Thursday 15 September 2011

PayPal banks on convergence in offline retail

A recent PayPal blog by Scott Thompson, President of PayPal gives a strong overview of their future direction - and in a word it's convergence.
  • The convergence of offline and online retail
  • The convergence of social and retail
  • The convergence of EPOS and payments
  • The convergence of offers and payments
  • The convergence of payments and loyalty
  • The convergence of the purchase and the purchase decision
That last point is the most powerful - previously banks and payment providers like PayPal moved money.  It was all about the transaction with little regard for the person making it or the reason behind it.  However as Thompson indicates in his blog, this is changing:-
PayPal is re-imagining money and making it work better for merchants and consumers.  The act of paying for something should be as seamless as your decision to buy it. The future is about creating real consumer choice, flexibility and control over how people shop and pay.
Payment providers are realising the power they have within the data they hold and the relationships they enable, and now they are starting to do something about it.

    PayPal are squarely banking on convergence across all of these areas into a single solutions provider - and obviously they would like it to be them.

    They're not alone however, both Google and Square, amongst others, are competing in this space, bringing together mobile, payments, POS, offers and loyalty rewards into a single platform / eco-system.

    The ability to drive a purchase from demand generation and follow it right through to purchase and post purchase recognition is something that is going to gain traction and there will be winners and losers.

    I suspect any single vendor will struggle to dominate and open standards (or mass payment networks) will win out, but it does set the tone both in terms of customer and retailer expectations - and it throws down the gauntlet for all players within the payment and retail transaction space.