What are Omnichannel Payments?

As consumers continue to spend more of their lives online and on mobile devices, the payments industry has responded with more convenient options and seamless experiences that bridge the online and offline worlds. Sellers of all kinds are feeling the pressure to keep up with rising consumer expectations, making omnichannel payments increasingly important across industries. 

The word omnichannel refers to the ability to take payments through multiple channels – whether that is in person through a point-of-sale system, online, or through apps. 

An omnichannel offering goes beyond simply having the ability to take payments in each of these siloed channels, however. Omnichannel payments involve an integrated, consistent experience across touchpoints. 

Omnichannel payments enable consumers to conduct transactions in whatever way suits them best. The way this works may vary depending upon the vertical or industry where the seller is operating. Payment facilitators can help create an omnichannel offering that meets the needs of their unique customers. 

For example, last year Square announced that it was expanding its omnichannel offering by integrating technology from Weebly, an ecommerce platform it had acquired, into its products. 

As part of this announcement, the company said it was offering its new Square Online Store to restaurants, “allowing sellers to offer seamless online ordering from their website, customized pickup times across multiple locations, and the option to easily pay ahead for online orders.”

The announcement also included a redesign of its point-of-sale app Square for Retail to enable retailers to create an online presence that was integrated with their brick-and-mortar store. 

“For the first time, business owners who also want to sell online can easily create a professional website and automatically connect their Square for Retail catalog to their Square Online Store, allowing them to sync their items, inventory, prices, and data instantly across online and offline channels,” the company said.

Healthcare payment facilitator InstaMed told PaymentFacilitator that omnichannel payments are important in healthcare because of the fragmented nature of the existing healthcare payments system. For example, patients might pay a co-pay in person at their provider’s office and then receive a bill from a lab for bloodwork, which they might pay online or by check – and all of these payments might go through different vendors. 

In response, InstaMed is building out its own omnichannel offerings to address all these patient touchpoints. Last year, the company announced it was expanding those offerings with the ability to accept payments securely by phone. 

“Forward-thinking organizations are giving consumers what they want: security and convenience by offering multiple options through omnichannel payments. InstaMed VoIP Protection allows organizations to accept healthcare payments through their call center without card information ever touching their network and without disrupting the consumer experience,” the company said in the release.

As providers that are uniquely attuned to the ways their customers do business, payment facilitators are well positioned to create omnichannel solutions built specifically for their industries.