As we approach a new decade, e-commerce is barreling full steam ahead, showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in the U.S., a record $9.4 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday — a 20% increase from the previous year (and the biggest U.S. online shopping day of all-time). As card-not-present transactions continue to contribute to the top line of growing businesses, it’s important to remember how much bigger that contribution could be when payments are brought into the forefront.

As the number of transactions increase, providing a great customer experience while accepting payments becomes more critical than ever. And while there are many ways to do both of these, one often overlooked area for improvement is in the payments flow.

Once you realize this, and build out your payments stack, you’ll need a way to make sure everything works together seamlessly — and more importantly, without any disruptions to the customer experience. In a split second, your systems likely need to check a payment for fraud, then authorize it, complete it, then notify the consumer of a successful payment in some way. And sometimes even more, like retaining the card on file for future purchases. All of this activity can and should occur at your payments orchestration layer.

What is Payment Orchestration?

Payment orchestration is essentially making all of the pieces of your payments technology stack work better together. This could be accomplished by your team’s own in-house tooling, or with an agnostic third party solution.

What is there to orchestrate, exactly? Isn’t taking payments online easier than ever?

On the surface, accepting a card not present payment is quick and easy. And even if you’re not a developer, there are ways to get up and running to take payments in no time. Once you’re set up, a customer enters their card info, and a few seconds later everything is done and a successful purchase is made (in most cases).

Simplifying the complex

However, there are a lot of things happening beneath the surface of taking a payment that can impact this single transaction. Things such as your gateway’s status, a consumer's card being flagged for suspected fraud, regulatory requirements, and more.

Plus, if you’re taking recurring payments - the overall status of the card (active or expired) can make our break your churn numbers. Once your business starts to grow, all of those little things can start to add up and influence your success and decline rates.

In the past, e-commerce leaders were able to integrate to a single gateway as they began their businesses - growing to more than one only when necessary for geographic purposes. However the data shows working with one solution may not be best as those same leaders are looking to reduce declines, improve latency, and maximize gateway availability.

Meeting consumer expectations

Modern card payment systems rose to prominence in the 1980s. Yet, the software behind them hasn’t changed as quickly as other parts of our consumer experience. They’ve been modified over time to meet the ever changing digital economy but in some cases, we’ve only really digitized legacy technology.

However, as more payments move online, there are modern solutions to age-old problems (and solutions for new problems too).

Payment orchestration solves for this, because you and your team can deploy best-in-class solutions for every end of the your payments flow. For example: one integration and one dashboard that handles connections to multiple payment gateways, third-party payment services, and fraud tools, then aggregates your payments data into a single view. That’s essential if you handle online transactions from all over the world.

So, instead of forcing yourself to use dated technology, integrate to an agnostic tool to stay ahead of the curve.

How Payment Orchestration Can Help Your Business

No matter your company size, transaction volume, or product offering - payment orchestration is necessary for any payments team as a core strategy.  Beyond the perceived value of a better checkout experience, there are tangible business benefits as well.

Recovering Lost Sales

Do you know how much business you lose to declined transactions? If you don’t, this is a good starting point when considering your strategy. Several tools offer dashboards that display your decline rate, as well as a basis to improve on.

You’ve invested time and money to acquire consumers' attention - ensuring a successful transaction is key to keeping that attention (and ensuring return purchases). If you’re a subscription business, there’s also the average customer lifetime value to consider. That can be completely wiped out if a card transaction is declined.

Plus, payment orchestration allows consumers to pay in their preferred currency - since you can manage multiple currencies via many gateways in a single addition to your stack.

Managing Risk

Anytime you accept card not present payments, fraud should be top of mind. Enabling fraud reduction and risk management in real time is a key part of a proper payments strategy. When you’re using an agnostic solution for your payments orchestration layer, integrating with a fraud prevention and detection tool can greatly improve the chance for the rest of the transaction flow to go as expected.

As EMV chip-enabled cards have seen greater saturation into the market over the past few years, fraud is on the decline for card-present payments. Unfortunately, that means the fraud is increasing for card not present payments. There are several digital fraud prevention and detection tools that you could easily add to your flow.

a chart showing the rise in card not present losses
CNP fraud losses are expected to continue climbing [via creditcards.com]

Payment Orchestration Enables Better Business Outcomes

Payments orchestration has become more necessary as the card not present ecosystem becomes more complex. Adding a technical layer to manage all parts of the flow can help you improve your business in an unexpected way.

Although payments have sometimes been seen as cost centers, orchestration can help forward-thinking businesses realize that payments can drive better outcomes for the bottom line.

Most of all, it can help you plan for the future and build out a payments stack that is ready for tomorrow, today. Payments orchestration gives you the flexibility to adapt to any experience that your e-commerce business demands.

Want to learn more about payments orchestration?