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Omnichannel – when buzzwords grow up


Nicole Olbe, Payment Gateway Sales Director at Barclaycard

Shoppers today expect more. Always on and ready to shop, the average consumer doesn’t wait. Brands need to support as many channels as possible to meet the needs of consumers, while staying consistent across them.

Omnichannel is old news but good news

In a study of 1,000 UK consumers, GI Insight’s report The Omnichannel Imperative found that 71% of consumer journeys begin online and yet just 42% typically buy via the web, while 18% start with a visit to a shop but 31% end up purchasing in store (1). In short, you don’t just get online shoppers or high street shoppers; everyone’s a bit of both. It’s not a novelty to look at sofa measurements on your phone while in-store or search online for a dress before you head to the high street. We all do it and we barely notice, it’s the norm. We do notice when something goes wrong though, and those two channels don’t line up, like when your coupon is in-store only, or that dress you scoped out online can’t be found. Giving consumers choice, control and a consistent experience quite literally pays.

“Giving consumers choice, control and a consistent experience quite literally pays.”

Multi isn’t omni

Your customers want to be able to shop online so you set up an ecommerce platform. You optimise your website for mobile, create an app and add social media to the mix. You already have a store and a helpline, so you’re now omnichannel, right? Unfortunately not. Too often retailers think working across multiple channels is enough, but it’s making them work together that will deliver the experience their customers want.

It’s fun but is it safe?

Where omnichannel goes, customer data follows. That data is hugely valuable and as such, it’s at risk. Consumers understand that risk: in fact 10% of UK consumers are too afraid to shop or bank online due to fears over security (2).

Retailers need to be careful not to put their customers at risk as they look to deliver an omnichannel strategy. No experience is good if your personal data is put at risk. Trust is fundamental to any retailer/consumer relationship and securing your omnichannel strategy is a must.

Keep it seamless

Omnichannel has been around for a while – it’s probably gone past the buzzword stage by now. It’s about bringing everything together: payments, stock, brand and more: consistency is the name of the game. This means common systems across all channels. Whether it’s your CRM or your payment gateway, having a common platform will allow each channel to work in tandem, seamlessly. It may be tempting to retrofit what you have, but that way failure lies. Stitching together systems on the back-end will leave you with a Frankenstein’s monster of an omnichannel experience that is twice as scary for your customers.


Company founded: 1966. It also introduced the UK’s first credit card in that year. It celebrated its 50th birthday in June 2016. Global reach: Barclaycard is a broad international payments business with businesses in the UK, US and Germany. Customers: 30 million customers and retailers around the world. 10,500 transactions are made with Barclaycard every minute of

every day.

For more information about Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance, please visit

telephone 0800 096 8199 or tweet @bcardbusiness


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