Three Emerging Trends Defining Multichannel Commerce

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Gone are the simpler times of retailing and paying for purchases. Ready or not, it’s now a post-pandemic multichannel world, and businesses either have the systems to compete, or they don’t.

PYMNTS’ August Mastering Multichannel Commerce Playbook: The New Retail Reality, done in collaboration with Citi, looks at trends arising from the 2020 disruptions, and offers instructive insights on the new realities of commerce as expressed in three emerging channel trends: direct-to-consumer (D2C), subscription and digital business-to-business (B2B) commerce platforms.

“Companies that leverage these trends could forge more direct and durable relationships with their suppliers, clients and customers as well as optimize their own digital payments operations. Yet expanding into new digital commerce channels also poses strategic and technical challenges,” the Playbook states.

Noting, “New payment flows must be integrated into existing enterprise and banking systems, and companies must be capable of processing and reconciling payments from a variety of digital sources while also protecting against fraud,” the August Playbook offers an immersion in the innovation that’s connecting an emerging new multichannel payments landscape.

Treasury’s New Role

The pandemic is hastening the ubiquity of digital payments, and companies are having to adapt and adopt digital solutions offering both speed and scale. That’s reshaping treasury.

“The evolution of the payments landscape, including the move from batch to real-time payments and the rise of alternative payment methods, has caused many organizations to evolve their treasury processes,” Anupam Sinha, global head of domestic payments and receivables in treasury and trade solutions at Citi, told PYMNTS.

Sinha added, “Finance and treasury [departments] can play strategic roles in developing eCommerce and digital payables and receivables strategies, [acting] as key advisers to business partners by working [with them] to implement banking solutions that facilitate growth while mitigating risk. These banking solutions can include innovative and cost-effective payment methods like instant payments and features like tokenization, which can increase payments security while also increasing convenience.”

As DTC and other forms of eCommerce seek their levels in the post-COVID economy, the ability to facilitate secure payments that align with consumer preference will be crucial.

B2B Embracing Subscription Models

B2B payments are getting more attention as the result of global changes, and that’s a good thing, as B2B payments are widely seen as still mired in a paper past.

“It is estimated that the volume of B2B business transacted on eCommerce channels will grow to $1.8 trillion by 2023 and make up 17 percent of all B2B sales. Marketplaces like Amazon Business and Alibaba are driving this shift. Firms are also opening up their own eCommerce platforms, allowing business customers to search and purchase goods through web and mobile sites,” according to Mastering Multichannel Commerce Playbook: The New Retail Reality.

More B2B firms will shift to subscription models in the coming months as recurring revenue replaced one-and-done sales. This has ramifications for the entire organization.

The August Playbook notes, “The [B2B subscription] trend is especially pronounced in the business software space, fueled by the move toward software as a service (SaaS). One study estimated that 80 percent of incumbent software vendors offer subscription-based services. These trends also feature in the back office, where innovations like virtual cards and ePayables have the potential to supplant cumbersome and costly paper-based invoicing processes.”

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