Whether you like the term ‘omni-channel payments’ or not – indeed whether you even think of distinguishing between payments, the channels you offer to your customers and your overall retail proposition – it appears to have stuck, for now.
But what does it mean? I’d prefer not to get into a huge debate about this here, because it all seems to boil down to a personal point of view. For what it’s worth, I’ve refined my own definition to “any electronic payment, anywhere”.
However, I’ve spent the last 18 months looking at all the options in the market, distilling page after page of marketing information and product information down to the point where I’ve reached a conclusion: Omni-channel payments don’t exist.
I didn’t imagine when I started my voyage that I would be searching for Atlantis, but that’s the journey I find myself on – and I haven’t found it yet.
Yes, you can have solutions cross online and in-store . Yes, there are solutions which work in any country. But they all have their failings, and I was surprised at just how obvious some of these are; for example, why would I not be able to get the same token returned when a customer used the same card through different channels? What use is that? Similarly, global acceptance does not mean the same thing as support for Visa and MasterCard… there are other cards out there.
I’ve now reached a point in my journey – a nautical crossroads you might say – where I have to make some decisions. The easy option would be to make a U-turn and forget about having to support and integrate tens of different systems to get what I want. Alternatively, I could continue my search in the vain hope that I have missed the prize somewhere along the way, or simply not stumbled upon the solution provider out there who can give me all I need. Or I can think of a way to build it myself.
Before I decide, I thought I would make a plea: If you have stumbled upon a solution which demonstrably delivers omni-channel payments then please share it with me. If you provide such as solution then don’t be shy. I hate doing U-turns and I’m loath to try and build this myself.
 PayPal integration in store and online is integrated into the BT Expedite & Fresca solution through iStore and Fresca Commerce.
 A token is an alternative reference for a card number as part of a transaction, as provided by a tokenisation solution, used predominantly for online payment processing and recurring payments but increasingly more valuable in all electronic payments for retailers in their endeavour to keep track of customers whilst simplifying their PCI DSS.
By Kevin Burns, Head of Payments & PCI, BT Expedite & Fresca