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The Future of Payments for Retailers: Innovation, Customer Service

ACI Worldwide has announced the availability of a report by Retail Systems Research (RSR), examining the future of retail payments. The research was sponsored by ACI Worldwide and "highlights the need for retailers to review and upgrade their payment systems, to ensure they can remain innovative and meet changing customer needs."

The research found that retailers are not doing enough to keep pace with consumers' willing and swift adoption of technology. While sixty-nine percent of retailers surveyed indicate that maintaining or improving the customer experience is the main driver of their in-store technology investments, only the most successful merchants are focusing on the payment process as a way to achieve differentiation in the marketplace. They know that waiting for clear customer demand for payment innovations is too late to meet and exceed customer expectations. The payment transaction increasingly represents the 'moment of truth' for a retailer and is where they have a key opportunity to impress customers, and convince them to return as a loyal patron.

"By understanding the strategic nature of their payment systems, retailers can improve the customer experience and potentially drive down their costs," said Nikki Baird from RSR. "Retail today is defined not by how retailers want to sell, but by how consumers want to buy -- and that applies to payments too. This report, and the subsequent webinar we held with ACI Worldwide, highlighted the concerns U.S. retailers have about their current technology. In tough economic climates, retailers face the intense pressure of increased competition for customers and smaller margins. Reluctance to upgrade payment systems places restrictions on a retailer's ability to win the interest of these new consumers."

Ralph Dangelmaier, president, global markets and services at ACI Worldwide, said, "The research from RSR highlights the fact that payment options, and how they are handled, are a strategic component of a retailer's brand identity. We are seeing a trend from organizations in all areas of payments, from retailers through to banks, to make their payment infrastructures more agile. By removing unnecessary resources, streamlining transaction processing, and having one unified solution from incentive to fraud detection, organizations can see real economic benefits."

The RSR report, Closing the Sale with the Connected Consumer: The Future of Retail Payments, is available at http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/1003.

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