Data Capture Devices

by PaymentsJournal 0

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The following is a transcript of the audio recording

PaymentsJournal

Data data everywhere and not a drop to spare. Hello, everyone. On this episode, we will be talking with Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America, about how the industry needs to start thinking of payment-enabled devices not only as payment-capture devices but as data-capture devices. In our conversation we will be taking a look at some of the various ways that Wirecard uses this data to enrich its clients’ end customers’ experiences. Without further delay, let’s start the show.

 

Paymentsjournal

Kevin, welcome to the podcast!

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

Thanks for having me.

 

PaymentsJournal

To start things off, talk to me about Wirecard: Who are they and what is their role within the payments industry and what do they specialize in?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

Wirecard is a global commerce firm. We’re headquartered in Munich, Germany with our U.S. headquarters outside Philadelphia. We are a global issuer and acquirer, and what that very simply means is, everything along the commerce value chain, from acquiring and payment processing to gateways to loyalty solutions, then to employee pay-out solutions and issuing programs — so refunds and rebates. Wirecard, with a big presence in Europe and Asia and now North and South America, we are able to deliver solutions for clients around the world along that entire value chain. Our clients are in the travel, e-commerce, retail, and actually the FI sectors. It’s really interesting for us to play in that space as a high-growth technology firm that’s publicly traded and be able to deliver these solutions, where we also possess a bank — we own a bank in Europe and we have a network of banking licenses around the globe to enable it. So it’s a pretty exciting company and interesting view and a business model where we address that whole spectrum for those clients.

 

PaymentsJournal

Great. Thank you for that. Now: connected stores. Can you explain to me what a connected store is and potentially how you see this concept coming to the United States?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

When we think about a connected store — I’d probably start by taking a step back: When we think about the advent of technology, the ability to understand, process, and then act upon real-time data. For us that’s the ability to understand really from the core transaction and the swipe of a credit card, the mobile payment that’s going to a point-of-sale device. The ability to turn around and, let’s say, offer a further discount on a good or service in the store, offer a future coupon for coming back. The ability to capture information and harness and monetize the data in a way that makes a lot of sense for our clients as well as the end consumers. So it’s leveraging all of those disparate data points. Loyalty programs have been around for years and years. Payment systems have been around for years and years. But we’re at this period of time when it’s an amazing opportunity that we can now connect them and we can now intelligently and wisely use that data. So it’s not just the ability to serve an offer, but that offer is contextual. Again for us that begins with really understanding our clients’ customers and the offers they’re looking for and the ability, through our core technology and our capabilities, to deliver upon that. And the connected store concept: Maybe that transaction starts within the store, but it continues with the relationship that the customer has, to get them to either continue in that store or get them to go back and e-commerce shop. So when we think about the connected store, really that’s almost a connected relationship with a certain consumer through any of those end point channels. And again we’re at a point in time when we’re going for those potential connected experiences.

 

PaymentsJournal

Excellent. I’m glad that you brought up loyalty programs. In my opinion, mobile wallet is one of the areas where loyalty programs can really add value. So can you tell me what Wirecard is doing in this area?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

I could talk a little bit about mobile wallets here at home, here in the U.S. One of the things that when we think about ecosystems (and mobile payments are definitely part of that ecosystem) is we think about the adoption of technology. Fifty-six percent of U.S. consumers are forecasted to transact something like $505 billion in mobile payments by 2020. We continue to see increased adoption, probably through the delivery of more simple payment experiences by some of the main, the pays if you will—Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. Given the fact that you’re talking about $505 billion of transactions. Given the fact that you’re having these great experiences, for us it’s important to play in that ecosystem. A very simple way is when we think about consumer choice and ubiquity. With Wirecard, if you have let’s say a rebate, one of our rebate cards through one of our clients, you’ve been given $50 for a purchase of a new mobile phone, or if you are part of a sales incentive program, or if you are part of one of our refund programs, you actually can access those funds on a card, on a prepaid card that we send, but you can also access those funds via any of the three major pays: Google, Samsung, and Apple. So we have all of our programs enabled to do that, and what’s important for us as an ecosystem participant is being able to continue enabling that, being part of that, and giving consumers those choices as we continue to see more and more of our clients and their end customers availing themselves of those choices.

 

PaymentsJournal

Shifting gears a little here: I happened to listen to the DLD Munich 2018 panel discussion on the future of intelligent transportation and connected mobility, and your colleague Marcus Braun was talking about an ePOS system. I know we’ve got POS systems and we’ve got mPOS systems. Can you give our audience an overview about what Wirecard means when it talks about an ePOS system?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

When we think about ePOS, it’s the hybrid in the connectivity of these POS systems. It’s important to talk about the overall omnichannel solution that clients are looking for in this day and age, right? The context when we think about ePOS or any kind of POS is that we recognize what we need to enable for our clients is the simplicity around the transactions. Payments themselves are not necessarily sexy, but the things that they enable, what they enable for our clients and their end customers, if you think about the interactions that we have on any given day and what payments are allowed to enable. For us, when we think about ePOS, ePOS covers all of those channels. That starts with data processing. That’s the collection of customer transactions and the customer data. It’s the customer identification, whether that be tokenization, and then we’re able to then say coming out of there, it’s the processing, but across any of those channels, and truly we when think about an omnichannel ePOS suite, not any one of those subchannels, it’s the ability to think about the recency, the frequency, the spend levels that our customers are doing across channels. Are they moving through the funnels quicker within e-comm? But they’re much slower. Are they abandoning something in a shopping cart on the e-commerce? But then they’re actually buying it in store. So when we think about ePOS, it’s that full omnichannel solution that really lets us see across all of those channels. And I think at the end of the day, as we all know and we reflect on our own shopping habits, reflecting across those channels is really key to understanding customer behavior. You can’t take something and view it just in a siloed channel.

 

PaymentsJounal

I think, I’m quickly summarizing it here: What you’re saying is that a point-of-sale system is no longer just a payment-capture device. People really need to start thinking of it as data-capturing data center, right?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

That’s exactly right. At the end of the day, the data, it’s — it might sound trite, but it’s the data, it’s the data, it’s the data. Ten years ago we were talking about in payments companies, the payments, the exhaust of the payments data, what that exhaust was. We could really monitor that, and it’s really powerful. And now we’re in an age when that “exhaust” has become truly table stakes, so for us understanding not only that data in those specific silos but then being able to connect that across those silos for our clients is absolutely critical.

 

PaymentsJournal

As we take a look at 2018 and beyond, what is it that you are most excited about seeing within the payments industry?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

For us, there’s a couple things that I’d highlight. Number one, the ability to actually — things that you and I and all of us in the ecosystem were talking about just five years ago are now possible through the use of big data and its usage to be able to capture both complex sets of data and extend actual customer offers, so that’s number one. Number two, the advent of technology with things like mobile wallets. When we think about the continued adoption, the data, and then the experiences that we can deliver at those digital touch points, it becomes that much more valuable. Three is the actual fusion of the digital world and the physical world through some of these enabling capabilities that I talked about. When you think about these and the retail experiences, the travel experiences of the future, the selecting your airline seats — those things that have been very kind of flat experiences become visceral and real. From the Wirecard perspective, to be able to have these key payment enablers and then the technology and the ability to engineer, iterate, and grow on top of there on a global scale is really exciting for us. And probably the last trend that I would highlight is continued globalization: Cross-border transactions continue to go up. Trade continues to go up. And we’re in a really nice position to be able to capitalize on and deliver those solutions for our clients and their end customers on a global scale.

 

PaymentsJournal

Keeping with this forward mindset, what’s next for Wirecard?

 

Kevin Brown, VP of Marketing and Product at Wirecard North America

A couple points. Number one, when you think about the launch of ePOS, that’s a good example. The ability for us to deliver a point-of-sale solution into an end infrastructure that a customer might have already set up — to say, “We don’t need to build this from the ground up because we can use APIs.” I think fundamentally that’s where we see these simple integrations and the opportunity to be able to leverage them, and leverage them with speed, and iterate around the customer experience and the loyalty that the end customers are driving. When I think about what’s next, what’s exciting is our continued focus on delivering across the entire value chain, meaning whether it be the convergence use case, I think in any publicly traded company you’re going to see some kind of ecosystem chart. I don’t think you can be a publicly traded company in payment space and not have one. The thing that gets us really excited is the ability to talk to a prospective client or an existing client and say, “We can understand your entire commerce lifecycle all the way from the acceptance and processing of a payment through to your freelance worker gig economy payments through to how loyalty gets connected to back to rebates you’re sending out.” So when we think about the future, we think about the convergence and focusing on that convergence of what you might classically call the issuing of payments and acquiring of payments business that is on a global scale leveraging our licenses: the continued commitment toward delivering on those convergence points — which means offering solutions across the commerce value chain whether you’re a small mom-and-pop shop or you’re a global enterprise. We really like the position we set ourselves up in. We’re continuing to invest in the technologies that are going to enable us to continue to deliver those solutions that are, I would say, winning from a competitive standpoint, and that’s where the fun begins, being able to solution that and deliver it for clients.

 

PaymentsJournal

Well, Kevin, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us, and we hope to have you back on the podcast real soon.

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