P is for Payments

A distinctive balance of creative and analytical is one way of describing the 50,000feet brand. That balance is core to the agency’s success and also captures the personality and M.O. of Chris Prescher, 50k Principal and Chief Strategy Officer. Chris is a recognized expert in digital payments and has built the agency’s capabilities in product marketing and service design, and he recently shared his thoughts on building trust through the design of digital commerce experiences with MarTechExec. If you have a few extra minutes, check out the full-length version below:

Brand marketers are realizing how critical the payment experience is to modern marketing strategy. The idea of including Payments as a “5th P” in the marketing mix—as a timely addition to Price, Product, Promotion and Place—is not new. As digital advancements make payments faster, cheaper and more convenient, the buyer journey is being compressed to an instant—from promotion to purchase. As 1:1 marketing technology drives more targeted and relevant offers to consumers, it will be that last fraction of a second when a customer is won or lost, based only on whether the payment experience is good or bad.

Digital forms of payment have become more trusted by consumers; therefore, they are becoming more accepted, integrated and ubiquitous—from in-store and mobile to other connected devices in which consumers can set payments and forget about them. Accordingly, brands are looking to evolve their ability to accept payments that align with a market that continues to move toward faster and less obtrusive ways for consumers to pay for the things they want. From cars making automated gas purchases to refrigerators alerting the grocery store of a low kale supply to paying for coffee with contact lenses, frictionless embedded payments will become essential to the buyer experience. However, the real coming challenge for marketers goes beyond the intelligent expansion of their payment touchpoints to educating consumers about why and how to engage.

As data breaches and ingenious hacks are announced and as innovative and simple identity technology continues to advance, consumers will become increasingly uncertain about whether their information is safe. To win, brands must find new ways to earn customer trust. According to the 2017 Consumer Trust and Mobile Payments Growth study, only two percent of those surveyed feel speed is more important than security when making digital purchases, and two-thirds of online shoppers are concerned about online shopping security.

The cross currents surrounding simplicity, security and safety continue to influence consumer perceptions, with convenience being the primary driver that gets consumers to engage. In order to create an environment that co-mingles convenience and confidence, brand marketers and CMOs must be able to speak to their audiences about their wide range of concerns and design an experience that serves dual purposes—one that secures and excites.

Brands must be prepared to speak to the simplicity of their payment experience across all of their channels and segments of consumers. The behind-the-scenes payments processes are complex, but users do not necessarily want or need to know that. Upfront brand discovery and strategy work, including comprehensive audits, help to develop simplified narratives that are understandable and relatable to consumers without sacrificing the perfect level of detail they are looking for. It is critical for brand marketers to strike that delicate balance.

Brands must be prepared to speak to concerns surrounding security, especially within an environment of hacking, breaches and theft. Consumers want to feel secure at every payment touchpoint, but they don’t want that security to be abrasive or get in the way. To satisfy both needs, brand marketers need to own and build customer journeys that build cues into the experience that reinforce secure transactions without adding clutter. In a world of one-click purchases, calling out security features explicitly at the start and including messaging after purchases are critical to establishing and building trust. Even proactive security messaging in between purchases can mingle with offers to reinforce the trusted brand relationship and convince consumers that their trust continues to be well placed.

Brands must be prepared to speak to the concerns surrounding the safety of their information, their funds, their time and their identity. At 50,000feet, our methodology is rooted in service design that considers each moment of joy, doubt, action and satisfaction to help clients be attentive in their approach to the customer experience. As social platforms increasingly become the channel of choice for customer inquiry and resolution, we have developed our activation practice to accommodate this need.

Payment experiences that are seamlessly integrated into a rapidly advancing IoT environment will continue to be a priority and opportunity, and no industry will go untouched by these innovations. The winners and losers of the digital payments revolution will be determined by their ability to build an environment of trust. The brands that effectively address consumers’ wants and concerns, and then deliver on that, will lead the way.