However, more choices have led to more fragmentation. For consumers, the payment experience is actually not becoming simpler or more streamlined.
"No one outside the payments industry thinks about the payment experience.”
Today, consumers have more choice than ever before to pay digitally because the purchasing experience can be one of many permutations and combinations – of ‘when’, and of ‘how’ to pay. Will it be face-to-face, offline to online, within applications or across platforms, done with a tap, dip, swipe, click or scan?
Instead of converging towards a singular experience – which many users would prefer – purchase experiences will continue to diversify across platforms, form factors and sources of funds.
Experience comes second
Let’s not forget: no one outside the payments industry thinks about the payment experience. Buyers think about what they want to buy and where they can obtain it. Sellers think about how to best reach their target audience and maximise sales.
The payment industry, maybe in a self-serving way, used to believe the payment experience would drive where consumers shop. In reality, it’s actually the reverse: consumers will choose where they want to shop and pay using whatever payment mode is available.
People will put up with a less than optimal user experience if it results in them getting the goods and services they want. The payment experience is secondary. In the vast majority of cases, payments does not drive consumer behaviour.
When people have an abundance of choice, they will move from option to option depending on the availability of the goods and services they want, as well as their relationship with the merchant or seller. In this respect, people end up having multiple applications to serve the same need.
For example, for food delivery in Australia, consumers might have Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats all downloaded onto their phone. These apps provide an array of food choices and consumers will go with the app that delivers from the restaurant they want, the app with the best incentives or the app with the brand they like best. The decision is not based on what the payment experience is like.
Ubiquity key to relevance
So because the payment experience isn’t the driver of consumer behaviour, it instead has to be ubiquitous. Regardless of the channel (online, in-app, face to face) or mode (tap, click, swipe) of purchase, the payments ecosystem must be able to support transactions wherever they occur, in the growing range of fragmented channels. This fragmentation means the one size fits all approach has changed - and it’s changed the ecosystem dynamics.