Are your online purchases safe? This is the best thing you can do to stay calm

The last few years have brought a tsunami of adaptations by companies and consumers to catch up in the digital environment.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 March 2023 Friday 23:28
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Are your online purchases safe? This is the best thing you can do to stay calm

The last few years have brought a tsunami of adaptations by companies and consumers to catch up in the digital environment. Nobody is surprised anymore to buy online and pick up in store, pay with the mobile or make a return in an establishment of the same chain, but in another province.

All these options that improve the customer experience require an integrated digital platform that records these movements in real time. A system that allows businesses (or other businesses) to better control their stock, learn about the behavior patterns of their customers and anticipate to gain market share. That is the function of 'unified commerce'.

In its Adyen Retail Report, this global financial technology platform makes no doubt that unified commerce is the inescapable future of retail. “It allows the consumer an omnichannel experience and the business, a coherent experience, that is, it allows them to have all the data at the same time and in real time. And do it in a simple and scalable way”, says Juan José Llorente, Country Manager of Adyen in Spain and Portugal.

Not having this data integrated into a single platform does not prevent the business from offering omnichannel. “But it supposes that when there is a return from online to store, someone has to register it manually. It is a task that takes a couple of minutes, but if you have several at the end of the day it means that someone is going to have to spend a lot of time on these tasks. And it doesn't have to be like that”, points out Llorente.

The 2020 health crisis accelerated the digital transformation. The majority of Spanish retailers surveyed in 2021 claimed to have already addressed the process of implementing unified commerce strategies, going from 22% in 2019 to 44% just two years later.

After the post-pandemic boom, this trend of accelerated growth has cooled. The Adyen Retail 2022 Report reveals that only 7% of companies have their physical and digital channels already unified. To these are added another 34% with a formal strategy and in the process of active digitization, and another 27% in the planning phase. “Retail leads these processes, although somewhat less when it comes to franchises. What we do appreciate is little difference with respect to the pace of integration that we have in other countries. Spanish businesses have quickly understood the possibilities of the omnichannel”, explains Llorente.

Although retail has already taken a run towards unified commerce, other sectors, such as hotels and restaurants, also benefit from these integrated payment platforms. "In a hotel it allows you to book online, check-in at reception or self-check-in via email, check-out online so you don't have to wait, offer upgrades or welcome packages to certain customer profiles...", explains Llorente.

As for the food and beverage sector, knowing better the different customer behaviors based on their means of payment makes it possible to establish customized loyalty strategies and incentives. "A restaurant chain can find out if the same customer has business lunches at one location, but on Thursdays they go out to dinner at another type of establishment, because the ticket is very different," Llorente points out. In these cases, various marketing strategies can be articulated, such as encouraging them to visit other restaurants in the group for their personal dinners, sending discounts...

The data protection law only allows companies to personalize commercial communications with those customers who consent to them in the terms and conditions of loyalty clubs, newsletters... The payment card data, however, always arrives tokenized. “Tokenization is a security system that transforms the 16 digits of the card (primary account number or PAN) into a token, which is a different, unique, irreversible and specific number for that establishment. This is how we maximize security in transactions”, he adds. In other words, if a hacker got hold of that code, he would not be able to extract the digits from the card to use it fraudulently. That token in the hands of cybercriminals is totally useless.

Tokenization also allows companies to store the card data of those customers who authorize it. This reduces the requirements to comply with the PCI DSS, which is nothing more than the anti-fraud security program applied by large operators such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express. What does it mean for the client? The possibility of buying several times in an e-commerce without having to enter your card again. Even that it is renewed automatically in case of expiration.

Approximately 30% of customers authorize this option. Llorente explains that "it allows you, for example, to complete a purchase from your mobile app while you wait for the bus to arrive without having to take out your card on the street and enter all the digits again."

The information of the means of payment, even tokenized, allows businesses to locate their buyers. For Llorente, this provides strategic advantages to combine online and physical store: "If from my e-commerce I see that they buy a lot from Toledo, I may consider opening a store in that city because I see that there is a potential market."

Social networks have ceased to be mere forums to become shop windows where products are displayed for instant sale. “Simply put a link that leads to the payment gateway. This option is relatively new in social networks, but it has been used in the call centers of airlines or shipping companies for 7-8 years. The client needs to make a change or contract a specific service not enabled on the web. From customer service they manage it and send you a link to complete the transaction by choosing the payment method you want. It would be the evolution of when not so long ago they took your card details by phone to make the charge, but now with total security ”, concludes Llorente.

The advantage of this type of transaction is that they take advantage of the moment, the impulse purchase when they see something they really like or an irresistible offer. If, in addition, they offer the possibility of return in case it is not your size or you do not like the color, it is easier for the customer to end up closing the purchase.