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Going Beyond Transactions: How Payments Services Can Generate Data-Driven Insights
By Nick Corrigan, President and Managing Director, UK&I, Global Payments
Research has shown that businesses leveraging customer behavioural insights outperform those that aren’t by 25 percent in gross margin and 85 percent in sales growth. These numbers are significant and show that understanding customers through data is becoming a new ‘must’ for businesses to stay ahead in the competition. Despite this, many small and medium enterprises struggle to find the time and resources to collect these insights.
This is where payments companies have a role to play, moving beyond just being seen as a processing function. While it remains fundamental to provide clients with the right services at the right time, payments providers can also share new and unique insights on the spending behaviours of customers. By collecting data each time a transaction is processed, payments services can open up new streams of previously unused information such as:
• How many items are in a customer’s shopping basket; the value of that shopping basket;
• The time of the transaction;
Payments data can be used to inform almost all areas of a business, whether it’s the payment options customers can choose from, managing employee shift patterns, or how products are priced.
• Whether customers are new or returning;
• Postal code heat maps; and
• Competitive benchmarking.
These rich insights into customer spending behaviours give merchants new and important insights, from customer habits to their preferences and expectations.
There are several software packages available that can be integrated into your payment system to help you mine this data. We work with CRM-provider Salesforce because its software securely stores a wide range of different types of customer data in a single customer record. This provides a single source of truth about the customer that is easy to interrogate for information. Using this, you can see graphs, tables, and dashboards that visualise customer behaviour over time and can accurately predict their future behaviour.
Using the insights gained from this information can be game-changing. It enables businesses to refine their strategy and direction, catering to customers more effectively, and responding to their behaviours. Payments data can be used to inform almost all areas of a business, whether it’s the payment options customers can choose from, managing employee shift patterns, or how products are priced. By making data-based decisions, merchants can increase footfall, more effectively manage customers, and get higher customer satisfaction. Combined, these are changes that can drive business’ growth and revenue streams.
We work closely with a craft beer company. When we first teamed up, the company was small but, over time and due to their quality product, vision, and strong customer engagement, they’ve grown into a well-known establishment. The changing nature of their business meant that what they needed from a payments provider was also evolving. Now the company is looking into how payments solutions can provide insight into their distribution strategy, among other areas of enhancement. Distribution in their case is focused on bars, but the key to their vision is that customers have a great experience when visiting them and they’re leaning heavily on payments data to achieve this.
Businesses need effective and reliable payments systems, but the value added on top of this is the real differentiator now.