The lessons remain as the payments world goes digital

The pandemic-driven rise of online shopping and its hyper-acceptance across all commerce categories has made “fit or die” the calling card for emerging card payment solutions everywhere.

At the same time, it has become imperative for merchants to evolve their transaction-centric fundamentals from the ground up and focus their services and customer experiences on delivering seamless and convenient shopping experiences.

Consumers have been radically impacted by the ongoing digital transformation – including heightened expectations of how things should work in this new world order.

Get it wrong and beware how Ticketmaster found out this week after its failed attempt to navigate the tsunami of consumer demand (amid a reportedly weak economy) in buying Taylor Swift concert tickets.

After the pre-sale launch abruptly halted on November 17 as the online ticketing system was overwhelmed by demand, the company canceled its planned next-day public sale of tickets left over after the pre-sale ended. This made the ticket dealer Public Enemy No. 1.

The company has since issued a formal apology, without admitting blame for any problems, but said it knew what was going to happen and claimed the tour “broke records and a part of our website”.

A digital-only event, the tiered presale was designed to solve what were presumably seen as digital-only problems – namely, avoiding bots and other algorithm-driven, for-profit resellers in favor of genuine fans of the pop star.

Unfortunately, the effort ran into a truly physical problem in the real world. Taylor Swift has millions and millions of true fans. Ticketmaster received 3.5 billion requests, which overloaded its system and led to myriad problems and technical difficulties.

The connected digital economy is leveling the playing field, and the strong outcry from Swift’s fans who were unable to secure tickets they no doubt had been hoping for was due to the expectations inherent in this new environment.

Had fans been forced to physically line up in front of the ticket offices of the stadiums hosting the singer’s tour, as was incredibly common in the past, perhaps the outcry and expectations would have been more muted.

Change happens all at once

As the digital-first commerce landscape evolves, consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated about their online shopping experiences and which merchant platforms they trust to manage their sensitive payment information.

The latest research from PYMNTS in the November issue “How We Pay Digitally: Stored Credentials Edition” shows that most online shoppers (80%) store their payment information digitally at least somewhere, either directly with merchants or in browser keychains and digital ones Wallets still prefer to enter their information manually.

Target groups of all ages and income levels stated that they prefer to store their payment data online. Actively managed and recurring payment requests tend to drive the most stored credentials among consumers surveyed by PYMNTS.

Frequently checked-in and updated accounts, such as those for stocks and cryptocurrencies, have the highest rate of saved credentials, with 79% of consumers taking advantage of a frictionless “remember-me” experience; while 78% of online consumers use stored credentials to manage the recurring payments for their various subscriptions. Similarly, 66% of shoppers surveyed rely on stored credentials to easily and conveniently settle their recurring bills, rather than re-entering their information every month.

Debit and credit cards are the most common types of stored payment information, and they beat stored bank accounts, although stored bank information and direct account payments are more popular for high-volume items like mortgages or rent.

Travel is the only area where a majority (64%) of online shoppers say they enter their payment information manually. This could be caused by deal hunters using various websites or just the infrequent occurrence of these transactions.

As consumers become more sophisticated about their online shopping experiences, online retailers increasingly need to minimize friction at the checkout. Leading retailers use business intelligence from customer data integration to improve the buying process.

Merchants can similarly increase usage of saved credentials by offering loyalty incentives, rebates and more consumer-focused benefits as part of the online shopping experience. PYMNTS research found that one-time discounts can increase consumer usage of stored payment information on merchant sites.

Convenience is the be-all and end-all for today’s digitally native consumer, and retailers and businesses that can eliminate most friction at touchpoints along the customer journey will find themselves at an enviable advantage over the competition by winning repeat spend and promote a deeper loyalty.

As digital transformation sweeps every corner of today’s connected commerce landscape, merchants should focus more on how their payment and checkout solutions can be “tailored for speed” to avoid delivering an experience like it happened to Taylor Swift fans.

How consumers pay online with saved credentials
Convenience is prompting some consumers to store their payment information with merchants, while concerns about security are causing other customers to pause. For How We Pay Digitally: Stored Credentials Edition, a collaboration with Amazon Web Services, PYMNTS surveyed 2,102 US consumers to analyze the consumer dilemma and how merchants can overcome resistance.

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