As technology continues to redefine the way we conduct financial transactions, understanding the importance of payment partnerships has never been more critical for the success of businesses providing software and solutions to merchants.
Partnership is a fundamental part of providing their customers with cutting-edge technology and easy-to-use systems that support their success. It's a key driver for growth, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency, taking the onus off of the businesses themselves and offering greater choice in terms of solutions.
But payment partnership can sometimes be tricky to navigate, especially in a market that is over-saturated. How do you know that you are getting the most from your partnership? How do you choose a good partner? How can having a strong payment partner benefit your business and help you future-proof?
We talked to our partnership expert, Vicki Burns, to get some answers, delving into the importance of partnership and how payments providers can support the businesses they work with to grow.
What are the current issues are facing partners in the industry?
There are so many payment partners, the choice can be overwhelming for businesses, especially when you don’t know quite what to look for to ensure a good fit and a partnership that will benefit both parties. Not to mention the regulation changes, technological advances, and expectations from the merchants that you can’t avoid if you’re offering payments.
Why should these businesses be looking to their payment providers for solutions?
It’s very important a partner works with a provider that gives not only a current solution, but also has innovation and growth on their roadmap to bring new solutions to market. The payments space and the ways of taking and making payments change so rapidly, and a partner should be looking to their payment provider to share this innovation and help them to utilise the most up-to-date payments tech.
What should payment providers be doing to support their partners?
Payment providers should make the time to understand the specific needs and requirements of their partner but most importantly the end merchant. Payment partnerships should be tailored bespoke to the partner and allow flexibility for them to create a payment solution that fits their product and need. At cashflows, we prioritise having a close relationship with our partners that allows us to understand the nuances of their business and adapt our ways of working to best fit this need.
How can optimising their payments through their providers benefit partners?
Optimising payments can complete their solution. They may have built a brilliant piece of software or website, but if their customers cannot pay them or need to leave that environment to pay, it disrupts the customer journey and flow. It can create revenue for their business, it can help with retention or stickiness of a customer, and it can also add another dimension to their product, service, or business. Consumers now expect to be able to pay how they want, when they want, using all the various payment methods available, so their payment partner needs to allow them to offer that flexible user experience.
What role does payments have in improving the experience of our partners’ customers?
The payment UX can make or break a sale for a partner. If merchants are uncomfortable with the journey, they will leave their basket and go elsewhere. If a partner can offer a flexible payment option – wallet, contactless to £100 limit, APMs, it will drive sales and retention of merchants. There are so many options for merchants now that if an experience is not to a customer's liking, they will leave, so a payments partner should be able to advise on this, with data and insights into payment trends broadly but also more specifically to their partner on their own merchants’ trends, spends and habits. They should be able to offer solutions based on these to best fit their partner.
What should businesses look for when selecting a payment partner?
They should look for a partner that cares, that takes the time to get to know their business, their needs, their merchants, and their aspirations. They should look for a partner that can grow and expand with them. That’s willing and able to support that partner by providing meaningful data, exceptional products and services and be a true business partner.
What do you think the future of payment partnership looks like?
Increasingly, partners will get a greater control over the merchant journey. They will “own” more of the payments journey and benefit from the rich insights and customer data this affords them.
Payment partners will need to think bigger, not just pushing their own services and nothing else, but things like adding open banking options, BNPL functionality, and specific regional APMs, ensuring their partner never loses a sale because their merchant lacks options in ways to pay. If a payment business cannot offer something to their merchant, they should not be afraid to partner themselves to deliver what their customers need.
Payments isn’t just payments anymore, its value-added services, its business support products like Merchant Cash Advance, its data, insights, analytics, and so much more. To be the best payment partner is to listen to your audience and innovate with them!