Commerce enablement has continually evolved throughout history, and that evolution will only continue to accelerate in coming years. In this blog entry, we take a look at some of those milestones throughout the years, as well as what ISVs need to know to ensure their software solution is keeping up with new aspects of commerce enablement technology.
While you’re here, make sure to sign up for our upcoming free webinar The Evolution of Commerce and What’s Next. In the webinar, we’ll cover how ISVs and their merchants can provide an enhanced customer experience that leads to improved customer loyalty, as well as how they can enable their business to drive commerce and increase consumer spend.
Evolution of Commerce Enablement
Financial website Investopedia defines commerce as “the exchange of goods, services, or something of value, between businesses or entities.” The concept of commerce has been around forever, but the methods of enabling commerce have changed throughout time. Here’s a look at a handful of them.
One of the earliest forms of commerce was trading or bartering. People with mutually beneficial needs would make agreements to trade an item of value they owned for another item of value they needed. For example, a farmer who raised dairy cows might agree to trade milk to his neighbor, who raises hens, in exchange for eggs.
The issue with bartering is that the farmer would have to find someone with mutually beneficial needs. If the farmer has milk to trade, but all of his neighbors also raise dairy cows, no one has a need that the farmer can use to his benefit.
This is part of the reason early commerce then shifted to using a specific type of item, such as shells or beads, as currency. This eliminated the obstacle of needing to find someone with mutually beneficial needs, and opened up more flexibility in commerce. Some societies used precious metals such as copper or bronze, eventually taking the form of coins.
Paper currency came into use partially due to long-distance trade. It was easier for long-distance merchants to transport, rather than carrying large amounts of heavier shells or coins.
Checks came into use for similar reasons - their portability and convenience compared to heavier payment methods such as coins. While there is evidence that various forms of checks may have been used in ancient times, use of checks as we know them became widespread in the United States in the early 1900s.
The first credit card in widespread use was the Diners Club card, a small cardboard card that was used to charge travel and entertainment expenses. Businessman Frank McNamara created the Diners’ Club card after forgetting his wallet at a business lunch.
The rise of the Internet enabled a vast new avenue of commerce, known as electronic commerce, or more commonly, eCommerce. eCommerce is defined as “the buying and selling of goods or services via the internet, and the transfer of money and data to complete the sales.”
Examples of larger eCommerce platforms include Amazon and eBay. In addition, various retailers who operate brick-and-mortar stores also now offer online storefronts as well.
Mobile Payments and Contactless Payments
Mobile payments, where consumers use their cellular phone or other smart device to pay, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Types of mobile payments include mobile wallets, mobile payment apps, and text to pay.
Contactless payments, which don’t require physical contact between the payment device and the payment terminal, have seen a spike in use over the past year and a half due to the pandemic. Mobile wallets, contactless payment cards that allow consumers to “tap to pay” or “tap and go,” and card-on-file are just some examples.
The Present and the Future
What does all this mean for ISVs and their commerce enablement goals? Commerce enablement technology is continuously evolving and improving, and ISVs should ensure their software solution includes the following features in order to help their merchants drive commerce and increase consumer spend.
Consumers have preferences for how they conduct transactions - and those preferences can vary. ISVs should provide versatility within their software solution, such as including functionality for all the different ways consumers want to pay - from checks to credit cards to contactless payments.
These days, the customer journey can span multiple touchpoints. For example, a customer might initially see an item on a retailer’s website, but might end up purchasing the item in-store a week later.
ISVs need to provide software solutions that allow their merchants to provide an omnichannel experience to customers. The customer should find a consistent and personalized experience across those touchpoints.
If an ISV is going to provide all these capabilities within their software solution, does that also equal having to deal with multiple vendors? Not necessarily. Global Payments Integrated is a payments partner that can help ISVs provide a robust software solution that includes commerce enablement tools and more.
As you can see, commerce enablement is more than just accepting payments. It’s a journey, and Global Payments Integrated helps ISVs and their merchants engage with customers by creating new interaction points along every step of that journey. We enable you to provide an enhanced customer experience that leads to improved customer loyalty. Don’t forget to register for our free webinar to learn how we can help enable your business to drive commerce and increase consumer spend.