The rise in digital commerce began long before the pandemic, and current conditions have only intensified the spotlight on the way consumers expect to purchase products and services. It's more important than ever for merchants to employ world-class expertise and innovative multichannel commerce capabilities to meet those expectations.
That's why we've introduced Carat, an ecosystem of omnichannel commerce solutions for large national and multinational companies. Our new approach to the ecommerce journey delivers expansive global payment opportunities across channels, devices and payment methods – securely and at global scale.
The stakes have never been higher. Between April and June 2020, ecommerce accounted for 16.1 percent of all U.S. sales, representing $212 billion in retail sales – up nearly 32 percent over the previous quarter. The pandemic has fast-tracked demand for cross-channel digital solutions, touchless payment experiences and innovative ecommerce offerings.
For example, while grocers knew the value of digital capabilities and had started to plan future enhancements, most thought current ecommerce volumes were years away. Instead, more than half of consumers bought groceries online in 2020 and Amazon's online grocery sales tripled in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2019.
Making cross-channel commerce work well can be difficult, even for the largest merchants. A few years ago, nearly all fast food restaurants' business was generated in person and in a store. A seemingly small shift of just 5 percent of that business to digital channels is monumental, requiring a merging of inventory control, payments, online ordering and other capabilities.
A New Approach to Ecommerce
Carat provides innovative commerce capabilities to help merchants meet a changing market. Already trusted by some of the most admired brands in the world, Carat enables quick, integrated access to technology for scan and go, order ahead, voice command, endless aisle and connected car. Through a simple API, Carat enables merchants, providers and financial institutions to imagine and realize new customer experiences.
And we’re building a commerce hub that will make it easier for merchants to access omnichannel services from a single point of connection. That includes access to solutions for global acquiring, payment methods, commerce channels, payouts, prepaid payments, B2B payments, payments optimization, security and fraud, and data insights.
Carat is more than a suite of products. It’s a new way of thinking about our people, processes and technology.
Imagine scrolling through Amazon for groceries on a Saturday morning. Through voice command, you ask to order what you normally buy for the week, but from the bricks-and-mortar store near you, and schedule delivery via a delivery service app for that afternoon. Before checkout, the retailer offers a recommendation: Your favorite cookies are on sale. Although that exact commerce journey may be in the future, we’re working now to orchestrate the third-party integrations, intelligent routing, innovative payment capabilities and robust data analytics to make it possible.
Carat is more than a suite of products. It's a new way of thinking about our people, processes and technology.
Driving Commerce in a Digital World
What happens before the payment button is clicked is just as important. We're helping to drive more commerce for our clients, powering next-level capabilities that make it easy to shop, order and pay digitally and at the point of sale. Our innovations are designed to encourage new business, high shopping-cart conversions and repeat purchases.
How can technology drive commerce? Converting dine-in purchases to easy curbside pickups helps retain business in a pandemic. Consumers looking for an easy, contactless experience may choose filling stations that offer connected car and voice-enabled capabilities over those that don't. Using data, a retailer can suggest relevant add-on purchases and offers that drive more sales at checkout.
Digital commerce can also lower costs and lessen the impact of interchange with innovative in-app payment solutions.
The Next Step
Carat incorporates the full spectrum of the commerce experience. Access to data helps our clients grow their business, and rapid integrations help merchants fully engage in an omnichannel world, keep up with customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition.
A legacy of success fuels our passion to innovate. We're working now to help our clients access global markets, optimize payments and seamlessly orchestrate enhanced customer experiences. Our vision is a single ecosystem for all things commerce. Carat is the next step on that journey.