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Survey reveals missing critical steps in omnichannel payments

With digital channels and social shopping on the rise, greater awareness for security and privacy measures for omnichannel payments is vital for improving consumer confidence

BOSTON, MA and GUILDFORD, UK – May 13, 2021 – Semafone®, the leading provider of data security and compliance solutions for call and contact centers, today released data from its Omnichannel Payments Consumer Trust survey. The research reveals that while ecommerce and social shopping are on the rise, consumer confidence in the privacy and security of omnichannel payments is low. This negative sentiment is creating a call to action for brands to address payment security and increase awareness of the measures being taken to keep personally identifiable information (PII) safe and secure.

The survey of 1,000 consumers in North America highlights generational divides and customer concern for personal privacy and security when providing payment details across channels including social media, text/SMS, chat and phone calls. Key findings include:

Social Media isn’t Winning over Wallets

As shoppers have increased their screen time, platforms like Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest have invested in social shopping capabilities. While social platforms may be aiding in product discovery and the shopping process, they are falling short on closing the deal.

  • The data reveals that U.S. consumers are not as confident in social purchasing as trends may suggest, with only 13% using social media to complete a purchase, and only 5% saying it is the preferred method to complete a purchase of goods or services.
  • More than half (56%) of consumers surveyed stated they would not want to give payment details over social media platforms, signaling to brands that payment security across all channels is a critical element to omnichannel success.
  • Nearly 80% of consumers 65 years and up said they would absolutely not give any payment details over a social media platform.
  • While younger generations expressed more comfort in social shopping, there is still a great amount of reluctance as only 11% of those aged 25-34 stated that they regularly provide payment details over social channels.

“In the rush to digitize, many brands neglected to devote time and resources to educating their customer base on privacy and security measures put into place on new payment channels,” said Gary E. Barnett, CEO of Semafone. “As we continue to see growth in social shopping, brands and social platforms alike need to place greater emphasis on awareness campaigns to instill consumer confidence in making payment transactions within the channels they browse in.”

Staying and paying in the comfort zone

Despite the growth in ecommerce and social shopping in the past year, data revealed that consumers remain wary of many omnichannel payment methods. The survey identifies that familiarity continues to have an impact on consumer trust as a majority of respondents felt more secure when shopping at well-known brands this past year.

  • Despite lockdown orders, in-store was still the preferred channel for consumers. More than a quarter (27%) of consumers felt most secure when completing in-store payments at big box retailers such as Walmart and Target, followed closely by online marketplaces like Amazon (21%).
  • Unsurprisingly, younger generations are more likely to turn to online marketplaces, including Amazon, Etsy and eBay, for upcoming shopping needs. Of those ranging 18–34-years-old, 47% plan to shop with online marketplaces for upcoming seasonal celebrations including graduation and Father’s Day.
  • Generational differences are clear when it comes to online marketplaces versus in-store, and the older shoppers prefer to be in-store. Only 22% of those 55 years and up said they will shop with online marketplaces – compared to 43% in this age group who said they are planning to shop in-store for gifting needs.

Barnett continues, “The mix between omnichannel and in-store shopping will become more balanced as consumers continue to shop online, but the security and comfort in making purchases over those channels needs to be addressed. Brands need to educate customers on the steps they have taken to ensure consumer privacy and security measures within their overall marketing and awareness strategies as it is a critical component of retaining and attracting customers.”

Customers aren’t eager to share payment details over the phone

Over the past year, phones have remained a source of engagement, but they have also become one of the main ways to interact with brands and businesses. Despite the reliance on communicating through devices, there is a consensus of hesitation around verbally providing payment details to an agent over the phone; further exacerbated by the understanding that customer care agents are likely working from home and not in physical offices.

  • 40% of consumers agreed that the increase in customer care agents working from home has impacted their trust in the security of their personal payment information.
  • Data reveals that younger consumers are relying on the phone more to complete transactions – a third (30%) of those ages 18–24 said they have read payment details over the phone if it’s a business they know and trust. However, they are also the most concerned for security, with 50% stating their trust has been impacted with the increase of remote agents.
  • Despite the older generations being less concerned about remote agents, only 3.5% of those aged 55 and up said they regularly share payment details over the phone.
  • Consumers spanning generations are also wary of purchasing and paying via text or SMS. Less than 10% of U.S. consumers purchased something on this channel in the past year.
  • Even fewer consumers feel comfortable making a payment via a chatbot, with only 8% of all respondents stating that they have made a payment over live chat or a chatbot in the past year.

Barnett concludes, “Cementing new transaction methods with customers is an ongoing challenge. The phone has become a lifeline of sorts in the past year, but when using it to share PII or financial information, there is a fear to overcome. Fortunately, there are solutions that not only provide the high-level of security needed today and ensure compliance with PCI DSS and other regulations, but they also create a superior customer experience. To ultimately succeed, businesses need to utilize these solutions and increase awareness within their customer bases of the measures being taken to protect their security and privacy, so customers feel completely confident in their interactions.”

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Semafone commissioned research with Dynata in April 2021 among 1,000 consumers in North America via online collection.