Merchants are pulling every lever to generate additional revenue within an increasingly competitive landscape. While numerous offerings promise equally innumerable benefits, there’s a hidden goldmine that can ensure the growth merchants are looking for: their payments data in real-time.
Real-time payment data already exists for merchant acquirers and payment processors – these companies use it internally. More importantly, they view it as a competitive advantage key to their future success.
Fiserv, for example, is making a concerted effort in strategy and investment to go “…further into real-time data, analytics, and sharing.” The value of this data is clear, and for merchants, it is one lever that will transform their business.
Transform your business with data at your finger tips
Leveraging payment data can generate transformative results for merchants as it is one of the most effective ways to create a better customer experience. Whether a customer makes a debit or card transaction in a gas station, department store or restaurant, they expect their payment to be processed quickly, and without glitches.
But what the customer doesn’t know is that from the moment they insert or tap their card to make a payment, it goes through multiple steps from payment to acceptance. You know this all happens in seconds, but the process occurring behind the scenes is complex and prone to failure at any point.
Merchants need real-time visibility into their payment systems, because a poorly performing system can lead to payment queues and abandoned purchases – which could impact revenue.
Better business insights with data
Analytics provides a valuable source of information that can answer questions relating to critical business decisions for merchants. By looking at payment analytics, merchants can gain insights into:
- Staffing levels, opening hours and business location. For example, when to add or reduce staff, when to run promotions, do you have the means to support extra traffic
- Is it worth expanding into an adjacent market
- The effects of inflation on your geographical area
Here are three scenarios and potential benefits that explain the power of real-time payment data.
Scenario 1: Promotion tracking
Every business wants to maximize revenue, and most pursue growth through continuous trial and error. For example, a gas station may launch a campaign to boost gasoline sales, offering free windshield washer fluid when consumers fill up their vehicles. Today, the merchant will run the campaign and review the results via their settlement data potentially days later.
The challenge for merchants is that this trial-and-error method requires time when competing in an instant, on-demand environment. But the merchant could analyze the campaign results within seconds/minutes with real-time payment data. Get the data in real-time, and make decisions in real-time.
This level of visibility into the purchases within their store, across stores, or any other demographic allows merchants to analyze and adjust performance to maximize their revenue. With this power, merchants would have an advantage over competitors vying for the same market share, consumers, or even suppliers.
For example, the merchant with access to real-time data can reorder low stock items a day or two ahead of their competitors, keeping their shelves stocked. A considerable advantage considering the current supply chain issues. Real-time payment data provides merchants instant and granular clarity into their business.
Scenario 2: Economic/regional insight
The pandemic rocked the economic landscape in unpredictable ways, including drastic reduction in certain markets with sudden spikes in other markets. As an example, a lunch restaurant that sits across the street from a federal office building has 30% of the pre-pandemic number of customers due to the government office employees remote worker mandate. In contrast, suburban restaurants experience a spike in business due to the virtual office workers spending more time working from home.
By leveraging analytics, merchants including SMB’s can track the regional pockets that are growing for potential relocation. Analytics also affords restaurants the ability to track both economic activity as well as adjacent market segments. As an example, a spike in hospitality sales may lead to new opportunities for a convenience store. Or an increase in ticket prices across the board is a clear indication of inflation hitting my merchant segment and/or my region.
A final example might be to adjust store hours to capture an untapped market opportunity identified by an adjacent market vertical that is experiencing growth in certain hours. With real-time analytics, this information can impower a merchant to make decisions within minutes as compared to weeks/months.
Scenario 3: Operational efficiencies
For larger operations, real-time payment data also enables merchants to optimize their operations. For example, tracking the payment data can ensure an optimal customer experience, identifying issues before they become customer-facing. If there is an issue, the data can help pinpoint if that issue is on the merchant’s end, like a loss of connectivity or on the ISO or processor’s end.
Merchants can know that individuals will have the same seamless, positive experience, regardless of what store they purchase. Consolidating payment data across hundreds or thousands of locations within a single view in real-time is even more potent for the merchant.
For example, with this view, the merchant can home in and troubleshoot issues per store in real-time, establishing a pulse on every store, but in a seamless, manageable method. Or merchants can marry their real-time payments data with economic insights to uncover insights. What are their competitors doing? What factors within regions or locations are impacting operations? The potential is limitless when merchants have access to the payment data in real-time.
Unleash the power of your data
Real-time payment data remains an untapped source of massive value for merchants. But there are also benefits for merchant acquirers and payment processors. Access to this data poses significant value for the merchant, something the acquirer or processor can leverage to generate additional revenue. With payment data currently hidden from merchants, offering access to payment data also creates a competitive advantage over other acquirers or processes.
The value to the merchant is clear. And gaining access to this data will naturally increase their satisfaction with their acquire or processor, thereby improving customer retention. Real-time payment data has transformative power – it only needs to be unleashed.