As Valentine’s Day approaches, online retailers are forming strategies to make consumers fall in love with them. For beaus and brands alike, thoughtfulness is always a winning tactic that encourages loyalty and longevity and, for ecommerce merchants striving to maintain a competitive edge this February 14th intelligence will be a key contributor to their success.
Big data is a buzzword that is often mentioned, but merchants who effectively leverage the data generated by their online operations, analyze it and utilize it to cater to customer preferences will ultimately find their conversions increasing. It is clear to online retailers that data-driven intelligence will ultimately enable them to understand and fulfill customer needs in more individualized and sophisticated ways, without expending excessive effort, expense and resources.
Here are ways for driving success on Valentine’s Day and beyond with the help of your checkout and payments data.
The Love Story: Understanding the Customer Path to Purchase
The cornerstone of every relationship is to understand and answer each other’s needs. These are also the objectives behind most data-driven technologies. Online retailers use these technologies to discover what customers need by identifying where customers are wavering or abandoning the path to purchase, and, conversely, those elements which most encourage customer conversions.
Getting to Know Your Customer
Data transparency and intelligence technology enables merchants to identify the most successful factors of their websites, offerings, and checkouts and utilize this data to boost conversions. The days leading up to Valentine’s Day are a great opportunity for evaluating the impact of particular calls to action, payments flows and other factors, in order to optimize Valentine’s Day shopping customer experiences, encourage more sales and bolster future efforts.
Overcoming Obstacles in Your Relationship
By the same token, better data resources can help merchants identify challenges in their customer relationships and resolve conflicts that lead to abandonment. For example, the merchant might analyze the customer journey on its website and discover that customers are abandoning their carts when they reach the checkout process. This could be a hint that the checkout process is too long or complicated, and should be simplified. Data can help illuminate simple factors that can be easily resolved to smooth the path to purchase and encourage long-term loyalty.
Leave Your Customers Wanting More
Enterprising merchants are always strategizing about how to keep their customers coming back, and the easiest way is to simplify return purchasing. Recognizing return visitors is contingent on the retailer’s ability to securely store payment data and meet PCI (payment card industry) compliance standards for retaining and recalling customer transaction details. One technology called “tokenization” enables merchants to leverage past payment details in order to streamline future ones. Data encrypted in a “token” can be recalled from a “vault” when returning purchasers start checking out and are recognized by the website.
Beyond Love at First Site: Back-end Optimization
While analyzing and optimizing the front-end experience ahead of Valentine’s Day will certainly yield meaningful results, successful relationships often surpass the superficial and utilize deeper insight to drive long-term sustainability. Access to granular payment data is critical for identifying, understanding and correcting back-end inefficiencies that complicate the retailer/customer relationship.
Data-Driven Rules for Maximizing Efficiency
One of the biggest challenges retailers face is declines: when transactions are rejected by payment processors. Rejection is never a good thing when it comes to relationships, and merchants can drive payment acceptance when they have better data visibility and intelligence capabilities. For instance, retailers can utilize data to determine the causes of their declines and automate solutions to correct them. Access to data might reveal to a European company that its local processor is rejecting all Chinese transactions. With this knowledge, the company could then create business logic to identify all Chinese payments and automatically send them to an integrated processor based in Asia in order to increase acceptance rates.
Preventing Fraud with Data Insights
Just as data can help merchants determine why transactions are being declined, it can be used to localize fraud screening for every market. No one provider is optimized to accurately identify fraudulent transactions for every region, but data-driven rules can help businesses pinpoint fraud and prevent false fraud flagging. More intelligent fraud detection technology can apply insights about purchasing behaviors in multiple regions, perceive when returning customers are presenting with anomalous behaviors and compare the analyses of multiple fraud engines to prevent legitimate transactions from being flagged as fraud. All of these intelligence capabilities help refine the fraud prevention process so the customer experience is streamlined and the merchant maximizes its revenues.
Intelligent Transaction Routing to Drive Acceptance
More advanced payment technologies enable merchants to take their data analysis one step further and establish rules governing the route of each payment in real-time based on multiple granular data sets and customizable business logic. Intelligent transaction routing enables merchants to automatically process data from multiple payment and technology providers and route transactions in a way that eliminates inefficiencies that drive up processing costs. By routing payments between multiple providers in different locations, for example, merchants can ensure that every transaction is processed as a local transaction. This would mean paying local processing fees and optimizing transaction acceptance through fully automated logic.
Big Data: What You Need to Know to be Together Forever
Data visibility and advanced payment solutions are enabling online and mobile retailers to optimize their relationships with their customers and increase their revenues in every location. As you look ahead to Valentine’s Day, consider how you can best leverage your customer payments data leading up to and following the shopping holiday.
Perhaps by next February 14th predictive analytics and machine learning technology will have advanced significantly and your payment technology will be able to anticipate on its own how best to prepare for Valentine’s Day and cater to customer preferences.
Oren Levy is CEO at Zooz