mPOS isn’t so much focused on micro-merchants anymore, according to Benoit Boudier, SVP of International Sales for ROAM. Rather, it’s become an important part of payment acceptance in general, both in the U.S. and on the international stage. MPD CEO Karen Webster recently caught up with Boudier to get the scoop on what’s new in the world of mPOS – how EMV, Apple Pay, Etsy, and other new developments in the space have been morphing mPOS into various dimensions – and quite possibly pushing it to its tipping point.
KW: Let’s talk mPOS on the international stage. What’s new?
BB: What we’re seeing on the international stage is the mPOS moving away or at least beyond the initial micro-merchant play to become an integral part of the payment acceptance offering that all merchants are looking to provide customers. We’re seeing that in the U.S. and internationally, in part because of the EMV implications and cost of the EMV hardware, we’re seeing that trend become major.
KW: Is it all merchants, or just some merchants?
BB: What all merchants are recognizing, whether it’s tier one organized retail down to the smaller unit stores, is that they have to interact with their clients not only in-store in the traditional way but online and via mobile devices. More and more merchants are having business outside their stores. And more merchants are interacting phone to phone with their customers, initially through applications and now, as we’re seeing with Apple Pay and the mainstreaming of mobile wallets, mobile as a point of interaction between the merchant and the consumer is key. And mPOS is a way to accept payments on a mobile device.
KW: So would you say that mPOS is at a tipping point?
BB: I think it’s a point where it’s moving from a very niche, specific use case to broader implementations. It’s morphing into a number of specific dimensions, and in that sense, it is at a tipping point. And obviously, the challenges of making a micro-merchant business model stand, particularly in the EMV world, are being overcome by these new use cases where actual value is being delivered to these merchants.
KW: One of the things we observed recently was something interesting that Etsy is doing. Etsy of course is the marketplace that aggregates a lot of artisans who have things to sell. I thought it was interesting that they decided to enable, as a distribution channel, mPOS for those artisans who wanted to use those devices to sell things in a physical storefront. Is that unusual? How important do you think that development is for mPOS?
BB: I think that really is a clear illustration of that point that merchants, or sellers, now have to interact with their clients across all channels, even if they’re smaller online artisans. Etsy, as you said, aggregates online artisans, but they do go to craft fairs and to client homes, and they do have that requirement to take payment in the physical space in additional to online. What’s interesting is that these are very small players, small sellers and the fact that even they have this omnichannel requirement tells you how mainstream this has become.
KW: So do you see larger merchants replacing their existing terminals with mPOS tablet devices that enable them to have all kinds of functionality in an mPOS device, or do you see it as a complement to what they’re doing?
BB: We clearly see this as a complement. If you’re looking at the larger retail store formats, what consumers are looking for is additional points of interaction. If you’re queuing at a major retailer’s lane, you’re not looking to have a long phase of interaction. What you’re looking for is the ability, within the aisle or at a pickup or popup location, is to have that same payment experience that you have in the store. It’s really an additional way to interact with a client and to buy and sell.
KW: One of the things you mentioned earlier was EMV. How do you see EMV and mPOS coming together in the U.S. marketplace in particular?
BB: If you look at it from a migration perspective, the tier one retailers already have EMV enabled terminals in their stores, and as cardholders grow accustomed to using a chip card in stores, I think their expectation will be that the whole payment experience, whether it’s mPOS or in store, is EMV. In the smaller merchant space, the mPOS will migrate probably at the same rate or slightly after in-store migration. It really will play differently depending on the segments.
KW: We’re now into the holiday shopping season everywhere around the world. Will mPOS play an important role in helping merchants be where their customers are anywhere in the store?
BB: Clearly, one of the key drivers of mPOS in organized retail and main street jobs is the queue-busting use case which we all hope to be very active as we get in line to buy those toys for our kids. So definitely expect to see more and more of these cases where the payment and cash register comes to you, rather than having to queue at that line.
SVP of International Sales for ROAM
Benoit has over 15 years of international management and business development experience with fast growing technology driven companies in the electronic payments, eCommerce and mobile marketing sectors. Currently Benoit is responsible for managing the global deployment of mobile payment solutions for payments leader Ingenico, including the ROAM Mobile Commerce Platform. Prior to his current role, Benoit led global Business Development for Ingenico, driving pan European deployment of the company’s transaction services business into tier 1 retailers. Before joining Ingenico, Benoit held executive positions focused on driving innovation and growth for a number start-up and established companies based in Europe. Benoit is a graduate of the Ecole Centrale Paris with a major in Aeronautics and holds a Master’s Degree from the HEC Business School.
To listen to the full podcast, click here.