Seamless approach to payments helping merchants improve customer loyalty

Merchants want to provide their consumers with an omnichannel approach to buying goods and services which give customers a personalised touch and provide them with extra value added services such as loyalty programmes.

Christian A. Bacher, Managing Partner, Smart Engine

As the way people pay for things has grown, the more complex it has become to integrate all the different payment methods into a single system which allows merchants to understand consumer preferences and behaviours.

Christian Bacher, Managing Partner at Smart Engine, says: “What we see is there is a need for platforms that consumers can collect all the different payments methods onto one platform.”

He explains merchants want a payment process which they can motivate the customer through loyalty programmes. They want the system to be instant and enable the consumer to collect rewards and motivate them to return to the store. They want to be able to use payments to understand customer behaviour and market them goods and services which are of only interest to them.

In the past, merchants marketed messages to the consumer through video or advertising. It was a one-way process, points out Bacher. They did not have input from the customer about what they wanted to receive.

But those days are long gone and new products have emerged which allow merchants to analyse payment transactions at the checkout process instantly, understand consumer preferences and offer them things which are a lot more relevant.

He says: “Personalisation of advertisements is a big benefit for the consumer and the merchants. The conversion rates are much better.”

To give merchants a seamless approach, Smart Engine has been developing products which integrate merchant’s loyalty systems into the different point of sales (PoS) and eCommerce platforms instantly.

The Smart Engine system works by the terminal being able to remember the customer on the payment system they use to purchase.

When a customer buys something from a store the first time, the terminal will ask if they would like to collect loyalty points. The system then remembers the person every time they come back and generates points when they buy something as well as collect information about their preferences.

He says: “When you check out with your card or your wallet, there are no additional marketing systems or platforms needed for the merchant any longer. This is all integrated on the PoS terminal.”

“It is about making the payment product more relevant, more compelling to merchants. For the merchant, they do not have to launch their own website for loyalty. They don’t have to launch an app and don’t have to print up plastic cards. People’s payment card becomes their loyalty card. For the merchant, it is very cost efficient and effective because it reaches every customer through when they check out.”

Smart Engine has also launched a programme for banks to build loyalty schemes for their retail and business customers.

He says: “Usually when you use banking services, there are no rewards. Many of the analysts say this is a key disadvantage in banking that customers are not being rewarded when they do business with a bank. It makes a difference in the consumer experience.

“It is a big benefit for the bank in terms of improving loyalty. The other benefit is monetary. We enable banks to monetise data through the increase of card transactions.”

By merchants using a seamless approach to payments, it can help give customers an omnichannel approach to shopping, improve their loyalty and make things easier for all.

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