Consumers are becoming spoilt for choice as the digitisation movement is providing ever more options for purchasing digital goods and services. As smartphone penetration in South Africa reached 91% in recent years, the consumer expectation for an omni-channel experience has been on a rapid trajectory. 

The importance of a multi-channel digital goods and services marketplace cannot be overstated. Offering a choice of channels to your consumers for the purchasing of VAS products will provide expanded access to your services, improve user experience, and drive customer loyalty. As much as consumers now demand a mature portfolio of VAS products from banks and retailers, they expect to be able to purchase these products easily through various channels depending on their daily routine or lifestyle.

One consumer may find it more convenient to pay their electricity bill online at the end of the month while paying other accounts, but then purchase prepaid airtime at the till point while doing their weekly groceries. Just as we are aware that consumers purchase a number of digital goods and services, it is also becoming the norm for them to make use of a variety of purchasing channels.

As new channels become available, and leading businesses are upping their omni-channel game, it is crucial to ensure your technology partner is empowering you to offer the best possible purchasing experience and offering. The challenge does not only lie with new channels emerging, but also when existing channels are no longer available. While Google still only allows gambling apps in certain countries, they have recently started banning South African gambling apps in their Play Store. This means most of the leading banks with iThuba integrations can now no longer offer LOTTO through their banking app and consumers will have to be redirected to alternative channels.

When it comes to the technology behind an omni-channel service, choosing the right partner will play a big role in your digital goods and services portfolio’s success. Consider the following questions to determine if your VAS technology partner is bringing enough to your business:

Is it the same API across all channels?

Providing an omni-channel offering is complex, and standardised APIs simplify the process so that it does not matter what channel is being connected to – any transaction can be processed. This means that every channel connects to the payments platform in the same way, and you can then focus on other challenges that are unique to each channel, rather than the basic message flows. In addition to simplifying the process, a single API across all the channels saves you valuable time because separate integrations do not need to be implemented.

Does the API remove the complexity of orchestration?

Your digital marketplace platform should come with an API that will make transaction processing easier for you and your business. Simplifying orchestration means that your channel only needs to send the transaction request to the payments switch, and the rest is done for you. Your team does not have to worry about which provider to go to for a specific digital goods or service, the routing of the transaction, processing reversals, or the handling of failovers.

Where can value be added?

A solution that offers more than basic aggregations will add value to your operations. Added monitoring tools can give you a view into your system’s health along with the functionality to check traces, transaction speeds or volumes, and the percentage of transaction successes or failures. This enables powerful, easy troubleshooting – saving your team valuable time.

Can you offer an always-on service?

A reliable service with no downtime goes hand-in-hand with an effective omni-channel offering and a great customer experience. A solution with functionality such as automatic failover will make sure that customers can always purchase digital goods and services when they want to, how they want to, and will prevent abandoned carts at checkout due to offline systems.

How efficient are your finance processes?

With the offering of multiple purchase channels and various provider options comes increased complexity when it comes to reconciliation and settlement of VAS transactions and provider fees. A solution that offers easy management of financial obligations will help your finance team be as efficient as possible, leading to a successful omni-channel digital goods and services business.

Electrum’s Digital Goods and Services solution can process any payment type, no matter which channel, for a varied bouquet of VAS products. With our standard API and BackOffice tools, we remove all transaction complexity for you, provide effective troubleshooting, and offer the best omni-channel experience for your customers.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you build the best omni-channel solution for your business.

Helen Whelan

Helen Whelan

Helen Whelan is a Content Writer at Electrum. With a Bsc (Hons) from Rhodes University, she enjoys the combination of creativity and technical topics that content creation at Electrum involves. Cats and coffee fuel her day.