“Payments in the context of conversation is the next phase”: David Nunn, Head of Braintree Europe

David Nunn, Head of Braintree Europe discusses the importance of growing e-commerce channels and why conversation-based payments is the future.

Tell us about your business background.

I’m the head of Europe for Braintree, and I’ve worked with the business for over four years since the pre-acquisition by PayPal in Q4 2014. My role is to expand the regional reach of Braintree and evangelise driving the growth of the business in Europe.

It’s been an incredible journey, parallel with where the mobile and e-commerce markets are heading. There’s so much innovation happening, that I think all the companies in this space are barely scratching the surface of possibility, and trying to realise what the real potential is as we go forward in a revolutionary time in commerce.

Tell us about PayPal One Touch and how it stands out in the market.

One Touch enables faster checkouts from websites and apps without having to fill in all of your information each time you checkout. The cross-channel capability enables consumers to checkout using PayPal with one tap, the very first time on a website or an app.

There are several tokenised websites and apps whereby you need to submit your details to start with, but there’s nothing that enables the first time ability to check out with putting in all of our credentials. When the checkout process is too difficult and lengthy, it can lead to abandoned carts and consumers feeling frustrated.

Both Braintree and PayPal are heavily focused on a true USP to own both sides of the equation – both the consumer experience and the merchant experience. Braintree’s platform is used with Venmo in the U.S.,, and consumers are accepting this move because of the enjoyment of the checkout experience with a social context intrinsically linked to it.

We have an incredibly successful adoption rate with One Touch; there’s over 70 million of 200+ million consumers, and around 6 million+ businesses that have already opted in to use One Touch because of its ease of checkout use.

What about omnichannel checkouts? How does Braintree leverage technology to provide a seamless experience?

PayPal has a whole host of products in its suite. P2P and processing capability and costs are just some of them. The PayPal wallet itself supports a whole spectrum of payments – the whole platform is agnostic in the wallets and payments types that it supports.

Even though PayPal as a company would believe that its own wallet, and the PayPal means of payment itself is superior, we also support credit and debit cards as well as mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and others, to make it an agnostic experience and to give the merchants everything they would need.

The omnichannel and in-store experience are slowly integrating together- you see different use cases where people may go in store to see a product and then go home and buy it online. Or conversely, they can find it online and pick it up on store.

I think what was once very much a strategy for online or in store is blurring the lines. The lines are also blurring for the digital world – we see a shift towards contextual commerce, which is enabling consumers to interact and transact with their chosen brand but in their preferred context – this may be in Pinterest or Facebook Messenger.

We see this as a pivotal move to the next phase of commerce, just as mobile was around five years ago. Lighting up the ability to create new abilities with consumer convenience at the centre of the product.

Payments in the context of conversation is where we are now and the next phase.

Is the industry heading towards a saturated marketplace of apps that enable conversational payments?

People are spending a lot of time on their social networks – in the morning, we no longer only turn off our alarm, we check our emails, our calendar, our banking app, social media and messages.

WeChat is probably one of the most successful examples of context commerce in action. The platform is miraculous in the way that users can do anything in the app – book taxis, invest in financial products, book appointments with doctors. The comparisons are Facebook Messenger – it is also moving to commercialising and enriching the functionality to spend more time in the app.

The reason mobile commerce has increased drastically in the last few years is the removal of friction. The device knows pretty much everything about us – we can enable commerce experiences to be extremely seamless. The foundations of these enormous social networks will have a growth in the consumer base.

Having said that, there’s still a long way to go on the basics of pure e-commerce. We’ve still got an average of seven out of ten shopping carts being abandoned on standard e-commerce sites, and that figure increases when analysing mobile commerce.

The future is enabled by the capabilities of technology these days; we’ve all got a super computer in the palm of our hands, even the thought of ordering a taxi with an app and having no physical payment required was once a hypothetical thought.

In a short space of time, we’ve had concepts grow from hypothetical to reality and then a required standard. Incredible things are happening and quickly becoming the norm.

Are you analysing any technologies or products closely?

There are different parts of the checkout process for the consumers and merchant experience that can be optimised. Our belief is in simplicity and an elegant commerce experience, not just for the businesses but also the consumers right through the value chain.

We want to make it easy to use for the consumer for repeated business for the merchant, and in return, we want to make it easy to manage payments for the business, because payments traditionally is a complex and different concept to manage, particularly now in the evolution of commerce.

If you think back, credit cards were introduced in the 1960s, and nothing revolutionary happened until Amazon and eBay started in 1995, which sparked the rise in e-commerce. Then there was the iPhone in 2007.

It was the iPhone introduction that acted a catalyst of what was next in mobile commerce. 2013 onwards, we’ve seen an incredible boost in payments, driven by the macro shift to mobile. As a result, we’ve seen all these different means of payments created to really help the consumer experience. And it will only get better.

Related reading