The Evolving Trends Shaping the Payments Space
What are the trends you’ve witnessed happening within the payments space?
Payments have been transformed over the past few years with the move to mobile. Paying for things on your phone is no longer a concept. It’s a core form of how we see people interacting with Ticketmaster and our payment system. The mobile device once was just an information tool to find events, comparison shop and identify things to buy. Now it’s a convenient purchasing vehicle. Contactless payments like Apple Pay at the physical point-of-sale or using the Starbucks mobile app for orders are supporting the mobile payments trend.
Innovation in Fintech is making it easier for Ticketmaster to use payments to target different consumer psychographics and demographics. Most fans of live entertainment like to pay with their credit or debit card. Alternative payments like PayPal target those looking for security and simplicity online. Ticketmaster also launched a new FlexPay service with Klarna last fall allowing customers to make payments for tickets over a period of time. This helps those younger consumers looking to finance without using a credit card. Ticketmaster is very careful about adding payment types as they need to support the overall ticketing experience and not create friction in the purchase process.
We need to create a trusted, simple payments journey that fans of live entertainment do not need to think about
Machine learning is one of the most fascinating trends in the payments space as the purchase process generates a lot of data. Many problems can be solved with the adoption of machine learning— one is fighting fraud as it moves from one pattern to the next. Machine learning will bring an ability to know new customers, predict their preferences and offer the right payment options.
How will integration of services through recent industry mergers be beneficial to the consumers and the payment landscape as a whole?
Ticketmaster has a very robust payments system that can handle the scale and processing speed of a major on-sale. When a popular event goes on sale there are literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of customers simultaneously attempting to purchase tickets. An 18,000-seat arena can sell out in a few minutes. To achieve this level of speed and volume, we have to have a real partnership with our banking and payments partners. What we can’t have is 100 points of failure. We need a few, very scalable connections.
Bringing payments services together through mergers, under a single roof helps provide better services. Recent payments industry mergers have real potential to bring the best technology to market for their customers but solution architecture matters. It is important that payments technology mergers focus on the unification of their technology platform. Big players can encourage adoption of smaller company services by providing a more sophisticated level of customer service and a foundation layer of data integration to which these services can be added. Banks and merchants are tired of bespoke development for every additional service they want to purchase to offer their customers. To emphasize-we want fewer integrations. Merging or partnering to reduce the development burden on your customers is a great strategy. Can you piggy back on rails that are already built? Adding technology to the same integration layer, as opposed to maintaining separate products under one name, improves adoption and customer interactions as the merged companies move forward.
For you, what is the major pain point affecting the payments arena?
We continue to see lower than expected adoption of wallets. When you study ecommerce trends, consumers still claim to be afraid to do shopping on the internet. Despite the security proposition of wallets, we have seen fewer than expected consumers actually adopt these products. Consumers like credit and debit cards. It appears that protections against fraud offered by credit cards are compelling enough for many shoppers in the US. To be successful, alternative payments providers and wallets need to provide more customer value while supporting merchants increating a frictionless shopping experience and higher conversion. Some wallet providers have mistakenly been more focused on their own brand than on the consumer/merchant interaction.
Who’s customer experience is it? Embedding services in the merchant experience is key. We use the terms “seamless” and “frictionless” because popping out of the merchant experience causes consumers to abandon the shopping experience.Every screen, every extra field and every click matters. Using a merchant’s shopping cart for enrollment in an unfamiliar payment service costs them sales. Find ways to pre-enroll, work in the back ground and share the rails that exist. Alternative payment often ask for a new connection or a new processor and a new flow for the user experience. Apple Pay and Google Pay seem to have focused on the right issues by removing friction in the consumer experience on the mobile device already in their customer’s hand. Other online payments solutions need to focus on creating a seamless and secure merchant shopping experience.
What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field?
Learn from the experiences of companies who have been in the space before you. As a payments services company, you need to solve for two sides of the payments equation: consumer & merchant. First you must have a great value proposition for consumers by understanding their interests and solving real problems. Second you need have simpleand cost-effective connectivity to the merchant community. Rolling out one merchant at a time doesn’t work for your customer–if at all possible, access existing channels through partnerships to gain widespread adoption. Figuring out how you are going to be accepted everywhere is the challenge that all new players in the payments field face. Simplicity for merchant adoption is critical and being attractive to merchants is equally important to solving a customer problem. Drive both sides—a great consumer and seamless merchant shopping experience-at the same time.
How would you see the evolution a few years from now with regard to disruptions and transformations within the arena?
In the upcoming years, we are going to see simplicity of payments that comes with improved identity. You can see this happening today as consumers no longer need cards and can use their phone to pay at the physical point-of-sale. We need a trusted and intelligent online payment experiencethat is seamlessly embedded in the merchant experience.The last thing anyone wants to do is stop and think about payment options when buying something. Intelligent payments is when the right payment options are presented without having to make a choice. It will take us away from an experience that looks NASCAR-esque with endless logos scattered on the payments page and to a space where we already know the consumer’s payment preference that optimizes the customer’s experience. It should be effortless for a consumer to take their full buying power with them from one site to another using payments solutions they recognize –highly secure, interoperable, and easy to use.