During the three days of the 9th Annual Conference for the acquiring industry – Merchant Payments Ecosystem (MPE Berlin), European acquirers, solution providers, merchants and regulators came together to network, learn and share knowledge. Amongst the topics discussed at length were the IPOs and market consolidation, European acquiring, omnichannel, shopping experience, potential changes in security, authentication, tokenization, wearable technologies, POS and mobile payments. Simplicity and frictionless were two of the most recurring words of the MPE Berlin 2016 event.
As I like to say, MPE Berlin 2016 gathered together the “crème de la crème” of the European payment and acquiring industry, reflecting the ever-changing nature of the payment industry and the need to share ideas, learn from each other and start creating solutions collaboratively. As Neira Jones put it “preserving the security and the integrity of the payment ecosystem requires collaboration and cooperation, and PSPs, acquirers, merchants, schemes, and regulators should work together”.
Omnichannel is considered to be “almost something that is in the past”, and the real focus should be both on the merchant and on the consumer; on how to drive more value for the merchant in terms of loyalty, to help them better understand their customers and shopping habits. During the discussions, three new concepts popped up; omnichannel, omnishopper and omnipayer.
From our perspective, omnichannel is much more about data than about reconciliation, as most of the retailers are struggling with the various sources of data and solutions in the market. Getting data from their PSP, analyzing it from a payment perspective and adding visitors’ data too could be a good solution. Retailers have to work with one PSP that can optimize the analytical process and offer the strategic base for their further consumer decisions. They also have to hold their providers accountable for the performance of the different payment types and streams, anywhere in the world.
However, the providers are focusing on the omnishopper to serve their needs for convenience and frictionless payments, and as back-end integration is quite challenging, we believe we still have to wait for the true omnichannel experience.
I agree with Ron Kalifa’s statement that payment processing is just a commodity, so merchants should look for additional value and choose their provider carefully. They have to streamline their offering so people can buy the products easily, link both their online and offline platforms and allow customers to buy in a way they prefer, such as click and collect or social media channels.
Highly focused on innovation, MasterCard’s GroupHead, Anton Kornilov, made it clear that the innovations that would succeed will be those ones that will make it into the physical world, enter the store and will help all consumers to make purchases in a more fun, efficient way. In the end, John Faherty from Omnipay said it perfectly: “Whether it is about reporting, pricing, transparency – keep it simple!” It may be tempting to do one hundred things at a time, but the true success comes when you do one thing and do it really well.
Read also about Payvision’s “Best Acquirer” Award won during MPE Berlin 2016.