Interview with Costas Mantratzis, Viva Wallet, on creating efficient omnichannel customer experiences

Tuesday 15 January 2019 09:46 CET | Interview

Costas Mantratzis, Chief Product and Innovation Architect at Viva Wallet, explains how to create efficient omnichannel customer experiences

Considering that the omnichannel customer experience is at the heart of present and future strategies for many merchants, what do you believe are the key pillars of a successful omnichannel strategy?

First and foremost, one should prioritise establishing an engagement with the customer at every level and prepare to take in and qualify feedback. The next goal is to align with the customers’ preferences and only communicate back information that is relevant.

Any after-sale communication and support should reaffirm the customer’s trust in your product and enhance the positive experience of using it. Address the customer’s concerns and do so fast. Dont let things escalate and get out of hand.

Your various departments should be working simultaneously towards a 360-degree message with up to date product information across all channels. When a customer learns something about your product online, then goes to the physical store and tries to purchase it, the information should be one and the same, avoiding repetition without actually measuring the impact it generates and sharing that data across all departments.

The next pillar concerns the way in which you can gain the customers’ trust. You can do this by swiftly dealing with customer queries in the purchase research stage. Oftentimes customers spend a considerable amount of time in trying to research a product. They might have questions and being able to address them upfront generates an enormous amount of confidence.

In addition, you have to think about how to personalise your message. On one hand, personalisation can make all the difference in purchase decisions but at the same time it is very time consuming if you start focusing on individual cases. Therefore, if you can introduce any degree of automation in the communication process it will help you achieve a greater degree of personalisation much easier. Once you have the customer information in a robust database, you need to qualify it, store and categorise it and feed that information back to your own channel departments. Try to use that data to make the customer feel special. Leverage the insights that you gather to start segmenting your customer base and then engage in a conversation in a way that is meaningful to that particular target group. It is important to adapt your segmentation dynamically and to be prepared to do so across the board, ensuring that your departments are all in sync across all channels.

Another key pillar is the integration of your shopping experience processes. The consumer expects that the items/services theyre trying to purchase will be available in the most cost-effective manner, regardless of what channel they are buying from and how they engage with it.

What are the top three challenges for merchants when it comes to enhancing their omnichannel strategy? What is the most difficult thing to implement?

Omnichannel involves looking at multiple channels at the same time and ensuring consistency. One of the challenges I believe is paramount is maintaining a single view of the customer. Your payment page must be fully integrated across the board to help quantify seamlessly the customer’s purchasing trends and the communication responsiveness metrics that you are receiving in order to turn insights into a frictionless journey.

There is no doubt that an integrated omnichannel marketing strategy raises expectations for a sales boost. However, you should bear in mind that just putting the omnichannel customer experience in place alone is only half the job. The next step is to have the capability to accurately optimise your marketing strategy and your budget based on complete insight into your marketing performance.

You should assess your landing pages, your products/services and the influencing potential on a customers purchasing decision. Trust and loyalty are also paramount; even if you get your message across all channels and you are dealing with customer queries in the research stage swiftly, you must then deliver on your promises and address customer concerns as they arise.

Omnichannel commerce is supposed to bring together the digital and physical retail experience. Can you provide us with some examples on how these two channels merge? 

If you are running a brick and mortar store, for example, you have staff interacting with customers, give the salespersons a way to gather data, a tablet/phone or a means of collecting information. Repackage your online content for a face-to-face product guidance. Even if the message is more or less the same, make it easier for your staff to approach and educate customers.

You can use the same device to complete the purchase or gather more data about the customers and get back to them with some information if they have asked questions that you could not answer on the spot or if they made an interesting suggestion. Use these simple tools to collect data and engage with the customer in a similar way that you would do online. This way, if one of the products is out of stock, you can order it online and have it delivered to the customer’s door.

How does Viva Wallet help in creating solutions that make the shopping experience strong, engaging, and seamless across multiple channels?

We began as software developers with a great involvement in the payments industry. We developed a high level of understanding of the payments cycle at every level of a business. This really enables us to take existing industry standard paradigms and think of new use case scenarios in retail and commerce irrespective of specific requirements (however niche or even mundane) and without having to stick to the trivial or be limited down by lack of technical knowledge.

We are fully integrated with all of the major payment schemes and we have built our entire infrastructure in the cloud. We can leverage a deep integration with every system in the retail process, equally catering to the needs of any retailer whether they operate within the gig economy, they are micro merchants or they manage a large chain of retail stores across different countries. We can cater to any scenario and provide solutions that take retailers from showcasing their products within a retail space (whether physical or virtual) to helping their customers complete purchases both online or within a physical space.

About Costas Mantratzis

Costas is Chief Product & Innovation Architect and an experienced technologist and software innovator with key contributions in the conceptual design, execution and maturing of B2B solutions for large enterprises in a diverse range of operations, especially in the financial services and content delivery IT arena. He is the chief product and innovation architect at Viva Wallet, the first fully cloud based Digital Payments Factory in Europe.

About Viva Wallet

Viva Wallet is a global, cloud-based digital payments factory providing innovative and reliable acquiring and issuing services to professionals and businesses of any size, based on their individual needs. The company was founded in 2010 and has presence in the UK, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Viva Wallet is a licensed e-money institution and Principal Member of MasterCard and Visa for issuing and acquiring and a partner to leading global companies, such as Microsoft, Alipay, and PAX.

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Keywords: Costas Mantratzis, Viva Wallet, omnichannel, omnichannel retail experience, loyalty, payment scheme, merchant, omnichannel strategy, ecommerce, innovation, personalisation
Countries: World