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By Michael Donoghue

There’s nothing worse than going to purchase a product from an online retailer, only to be greeted at the checkout stage with a slow, complex payment system that takes far too long to process your order – or worse, doesn’t work at all. 
In order to attract new and repeat customers, retailers need to offer fast, seamless transactions at all times.
In fact, nothing leads to a customer abandoning their cart faster than a complex or slow payment experience. 
The vast array of payment options available on the market today means that there are many ways to implement a fast and effective payment system, and in most cases, cloud-native solutions are the best of the bunch. 

What is the cloud, anyway? 

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s figure out exactly what ‘the cloud’ means. In its most fundamental form, cloud computing delivers computing services (servers, storage, software, database and networking) over the internet, which delivers flexible access to compute resources and economies of scale. 
When applied to payment systems, the cloud is used to securely store and process credit card transactions rather than on-premise servers that have limitations in terms of storage and speed capability. This technology offers many benefits for virtually anyone that needs to accept payments, from a data security and data sharing standpoint and improves the customers payment experience 
There are a wide number of reasons that a retailer might want to adopt a cloud-native payment system for their business. Here are just some of the key benefits. 

More flexibility when you need it the most

Cloud-native solutions are able to run without the constraints of traditional point-of-sale payment platforms, providing greater flexibility for both retailer and customer. 
Cloud-native payment systems allow for upgrades far more easily than traditional services and have the advantage of being able to work side-by-side with multiple payment channels, as well as being able to integrate new payment innovations as and when they become available. 
They also can help with record-keeping and improved data-sharing by giving retailers the ability to implement new payment features such as surrogate token-based payments, payment data augmentation or sending notifications directly to a customer’s device via SMS – which is becoming an increasingly common scenario for many modern retailers. 

Say hello to better security 

Security is by far one of the biggest customer concerns when it comes to purchasing online or via call centres. Thankfully, cloud security is much more effective than on premise security with cloud-based systems investing heavily in ensuring robust security standards. My company’s IPSI’s cloud native platform delivers both, secure online digital and telephony call centre payment services to our clients. 
Cloud-based systems are also more likely to be compliant with the stringent security measures required for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliance, which many businesses and sole traders will find difficult to achieve on their own (it is important for business to check the status of any suppliers that store, process or transmit credit card data on their behalf, to ensure they are certified as being PCI DSS security compliant). 

Seamless data integration and greater data capture capability                                                     

Cloud-based payment systems are a great tool for the efficient capture of and access to transaction data; in addition to which advanced services can provide a single view of the customers data via a single interface. 
They also can give you on-demand access to live sales and related data with the ability to access this data remotely via the internet. 

Greater control of the user experience 

Cloud native platforms can provide greater customisation capability and control over the user experience. It enables retailers to make the ‘shift to digital’ and introduce new payment channels, options and methods of payment such as the integration of omni channel tokenisation workflows and digital wallets into website processes.

Greater scalability without the stress

Cloud-based payment systems are easier to scale than physical systems and require less capital expenditure to implement. Data centres manage your payment data and capacity can easily be increased allowing you to leverage more storage when it is required.  This is particularly beneficial to SMEs who don’t often have the capital required to operate a physical payment system, allowing them to enjoy the efficiencies traditionally reserved for big business at a fraction of the price. 

Saving on transaction fees

Transaction fees are a significant cost of doing business for all retailers, advanced cloud-native services can give retailers the option to explore reduced cost processing options such as dynamically switching transaction routes based on the type of transaction.  This provides retailers with a pathway to Least-Cost Routing allowing them to choose how a transaction is processed based on the type of card used (credit or debit), transaction value or other metadata that is captured from the transaction. Payments should be used to enhance and not hinder the customer experience and by offering multiple ways to pay, fast transactions and easier integration of new technology, implementing a cloud native solution will go a long way to improving your customer’s payment journey, cash flow and sales success. 

About the author: Michael Donoghue (pictured above), is the founder of payment fintech company IPSI. IPSI offers best-of-breed secure payment technology services to some of Australia’s largest brands and ASX companies. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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