike a balance between choice and simplicity.

Omni channel payment processing

Implementing omni channel payment processing may require you to invest in new equipment or software. You will very likely need to work with more than one payment gateway or payment processor. If so, familiarize yourself with the costs and rules for each vendor.

Omni channel payment management

The fact that you’re probably going to need to use more than one payment processor means that you may need to take a different approach to payment management. If you’re simply using your current provider’s tools, you have two options.

The first is to learn how to use the equivalent tools provided by your new vendors. The second is to invest in some form of third-party software to coordinate all aspects of payment management. Many accounting packages can handle this capably. This means that if you’re already using one, just add your new payment options to it.

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