Views - Beyond Payments

PYMNTS, found that 87.4% of small merchants believe they need to innovate to stay competitive

Merchant Innovation – Bring it On

There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses—Mom & Pop shops—in the U.S. that can benefit from innovative merchant payment solutions. A recent retailer survey we conducted in collaboration PYMNTS, found that 87.4% of small merchants believe they need to innovate to stay competitive.

Sales from physical stores still vastly outnumber those of online companies, but Brick & Mortar merchants still must compete with ecommerce and mobile technologies. Consumers can go online to check for better pricing and availability, and if they are unhappy with an in-store experience they can go elsewhere.

Merchants need to be able to modify their payment infrastructure fluidly as they and consumers discover new ways of doing business and seek to take advantage of new capabilities.

They say, overwhelmingly, that innovation is needed to drive sales and enhance customer loyalty.

What has been holding up innovation until now?

Traditional Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) and street-level merchants have been hampered in fulfilling this need.

Traditional payment terminal vendors were happy to fence out innovation as they protected market share that relied on high-priced, limited function payment devices. ISOs became accustomed to this model and learned to deal with a high level of churn among merchants looking for a better deal on what they perceived as a commodity solution.

Independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs) have been able to develop more innovative solutions but lack the feet-on-the-street needed to convert the huge universe of smaller merchants.

How do we bring innovation to needy merchants?

It’s time to provide the next generation of acquiring services. Leveraging the open systems hardware model, innovative apps can be curated into flexible, cost-effective and well-supported payment solutions and services. This is how merchant payment service providers can deliver tailored, well-supported payment solutions to Main Street.

To succeed, merchant payment service providers must evolve from the traditional single-purpose payment solution, to encompass a robust and flexible point of interaction (POI) that integrates payment with a wide range of consumer-facing apps and services, as well as management of traditional back-office functions such as payroll and inventory.

ISVs can increase their market reach and reduce their integration headaches by building their apps to standards that orchestrate how their software interacts with other apps and enhance merchant processes across multiple sites and devices.

To deliver on merchant needs, apps must be able to seamlessly share data, so that separate processes such as purchase, payment and delivery options appear as one to the consumer. The apps must be intuitive and simple to use, given that small merchants don’t have time to experiment and must often train replacement staff.

Solutions for small merchants must operate out-of-the-box without merchant intervention, but be able to seamlessly accommodate new apps as merchants and consumers demand new features and functions.  

The ISO community is well-positioned to evolve to a new role of tailoring bundled suites of apps and hardware into versatile payment solutions that meet the needs of individual merchants for easy-to-use, innovative tools that help expand their businesses.

Download the full report

Download the full survey report

Posted on