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The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 10, 2023 • Issue 23:07:01

How big companies can provide a complete commerce experience

By Peter Galvin

Elon Musk's latest Twitter endeavor is bringing the social media platform one step closer to becoming an "everything app" (see tinyurl.com/bdfy37cr). With the goal of providing users a wide array of services and features on a single platform, the tech giant plans to integrate peer-to-peer (P2P) and consumer-to-business (C2B) payment capabilities within the Twitter app.

Musk's plan is still in the works, but Twitter's adoption of embedded payment capabilities would enable users to send and receive fiat payments—and one day, maybe even cryptocurrency.

This plan follows the 2022 launch of Instagram's in-chat payment feature that allows customers to purchase goods from businesses without forcing either party to leave their direct messages. In addition, Facebook (now Meta) users have been making in-app purchases for years now.

These moves by some of social media's biggest players highlight the rising importance of comprehensive commerce experiences. But while in-app payments on social media are making headlines, the trend toward more comprehensive commerce experiences is much broader.

For instance, Instacart users who were previously redirected to a web browser or third-party payment app to pay for their orders can now make in-app purchases.

Moving forward, large companies like Twitter must stay on the cutting edge of embedded payment capabilities to sustain a competitive edge and meet evolving expectations. But they first need to understand the logistics and challenges associated with adopting payment capabilities so their organizations can provide a seamless and secure payment experience.

The consequences of friction in the checkout process

Picture this: You're scrolling through your go-to social media feed and see an ad for a pair of headphones your favorite influencer swears by. You're in the market for a new set, so you click on the linked product—but it redirects you to a web browser.

The page takes forever to load, and the checkout process requires you to fill out a lengthy form to create an account. Ultimately, you grow frustrated and abandon your order.

This type of frustration in the checkout process happens frequently (see https://tinyurl.com/bdevfcdz). In fact, 24 percent of shoppers ready to make a purchase abandoned their carts because the site prompted them to create an account, and 17 percent did so because the process was too long and complicated.

And with countless options available for a single product, shoppers can—and likely will—take their business to a competitor without hesitation.

Think about the best payment experience you've ever had. If you can't recall it, it's probably because the transaction was seamlessly integrated into the user journey. For example, what if consumers could pay for products at the spa down the street using the same app they use to schedule appointments?

If the spa used account and payment information that's already on file, customers wouldn't need to use a credit card or separate app to make a purchase. The result? Convenience for customers and increased sales for the spa.

The good news is that many organizations are making the shift toward more comprehensive—and in many cases, omnichannel—commerce experiences. But despite these steps in the right direction, many companies planning to adopt payment capabilities still face various logistical considerations, from security and fraud to payment infrastructure.

Three considerations for a payment capabilities integration

As consumer expectations and technological feasibility evolve, big companies like Twitter need to start thinking about how they can provide users with complete commerce journeys. The importance of these experiences will only continue to grow, and starting to plan for a payment integration now can help them stay ahead of the curve.

Enabling payment features on an existing application requires compliance with various regulations at the state and federal level, and a customer support team equipped with payment processing knowledge to handle inquiries.

So, even if an organization has the resources to incorporate payment functionalities into its operations, this type of integration requires careful consideration in these three key areas:

  1. Security: Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) becomes paramount when introducing payment processing to a company's operations. In summary, PCI DSS requires entities that accept, process, store or transmit card information to maintain a secure environment.

    This includes maintaining strong network security via measures like firewalls, and encrypting data like credit card information and primary account numbers (PANs).

    Adherence with PCI DSS also necessitates ongoing work and documentation to demonstrate compliance. But many fintechs offer PCI-compliant technology that makes the process easier.

  2. Fraud protection: In addition to data security, facilitating transactions requires diligent fraud monitoring and detection to safeguard users from bad actors.

    Depending on factors like company size and the complexity of the fraud risk environment, companies can either keep fraud monitoring and detection in-house or outsource to third-party experts.

    Regardless, strict regulations around embedded payments can't be ignored. Further, like any company that accepts payments, the enterprise must also determine upfront how it will handle chargebacks and dispute resolution as part of fraud protection planning.

  3. Infrastructure: The process of integrating embedded payments into operations can be complex, from selecting a payment gateway to creating forms and testing the integration. It's also essential to ensure the payment system is reliable and compliant, and that it provides a frictionless experience for customers.

    While an organization may have the resources to handle this process in-house, there are also third-party enablement platforms that can be leveraged for easier integration.

It's likely payment capabilities will soon offer more than just a competitive edge: they'll become bottom-line table stakes. Enabling swift and secure payments can take a company's commerce experience to the next level and help build a loyal customer base.

But for the payment experience to meet convenience and security expectations, it's essential to engage stakeholders early for planning. Large organizations may have the resources to build payments systems from scratch, but they'll still face challenges that are very different from small companies, which I'll discuss in my next article. end of article

Peter Galvin is chief marketing officer at NMI, www.nmi.com. NMI's mission is to power the next era of payments by constantly innovating to keep ISVs, ISOs, banks and fintechs on the cutting edge of payment processing so they can focus on what they do best. Contact him via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/petergalvin or follow him on Twitter at Pgalvin63.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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