Benny Tadele, VP Global Ecommerce, ACI Worldwide
"The ability to quickly adapt to customer needs isn’t just a matter of competition now; it’s a matter of survival."
Headquarters: Florida, USA
Employees: Around 4000
Customers: 80,000+ merchants directly and through PSPs
The past year has driven a huge sales surge for many ecommerce merchants. What’s your view on the impact – and will it last?
The soaring growth in ecommerce sales in 2020 was, of course, largely driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. ACI data analysis showed that global online sales in the general retail sector were up 209% in April, and were still up 81% by November.
Consumers also moved towards a different mix of channels and payment methods. The demand for touchless payments, (using technologies such as QR code payments) ‘buy online pickup in store’ (BOPIS) and ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ options, have all grown beyond expectations in the last year.
Most retailers will have seen a sizeable shift in consumer shopping habits over the last 12 months – habits which are unlikely to backtrack. Consumers have now adapted to their new ways of shopping and appreciate the extra convenience and choice that some of these new journeys can offer.
How is ACI Worldwide helping retailers respond in this new landscape?
Many merchants previously haven’t had the resources or capabilities to make fast changes and respond to demand, which has left them lagging. Seamless digital and omnichannel customer journeys are fast-becoming an expected standard now – and any merchants who can’t deliver the right experience are far more likely to lose out to competitors who can make the grade.
Fraud has also been a growing threat, with a raft of new, unknown customers and many fraudsters taking advantage of the growing use of BOPIS to make and quickly collect orders using stolen credit card numbers. There was also a significant rise this year both in friendly fraud and in fraudulent chargebacks (where transactions made by genuine cardholders are then fraudulently charged back in an attempt to reclaim money and keep the goods).
Our real-time payment solutions allow retailers to securely process online transactions. We offer instant access to hundreds of local and cross-border acquirers, card, mobile and digital payment methods.
Our platform also delivers real-time, multi-layered fraud management capabilities that support conversion while blocking fraud. The solution is highly flexible and can be tailored to the risk profiles of each channel, payment method, customer profile and market, to enable safe domestic and international expansion.
What can retailers do to make sure they are better able to meet demand in the future?
The significant boost in consumer adoption of digital payments and fulfilment services has changed the retail landscape irrevocably and demonstrated how important it is for merchants to be agile.
The need for flexibility and innovation is now critical for retailers in every sector. Merchants need to deliver the right customer experience, cater to evolving customer preferences, expand across borders, reduce risk and keep their cost to serve manageable. This is virtually impossible to do without the right technology and support in place – and merchants can’t afford to be restricted by legacy systems or by ‘locked down’ vendor relationships.
Recent research from ACI and Edgar, Dunn & Co highlighted an interesting trend on this point - that merchants are increasingly moving towards multiple acquirer relationships in order to address some of their key business challenges. In fact, 57% of merchants are already working with multiple acquirers and 40% of the remainder are looking to switch to a multi-acquiring strategy in the next year. Aside from the extra resilience that this approach offers, merchants are also quickly recognising that a multi-acquiring approach can increase speed to innovate, support better access to alternative payment methods and the use of dynamic routing to increase acceptance levels.
This is just one example of how merchants can introduce more flexibility into their payments strategy, to ensure they can meet customer demand. After all, the ability to quickly adapt to customer needs isn’t just a matter of competition now; it’s a matter of survival.
What are the key trends, tools and strategies merchants need to consider for the year ahead?
Forrester forecasts that, this year alone, €1 trillion of EU retail sales will be digitally impacted, as the acceleration towards digital channels and payment methods continues. We expect growth trends such as BOPIS and Buy Now Pay Later options to continue growing, but there will also undoubtedly be significant growth in contextual commerce (purchasing while engaging with social media) and the uptake of subscription payments – both of which have seen significant consumer interest in the last year.
It is fair to expect a change in fraud behaviours too, some of which will come with the growth of emerging channels and some may be driven by other external factors. For instance, we’ve already seen a migration of bot attacks to the mobile channel, which is starting to cause merchants some real headaches.
To make sure they are able to take advantage of revenue opportunities and mitigate risk, it is critical for merchants to have clear visibility and understanding of customer preferences and fraud trends – especially as they evolve. A single payments platform that can bring together customer data from across channels can be invaluable, as can support from an expert partner providing insight on emerging market changes.
Merchants also need the technical capability to introduce innovation quickly, safely and cost-effectively. This requires customisable technology that can be easily tailored in line with customer preferences and risk profiles for each channel and geography.
About ACI Secure eCommerce Solution
ACI Secure eCommerce combines a transaction processing API with powerful fraud prevention technology. This gives you the power to boost conversion rates by supporting your customers’ preferred way to pay.
With support for a wide array of payment methods, devices, currencies and geographies, you can easily reach into new markets and connect to the most relevant acquirers and payment methods.
Because our solution is well-connected, flexible and acquirer-independent, you are free to decide which acquirers, processors and payment methods to work with. This gives you the ability to innovate and offer greater choice and improved service to your customers, while keeping costs under control.
The full survey from ACI and Edgar, Dunn & Co is available now: Multi-acquiring and the Benefits for Merchants