Transforming the Role of Payments in the Digital Business

Brendan Miller
My mission at Forrester is to help ebusiness executives transform the role of payments from financial utility into an engine for customer engagement, revenue growth and improved customer experience.
A barrage of new innovation and business models are upending how consumers and businesses make and receive payments.  If merchants and businesses do not consider or implement these new innovations they risk losing customers and ultimately relevancy.  
Customer obsessed businesses can turn payments disruption into business advantage.  Success hinges on making technological and organizational shifts that turn the view of payments from customer transactions to an engine for customer growth.  
Businesses must consider the following challenges if they want to turn payments into customer advantage:
  • Embrace mobile and emerging payments
  • Gain more customer relevancy through collected payment data
  • Provide new tailored customer experiences and services based at point of purchase
  • Reduce risk and secure the shopping experience from data compromise and fraud 
  • Leverage payments for operational advantages
My role will be focused on how to make payments more operative and strategic through the lens of “Transforming the Customer Experience,” “Accelerating Your Digital Business,” “Embracing the Mobile Mind shift,” “Turning Data into Customer Insights.”  I look forward to expanding the aperture of these topics and working with you to transform the role of payments in your organization. 

As US Health Plans Shift From Acquisition-Ready To Retention-Ready, It’s Time To Pay Attention To Digital Billing And Payments

Ellen Carney

One word describes the state of US health plan digital strategists at the end of 2013: exhausted! The October 1, 2013 open enrollment milestone for the public exchanges became not an event but an epic saga. Integration failures, wobbly deadlines, and substandard policies that became the walking dead stymied large numbers of potential plan buyers, who either gave up or stood on the sidelines. But through a lot of persistence, 8 million Americans had managed to enroll in the public exchanges by mid-April 2014.

But with the enrollment process behind them, these tired digital strategists can’t rest. It’s time to shift attention from getting customers to keeping them. And not surprisingly, what matters to consumers when it comes to picking health plans is whether their doctors are “in-network”. But other practical aspects of the health insurance experience also matter, like:

  1. Ease of resolving problems. When it comes to handling the nit-natty issues of plan maintenance issues like claims and payments, consumers want easy. That means that health plans have to make it easy for them to view their payment history, get their individual plan bills paid, monitor claims status, and access statements and tax documents online and increasingly through a plan’s mobile site, especially for that critical “young and healthy” segment.  
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India’s eCommerce Woes: Managing Logistics Challenges In India

Vikram Sehgal

Coca-Cola recently announced that it is jumping into the red-hot Indian online retail arena by selling directly to consumers and small businesses, a first for a FMCG (CPG) company in India. While the Indian online retail story is still being written and Forrester is bullish about the long-term prospects for this channel, the immediate challenges need to be managed effectively.

Logistics and fulfillment are the largest challenges of them all in India, with more than half of all online retail sales being done using cash on delivery (COD). While COD is essential in a nascent eCommerce market, it can have a large negative impact on business margins. This is exacerbated in a nascent market where consumers are testing this new medium of ordering goods, as the return rates can be quite high. In India, reportedly, the return rates can vary from 5% to more than 25%, depending on the category, the demographics of the online buyers, and their online tenure (experience with the Internet).

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