In a recent guest post for The Green Sheet, NMI Chief Growth and Marketing Officer Peter Galvin examined the critical role seamless payment experiences play in the digital era, even for the smallest merchants. While behemoths like Amazon have set the gold standard for frictionless payment systems, smaller merchants still face many challenges when aspiring to offer similarly smooth payment experiences.

Thankfully, small businesses can level the playing field by partnering with independent software vendors (ISVs). These partnerships allow merchants to deliver omnichannel payment capabilities that rival larger competitors, even with minimal budgets and expertise.

Meeting Modern Consumer Expectations Is Not Optional

Frictionless, highly integrated payments in everything from online shopping to streaming to social media have changed how people pay. Modern consumers expect a different kind of payment experience – one that’s fast and intuitive. While seamless digital transactions were once a standout novelty, today, they’re the norm. Merchants that fail to meet these evolving customer expectations risk losing market share to competitors.

In his article, Galvin explains that a clunky payment process on a local merchant’s website could cause a shopper to abandon their cart and head straight to Amazon. That can put smaller merchants, who often have scant experience in the payments space, at a big disadvantage.

Lacking the know-how to implement well-integrated payment systems isn’t an excuse for offering poor experiences. To maintain a competitive edge, small merchants must find a way to close this gap. According to Galvin, ISV payments offer an ideal solution.

Finding the Right ISV Payments Partner to Elevate the Customer Experience

Choosing the right ISV partner requires thoughtful consideration. Thankfully, merchants have no shortage of choices for their payment systems. Galvin highlighted three factors that merchants should pay close attention to when evaluating ISVs:


Diversity of Channels and Payment Methods: An ideal ISV partner should offer integration across multiple channels. The more ways a customer can buy, the better. For instance, small merchants will earn more if their customers can purchase directly from Instagram in addition to a traditional ecommerce website. Software providers should also support various payment options, including credit cards, digital wallets, “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) programs and more.

Industry Experience and Cost Structure: The best ISVs are experts at specializing. Small merchants looking to maximize the benefits of embedded payments should ensure they partner with a software company with deep experience in their specific industry or niche.

However, specialization can sometimes drive up prices, so merchants must be aware of all costs associated with an ISV payment system. That means they must consider upfront costs and those that may arise as their business grows and their payment needs scale up.

Long-term Approach: Merchant needs are constantly evolving. Galvin emphasized that selecting the right payments partner requires merchants to take a long-term approach. Neither the merchant’s needs nor payment technology will look the same in five or ten years. Because of this, ISVs and merchants must align on long-term strategy. The best software providers continually monitor emerging payment trends and demonstrate an ability to innovate and keep merchants ahead of the curve.

For better or worse, tech giants have set a high bar in the payments landscape, and smaller merchants have no choice but to try to keep up. By investing in partnerships with specialized ISVs, small merchants can offer the seamless omnichannel payment experiences modern consumers expect and keep big rivals like Amazon at bay.

For more of Peter Galvin’s insights on how small merchants can use ISV payments to their advantage, check out the full article at GreenSheet.com.

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