Adyen on the consumer-focused payment experience

A conversation with Myles Dawson, UK Country Manager, Adyen.

What do your clients demand most in improving their consumer payment experience?

Clients are increasingly trying to overhaul their entire customer experience to stand out in a very crowded marketplace – we help them see payments as an important avenue to achieve this.

The key thing customers ask us to help them with is increasing choice and reducing friction. We help to reduce queues in store, or the number of taps or clicks online, and create a consistent experience across all platforms. Most recently, we’ve released Terminal API which brings the benefits of eCommerce into the physical store by running payment transactions over the cloud or internet infrastructure. This opens up new ways for customers to checkout and pay, creating a more personal and flexible shopping experience.

The other important area where we see demand is through local payment methods. This can help increase revenues or open a business up to customers from new markets. To succeed with this strategy, organisations must provide a familiar payment experience for customers from new markets. For example, mobile wallets are vital for Chinese customers, whereas SEPA direct debit is a popular payment method in Germany, but is less prevalent in other European markets. Adyen accommodates the top three Chinese payment methods (Alipay, China Union Pay and WeChat Pay) both online and in-store – as well as a wide range of local payment methods for other key markets.

What is a “truly unified commerce experience?”

Customers expect to be able to buy goods from the comfort of their own home, on the move with a mobile device, or in a store. A truly unified commerce experience enables a customer to seamlessly move through all of these platforms and receive a consistent experience.

It’s all about bringing the benefits of online shopping to the offline experience, and vice versa. For example, by applying the efficiency of one click payments to the store, a customer can avoid queues. With Adyen’s unified platform, it makes it possible for customers to shop in-store and complete their transaction by receiving their basket on their mobile device and pay with one click.

In an age of internet retail, how important is it to continue to improve the in-store consumer payment experience?

Unlike what you hear in the news about “the death of the high street”, consumers aren’t saying goodbye to the physical store, but they are being more selective about where they go. Customers are drawn to stores that provide exceptional experiences – if it is easier and more pleasant to shop with a competitor or online, they will. So, every single element of the in-store experience matters, and the payment experience is vital to help close that all-important sale. People are not willing to wait in queues or collect cash. They want to use their preferred payment method and if it’s not available, they will go somewhere else.

Some have argued that completely frictionless payment experiences could encourage financial irresponsibility. Should there be a limit to the reduction of friction in the payments experience?

Consumers have got to a point where efficiency is everything. With the fierce competition in the sector, retailers not offering the frictionless experiences will potentially lose customers.

Frictionless payments are less about people spending more money than they originally had intended and more about ensuring that when the customer is ready to spend, the process is as simple and frictionless as possible to ensure shoppers complete that all important purchase.

How can retailers remain relevant in a world where the balance of power is shifting more towards the consumer?

Retailers must remain relevant by providing an experience that meets customer expectations. Those that are leading the way are putting the customer experience at the centre of everything they do.

What’s the next step in improving the in-store payment experience?

There is still a lot of education to be done about the importance of experience and creating a truly unified and seamless payment experience on all channels. This will greatly increase flexibility, reduce queues and improve the experience for customers. Most retailers will agree that it is best practice, but few truly put it in place.

Longer term – the concept of ‘subscription retail’ or executions such as Amazon’s Go store, which is completely frictionless and removes the concept of queues, are interesting prospects that will have an impact on the industry. But they are still far away from widespread adoption. Ultimately, I think we need to create the environment where shoppers feel like they are shoplifting. Select the goods you want and just walk out. However, in the background, the goods you took are recognised and a charge is made to your preferred payment mechanism.

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