Las Vegas: a city renowned for gambling, shopping, entertainment and nightlife, is quite often associated with money, or more accurately, money lost (spent). However, once a year the trucks roll into town and the focus shifts to talking about the future, and a desire to revise the old adage, as Monique Ruff-Bell puts it:
“What happens in Vegas, goes beyond Vegas”
She, as event director, is of course talking about Money20/20 US!
Money20/20 USA 2019 is one of the highlight events of the year for AEVI, taking over the Venetian for 4 days of networking, thought leadership and, of course, a good party. Money20/20 President Tracey Davies says the conference and trade show “sets out to bring everyone together, to debate, to shape to reinvent the future of money.”
The show is getting bigger and better each year. It’s practically impossible to grasp it all, so here is our take on the highlights pertaining to merchant acquiring, payment, and merchant solutions, and the main themes that set it apart from the previous year.
Customer experience and personalization are key to success
A big theme on the Payments and Commerce and Innovation stage this year was customer experience and personalization. There is a correlation between the collection of data and the experience that organizations have been able to deliver. As Finextra reported, “Consumers share data to get a more personalized experience,” yet in a panel titled CX is the New Black: Creating Contextual Shopping Journeys, all speakers agreed with the premise that everyone wants to embrace personalization but we are not yet attuned to the basic signals payments insight provides with.
Merchants need to learn how to listen to what customers want to create contextualized shopping experience, and will need guidance on how to make sense of analytics available to them. Technology such as data analytics and AI were strongly represented this year at Money20/20 USA, but although already available, the reality is this has not yet made its way down the supply chain to most merchants.
Payments is an integral part of the shopping experience
Payments has been a core friction in the shopping transaction that financial institutions have been focusing on solving. The likes of Uber and others have had a profound impact on payments, which has spurred creation of more consumer-oriented companies. This in turn creates competition to more established companies that need to reassess their business model, shift processes to a “consumer-first” approach, and rethink payments vs checkout processes for merchant. Chris Maddern, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer at Button noted, “It’s no more about solving a friction to allow customers to purchase, it’s about how the customer wants to purchase: how do they want their checkout experience.” Amit Shah, Chief Marketing Officer at 1-800-Flowers.com, added that “the payment customer journey was a bunch of experience set by the processor or the bank. Now what we are seeing is some companies such as PayPal transforming the thinking to focus on ‘customer-first’ rather than merchant-first.”
When we think about the future there are a myriad of activities, trends, and technology that makes the payments space ever more complex and rapidly evolving. The payment is becoming invisible and interacts seamlessly with other value-added services that make up a consumer’s buying journey. Mike Camerling from AEVI told Green Sheet that “We’re seeing a power shift as merchants take control and enable the journey for their customers. Traditional estate management tools no longer suffice in a new generation of endpoints and applications.”
Non-traditional institutions join the game
If there is one takeaway that stands out this year, it is that the financial industry is now definitely in the digital game. We’ve noticed the show was much less terminal-focused and more services focused. While presence of hardware vendors was limited, Money20/20 US has been attracting new players; software companies were present at the show to break into the space, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Big Nerd Ranch, both sending their teams to position themselves for the merchant digital transformation.
This supports the shift we have noticed away from classic payments propositions to a new world of value-added services. The smart POS revolution is well in motion. The conversation has been not so much about “what is smart POS”, but more focused on how to get on board the Point of Sale revolution.
Consolidation and standardization are driving trends for 2020
As highlighted in the European edition of Money20/20, the trend in 2020 will be consolidation (look at the previous blog on Money20/20 EU). The increasing use of social media platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube has led to the rise of social commerce. Consumers can connect and interact with brands more than ever before through multiple channels.
There has also been a proliferation in the last few years of companies providing solutions that reduce different aspects of friction in the shopping experience, for different channels. Platforms will be taking on the role of consolidators, bringing all channels and the tools together to allow greater interaction between merchants and customers. The trend will go towards standardizing integration between multiple systems of engagement.
The ultimate merchant experience is on the rise
Merchant acquirers need to transform their operating models to enable seamless omni-channel experiences, this includes upgrading onboarding, providing order placement, customized checkout, order services, with merchant acquirers providing digital capabilities to currently offline retailers. As rightly noted by Jamie Henry, Vice President, Emerging Payments for Walmart, in the panel titled The Future of Merchant Payments: Transforming to a Digital-First Approach, “customers don‘t care about their payments experience, they care about their shopping experience.”
Our entire booth this year was focused on the “ultimate merchant experience,” aka the experience the merchant has with the tools that are provided by its merchant solution provider (which may be its acquirer, an ISO or a VAR) to enable him to run his business, accept payment, and provide the best in-store experience to consumers. We demonstrated this with four distinctive “stores” set up in our booth to illustrate the different needs of different merchant types. The key takeaway: although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it is possible to solve problems for merchants with tailored solutions. Acquirers can leverage our open and vendor-agnostic platform to create bespoke solutions for their merchants.
In 2017 at Money20/20 USA, we announced Worldpay US was using our platform. This year we were delighted to announced that the largest acquirer in Chile Transbank has chosen AEVI to bring digital in-store solutions to its merchants. Watch the video to find out straight from the horse’s mouth about this news.
Mike Camerling, Chief Executive Officer at AEVI talks to Fintech Finance at Money20/20 US
Ricardo Blumel, Manager Division Marketing and Development at Transbank at Money20/20 US
The fun side of Money20/20 US
Who doesn’t like swags?! Well this is something that Money20/20 is also – very – good for, companies give away some really swanky items worth collecting – here are the ones we especially liked ahead of the winter season:
- It’s all about the socks: we’ve collected some colorful socks for the upcoming winter temperatures. A must-have if you ask us!
- Check yourself out – Money20/20 is hectic, so in between meeting the hand mirror is crucial.
- Laser engraved water bottle: look at how happy Alastair look with his one!
- Lip balm: the best gadget to survive in the dry desert of Las Vegas, if you were there you will know what we mean!
- Double isolated cup: definitely a good one to hold that mulled wine during a cozy evening in.