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What does the growing online payments trend mean for the customer experience?

New research findings reveal that UK shoppers are dreaming of a cashless Christmas – well, when it comes to their spending habits that is.

The survey, conducted by EE, found that 80 per cent of shoppers this festive season expect to pay for any transaction using a credit or debit card. Furthermore, a quarter said they would abandon transactions if they couldn’t use their cards.

The research also highlighted the growing popularity contactless payments in the UK, as more than a quarter of shoppers said they preferred using the technology due to its ease of use. In addition, £929.8m was spent in the UK this October (opens in new tab) using a contactless card - an increase of 23 per cent on the previous month and 213 per cent over the year.

Clearly, we are moving towards a world where cash is no longer king. Digital transactions are the future. In fact, earlier this year, the UK Payments Council confirmed that cash volumes are expected to fall by 30 per cent over the next 10 years. A cashless economy is, therefore, inevitable. So what do businesses need to do to accommodate this shift?

Firstly, merchants and financial organisations need to take a hard look at their ability to support electronic payments through the digital supply chain. There is already an increased dependency on digital assets such websites, mobile apps and connected devices across the Internet of Things. And, for the most part, the advancements in cloud, bandwidth and content distribution technology have allowed organisations to handle this in their stride. But, are businesses confident in their digital governance and the performance of the third party technologies on which they have come to depend?

As we take great strides towards a cashless economy, those businesses unprepared to face the rising tide of online activity will face serious difficulties around brand reputation and customer experience. The millennial requires complete authenticity in their uninterrupted relationship with the brands they consume. However, when it comes to online banking, failure will be viewed in absolute terms and customers will walk at the first sign of trouble. Whether making a payment online or browsing a website on a mobile device, customers are demanding a seamless, consistent online experience, regardless of their physical location, time or device. As a result, companies must shift the way they think. They can no longer solely be concerned about how they connect to their customers. They must understand and optimise how their customers connect to them. That new paradigm means business decisions around vendors and technologies are therefore critical differentiators for those organisations to stand out from the competition and deliver complete customer satisfaction.

Any business wanting to provide an exceptional end user experience in the increasingly digital market must ensure a well-executed technology strategy is in place to support the company’s ability to monitor, control and optimise online infrastructure. In this way, they can guarantee that their online solutions will be consistently available, efficient, secure and reliable, even across complex, distributed IT infrastructure deployments. Internet Performance is key. It bolsters the entire digital supply chain ensuring that, regardless of demand, time or physical location, all transactions and updates work properly.

Internet Performance is about meeting customer expectations and demands by delivering fast, scalable, secure and reliable assets via any digital channel. Traffic spikes, websites crashing, slow access to data, even poor rendering: all of these issues hugely impact customer satisfaction, yet are considered to be out of an organisation’s control. They are not. Internet Performance allows you to take control of the full end-to-end experience and allows companies to make the Internet a competitive advantage. And, if they don’t, even though many of these issues occur outside of a company’s own network, the unacceptable results and customer dissatisfaction are inextricably linked to the brand and it must deal with the potential damage to its reputation.

If businesses and merchants do not make Internet Performance a priority, they risk their customer experience and therefore loss of reputation, reliability, trust and customer loyalty. Customers will not hesitate to move their business to another organisation. Never before has it been so important for financial services organisations to monitor and control their cloud providers, CDNs and datacentres as part of their Internet Performance monitoring.

If internet performance is not a priority, banks and merchants risk losing out on reliability, reputation and trust - factors that keep valuable customers returning.

Paul Heywood, Managing Director and VP of EMEA, Dyn (opens in new tab)

Image source: Shutterstock/Devrim PINAR

Paul Heywood
Managing Director and VP of EMEA, Dyn.

As a growth focused business executive, Paul has experience working across Internet infrastructure, SaaS, cloud computing and IT managed service markets. An active angel investor and business mentor, advising organisations on funding, effective go to market strategies, product strategy, international expansion and new market entry.