With the boom in eCommerce over the past three years, omnichannel has become incredibly popular in the retail space. As customers grow increasingly used to the convenience, choice, and simplicity of this way of shopping, they have begun expecting the same experience from other industries, including healthcare, financial services such as lending, insurance, and more. As tech continues to evolve cross-industry, ease of use and cross-channel consistency is becoming paramount to growth and conversions in these spaces1.
An omnichannel payment experience means that consumers have multiple channels to make payments with the freedom to decide which channel they want to use2. Most importantly for the businesses, omnichannel offerings should be connected, meaning that all of these channels are consistent in what they offer the customer in terms of payment options and experiences. The simplicity and familiarity of experience, no matter what the customer is purchasing, encourages repeat buying behaviour3. The interconnectedness of omnichannel payments means they should also all feed back into one reporting system and dashboard, allowing for easy access to data, customer information, and transactions, making the management of payments easier.
Insurance is one industry where we can see an increasing shift to more customer-friendly payment systems, offering a greater choice of how to pay. This is particularly crucial post-pandemic as, whilst consumers in 2020 preferred to purchase insurance policies in-person, after the first few weeks of lockdown, 54% switched their preference to digital4. However, whilst there is an increasingly higher demand for digital all-online solutions, insurance is a prime example of an industry that necessitates a full omnichannel approach. This is because customer preferences of how to buy insurance vary completely, depending not only on the typical factors seen across all industries, such as age, but also the on type of insurance. As most providers offer multiple types of insurance, that means catering to a consumer who wants to buy motor insurance online (which up to 1 in 4 choose to do) or renew their policy at the click of a button but buy life insurance in-person5. This concept isn’t new, with the majority of insurance companies offering online access to motor and household insurance, but the concept of uniform and consistent experiences across channels is something that is still missing from most providers’ offerings, with health and life insurance often involving over the phone or online applications6. With over 77% of surveyed consumers preferring digital channels to pay for health insurance, providers that restrict what types of insurance they are offering online may be seriously impacting their ability to attract new customers7. Implementing consistency cross-channel in terms of how policies can be bought and offering a range of payment options would go a long way to increase conversions, providing the options that customers now expect when making a purchase8.
Healthcare is another industry that is increasingly benefitting from an omnichannel approach to payments, with research showing that consumers now expect to be able to pay for healthcare in multiple ways, including mobile payments9. As with most other industries, increasingly, customers do not distinguish healthcare payments as any different from payments they make in other industries, such as eCommerce10. Subsequently, customers now expect the same options, consistency, and seamless tech that can be found from retailers. Over half of healthcare customers prefer to pay invoices through an online payment channel, whether that be pay by link or through an online checkout11. Businesses that operate within the healthcare space, particularly those that have been slower to adopt omnichannel experiences, thus risk missing out, not only in terms of providing their customers with an amazing experience, but also on the benefits omnichannel can provide to the business, such as easier payment collection and easy to use data insights.
Financial services, despite driving the fintech revolution, has also been lagging when it comes to embracing omnichannel across the industry, particularly in sectors such as consumer lending. The key here, is being able to appeal to multiple demographics, and that’s where omnichannel truly shines. Whilst older generations still like to apply for loans in person, believing it to be more secure, millennials are far more likely to apply via an app or website12. A key strategy to expand the customer base for lenders is to provide multiple lending channels so each borrower can enjoy the needed service using their preferred channel. Even for businesses that a solely catering to a younger demographic within the financial services space can benefit from a physical presence that necessitates an omnichannel offering. Multiple surveys show that people trust businesses with physical offices far more than fully digital ones, with a recent Forbes study indicating that 39% of people believe their money to be safer in brick-and-mortar banks13. Even the youngest generation that can currently apply for loans, and the most tech-savvy, Gen Z, are more likely to apply for their first loan offline14. People want to buy how, where, and when suits them, whether that’s at home, with in-person consultation, or a mix of the two, perhaps going in-person and then making the decision and purchasing later on at home. The key is to offer them the choice and convenience.
At Cashflows we believe seamless, omnichannel experiences are a must for every industry. That’s why we offer multiple payment methods for multiple channels that all feed in to one easy-to-use dashboard where, not only can you access all your data, but you can turn payment options on and off and customise your checkouts. Interested? Contact us to find out more.
8 FF News; Insurance Business Magazine