Welcome to PYMNTS.com’s 2014 CEO Series: a quick and concise glimpse into the minds of the leaders of the payments industry and how they view innovation, change and growth. We’ll ask each top exec the same six questions about the payments industry to gauge who they view as innovation experts and why they feel their company stands out. What advice do these leaders have to offer to those looking to survive in a complex and dynamic industry? On PYMNTS.com, you can find out.
In this installment, we speak with Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of BlueSnap, to learn his thoughts on payments innovation, how the industry is changing and more. What does Dangelmaier believe look for innovative ideas, and what advice does he give young innovators in the space?
1. How would you define your company’s approach to innovation?
Our company's approach to innovation is guided by our aim to provide easy, cross border payments with the highest conversion rates at the point of checkout for our merchants via simple integration.
2. What is the most innovative thing that you have introduced into the market – and what value did it deliver to the stakeholder group that was its target?
The invention of our easy BuyNow hosted check out pages that make it easy for merchants to sell their products in 180 countries, serving up localized pages in 29 languages, with 60 currencies and 110 payment types on any device.
We also introduced our intelligent payment routing with a localized experience to all of our merchants. It automatically switches transactions between acquiring banks to maximize payment success. The solution also defaults to alternate banks in the event of a transaction failure, automatically retries failed recurring charges several times and even notifies shoppers to update billing details when needed.
BlueSnap processes payments and optimizes the checkout experience on mobile like everyone else in the market, but we take conversion rates up a level by having all the local payment methods dynamically served to the shopper depending on their IP address and all in their local language.
3. Where do you look for innovative ideas and why?
We are looking to make international payments simple for any merchant. The ability for a merchant to reach customers globally in an easy and efficient manner, in markets all around the world while providing the highest conversion rates, means that we look to understand how new and emerging markets are developing and how we need to innovate to accommodate the rapidly changing landscape in these areas.
4. What do you think that most people underestimate about innovating in payments?
Most people underestimate the need for the idea or solution to not only solve a need but to also be easily adopted by consumers. There are loads of disruptive ideas and technology being developed, but having that translated into a method that is easily adopted is where a lot of innovation falls down. Uber is a perfect example of an innovative and easy payment experience that was embraced by the consumer.
5. What person or company do you think “gets” innovation and why – and, conversely, who or what has missed it and why?
I would have to say Apple, Starbucks, Google and Facebook all are clearly leading the way on innovation. Microsoft, Visa and Mastercard and Banks, on the other hand, are missing it.
6. What advice would you give a young innovator in this space and why would you tell him or her to heed it?
We love coffee at BlueSnap and have great espresso machines in all our offices. My advice would be to come in and have a cup of coffee with the smartest people in Waltham who are using their 300 years of combined technology and payment expertise to bring innovation to the payment space.
CEO of BlueSnap
Ralph leads the charge to establish BlueSnap as the payments leader in eCommerce. A payment-processing veteran, Ralph brings a wealth of experience creating products for retailers, processors, and financial institutions, and has a proven track record of growing companies both organically and through M&A activity.