Over the last decade, social media has become one of the most important channels through which customers interact with brands. Social networks are a vital and integral part of the way in which brands and organizations communicate with customers and, in many cases, sell to them. Ecommerce is also no longer something that only happens on websites. More than half of consumers have now made a purchase via a social media channel such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
However, growth in social commerce adoption has ground to a halt in recent years because of consumers’ concerns about safety and security. Brands have not been able to transact a complete sale within a social media environment because they have usually had to push customers through to another channel to take payment – generally a call center or the company website – which results in a fragmented and suboptimal customer experience. Whilst a customer can land on a website and generally complete the whole transaction there and then, this is rarely the case if they are on one of the company’s social channels.
This is a growing challenge for brands because customer expectations of what’s possible via social media have changed over time. Whereas in the early days, digital consumers may have viewed an organization’s social channels more as a broadcast medium, now they have much higher expectations, with social media now one of the dominant channels for the provision of customer service and support. Consumers increasingly view social media as their first port of call when they have a query or need to interact with a brand for any reason.
Clearly most businesses are very aware of the importance of their social media channels and the role that they play in building customer relationships. However, as mentioned, few are able to provide a frictionless customer journey delivered completely within a social network. Customers are forced outside the social channel at the point at which they need to make a payment to complete a purchase. Not only is this a poor experience for the customer but it’s also bad for the brand because it puts barriers between the customer and the purchase, and these barriers will inevitably lead to abandoned sales.
Customers are understandably reluctant to provide their card details via a social network because of concerns about privacy and security -perfectly reasonable concerns, given the history of data breaches on social networks and a relatively slack attitude to individual privacy in particular from Facebook. Consumers will only be willing to make payments via social networks if they’re convinced that their payment card data will be secure and that there’s absolutely no risk of a data breach within the network compromising their data security.
So, what’s the solution?
CardEasy Digital provides a simple, convenient way for businesses to accept payments directly from customers from within a social network or other digital environment with complete security. Using CardEasy Digital also removes the need to redirect customers to the merchant’s website to pay, reducing the risk of them abandoning their card payment and perhaps dropping out of the purchase completely.
Using CardEasy Digital, a customer service agent can generate a single-use secure payment link to be sent to the customer via whatever channel they’re using. The customer then uses this link to open a secure payment page on whatever device they’re on – laptop, phone or tablet – and enters their payment card details. The customer’s card data is securely submitted to the merchant’s payment services provider via CardEasy and the authorisation for the transaction is communicated back to the customer (and the merchant) via CardEasy in real time. The customer’s card details never enter the social network nor are visible within it in any way.
CardEasy Digital offers two modes of operation. The agent can remain connected to the customer (for example via a chat in Facebook Messenger or on WhatsApp) to support them through the transaction process. In this case the agent can see how the customer is progressing through the purchase but is not able to see the payment card number itself. Alternatively, CardEasy Digital has a ‘fire and forget’ mode whereby the agent sends the customer a secure link and then the agent moves onto other tasks without tracking the customer’s progress. Real-time reporting means that the effectiveness of the secure payment links can be tracked, giving visibility of successful and abandoned payments as well as flagging up those that are partially completed and might need further follow up.
The benefits of this approach are numerous. Brands can offer PCI compliant payments across all their social networks and other digital channels. An improved customer experience results in fewer abandoned carts which means more revenue and happier customers. The customer benefits from a seamless purchase process and gains peace of mind from knowing that their card details are completely secure at all times.
For more information about how we can help you enable secure payment via social media please contact us.