The boundless rise of automation is changing the way we communicate and altering the ways in which businesses operate. Today digital technologies are enabling new business models and creating new revenue streams.
Take Skyscanner for example, the travel fare aggregator website has capitalised on digital payment technologies and moved away from its meta search engine origins to become the platform of choice for booking flights. With a pioneering combination of a sophisticated front-end checkout, enhanced back-end acceptance plus payment forwarding technology, the company has transformed and simplified their purchasing journey for their consumers.
As these capabilities evolve, we’re seeing a huge change in consumer expectations as increasingly complex financial arrangements such as purchasing flights are simplified. As our conversations and social interactions drive an ‘always on’ mindset, immediacy will become the new normal in customer purchasing journeys as we move towards digital one-click transactions.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a massive shift in the customer purchase journey, with the ability to pay wherever and whenever we like, signalling a rapid decline in more traditional payments methods as digital becomes more and more accessible. Consumers are progressively taking control of transactions, dictating the place, the time and most importantly the format in which they want to pay for their goods.
Unsurprisingly mobile has been the main enabler of this change, with smartphone giants now vying for our digital wallets, a space we’ve been active in for a number of years now. As this new digital era continues to take hold, there’s no doubt that retail experiences will continue to play out on mobile. However, what will be really interesting to see in the next year, is how companies begin to harness the power of “chat” in the transactional process, as it becomes not only the context in which our conversations take place, but also our purchases.
I expect to see in-chat purchasing increase dramatically. Chatbots which are voice-controlled personal assistants, and messaging apps are becoming more dominant. The time spent on mobile messaging apps quadrupled between 2015 and 2016. As consumers continue to control their own purchasing process, taking a mobile first approach in which they can tailor when, where and how they purchase goods, companies will need to show up and be transactable where there consumers are. The empowered consumer will become even more empowered with the advent of open banking.
In harnessing the potential of chatbots and voice-controlled assistants, it is vital that retailers remove obstacles that compromise convenience and reflect the instant, real-time functionality of messaging and chat applications. Integrating channels, such as messaging apps and chatbots, adds to this tailored approach allowing customers to choose, purchase and have delivered items such as flowers, clothing or food seamlessly. As consumers continue to show impatience, slow load times and lengthy customer journeys requiring too many clicks/taps will hurt conversion. Smoother, curated customer experiences will be a differentiator.
As an industry participant, we pride ourselves on adapting to this change in customer expectation. We have the tools at our fingertips to synchronise accounts with other channels to ensure that end users don’t have to laboriously key in information again and again, and we employ them to offer the best possible experience to our customers’ end customers.
Convenience is key and harnessing the power of messaging apps will drive transactional efficiency as immediacy becomes the norm. This pace of change in payment innovation means times are exciting in the space right now.
David Nunn is the head of Braintree Europe, a team he’s built and led since 2013. Braintree, a PayPal company, is an industry leading online and mobile full service payments platform powering the best-in-class next-generation purchasing experiences globally.