Due to the situation with COVID-19, many organizations are opting more quickly for further digitization and optimization of their online sales channel. Due to the forced circumstances, the online proposition is now given more priority on the roadmap and budgets are allocated more quickly. “Everything becomes liquid under pressure”. The proposition is made as scalable as possible to promote online growth and often a new e-commerce platform is necessary for this.
In the past year I have been involved several times in such replatforming projects and the selection / implementation of the associated payment solutions. Below I share some observations.
The payment solution often plays a minor role in the project. This is quite understandable, because most efforts in the project go to the start of the funnel. From generating traffic to the functionalities and customer experience on product pages. Everything from the shopping cart often gets less attention. Payment is often seen as a commodity “we currently have a payment solution as well, and it just works, simple as that.”
Replatforming offers the opportunity to optimize the entire funnel. That includes the last phase, so from the shopping cart. This is the phase where the path to conversion is the shortest, but this is also the phase where a drop-off is the most expensive.
A common statement of a project team is that “the business” should provide their requirements with regard to the payment solution. That is where expectations fall short. For “the business”, online is often just a sales channel, not a core business. How should they be able to identify requirements for more sales or operational improvements if the current payment solution, which has been running for 10 years, allows their customers to pay? The business often has no idea what is possible nowadays, and understandable.
It may therefore be a better idea to take the business owners by the hand and explain what has changed in the world of the checkout processes and payment solutions in those 10 years. Elaborate different use cases on why, and how, a modern checkout process with a modern payment solution will greatly help them convert more.
For example, it could help the migration of existing customers and the associated payment data, promoting customer retention by removing friction in the checkout process and automating reconciliation data to ease the operational process “matching”.
Another area of improvement would be the UX as from the shopping cart which can help enormously to generate more sales. During the client journey, the online payment process starts much earlier than when the client is faced with the payment solution from your PSP.
In short, ensure that the project team offers the knowledge and structure to relieve the business as much as possible so that they can continue to focus on continuing to run the business. Avoid the chance that they will be drawn into the migration process and spend a lot of time on it, but make sure that they agree on the chosen solution and that they agree on the costs. In this way you also realize the necessary buy-in from the business owners for this part of the project and you reduce the chance of pointing a finger afterwards.
It is important that the business owners have the confidence and comfort in the implementation of a greatly improved payment solution that will help them achieve more sales and lower costs.
This term often comes up in migration processes. It stands for Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An indication that this is the minimum deliverable when going live. If MVP is the goal for delivery, you will never realize more than that when you go live. An unexpected hitch and you have to come back to MVP, when it was already defined as the “minimum”. A potential pitfall for underperformance.
MVP can be a useful approach elsewhere in the replatforming project, outside of the payment solution, I cannot make any clear statements about that. However, I am of the opinion that MVP does not make sense with regard to implementation of payment solutions. The new payment solution must be able to contribute directly to more conversion and an improved customer experience. So make sure that all payment methods agreed with the business are available in the checkout, immediately upon go-live.
Modern payment solutions offer the possibility to implement the various payment methods in the checkout in one go. It is better not to make any concessions on that. It is more work to add payment methods case-by-case afterwards and burden the project (and the business) with it. The revenue that you may have missed in the meantime, you will of course never get it back.
After selection of the e-commerce platform, a number of implementation partners are often put forward who can carry out the entire rollout with sufficient knowledge and experience of the chosen platform. Well-known platforms for the corporate market are, for example, SAP Hybris, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware), Intershop, IBM Websphere, Magento or Oracle ATG.
The implementation of the platform is often outsourced to an external implementation partner, or solution partner. These are often larger e-commerce agencies that have successfully replatformed to the chosen platform elsewhere for other clients. The operational role of these parties varies considerably. From a pure implementation partner who mainly carries out what is requested, to a solution partner who relieves the internal organization and proactively advises on solutions.
With the implementation of the e-commerce platform, integration to a payment provider is also necessary. Implementation partners often advise in the payment provider to be chosen. Sometimes on the basis of good experiences in previous cases. This existing knowledge and positive reference can be valuable from best practices. However, realize that these implementation partners are often positioned by payment providers as lead generator or indirect sales channel. So preferably be cautious about this and, most importantly, stay in the lead yourself. Without your knowing, such a construction can otherwise turn out to be quite expensive.
To lower the threshold, many payment providers have already built their pre-integration plugins / cartridges to the various e-commerce platforms. This can make integration of the payment solution a lot easier.
Are you in the middle of a replatforming project or just would like to raise a point, feel free to send me a message and I will get back to you to discuss.