For time immemorial, human beings have been asking that question; in fact, if it wasn’t the first question human beings asked upon developing language and the concept of time, it certainly made the top three.
Unfortunately getting an answer to the question is much, much harder than asking it. After 10,000 years of reading tea leaves, watching the stars, interpreting entrails and consulting with the Oracles (of Delphi, Omaha, etc.), knowing “what’s next” for most of human history has not been all that much easier than it was when the first caveman looked at the fire, shrugged, turned to the second one and said, “Now what?”
But the modern world is remarkable in a variety of ways, not the least of which is the variety and types of data out there waiting to be interpolated into real, credible and provable predictions that can actually shed some light as to what’s next — and not a single chicken has to be slaughtered in the process.
The trick is asking the right questions, connecting to the right streams and coming to the correct conclusions.
Which is why PYMNTS.com is proud to announce the launch of What’s Next Data Analytics™ (What’s Next™) to provide sophisticated data-driven analysis on the issues that are driving the future of payments, retail and commerce — now and to come.
Excited? Well, get excited.
Who We Are (And What We Do)
What’s Next is led by Dr. David S. Evans, chairman of Market Platform Dynamics, and is comprised of leading econometricians, survey experts, financial analysts, data scientists and marketing scientists, who all have significant experience in the application of data to the payments and commerce ecosystems.
“What’s Next is all about making sure execs have the right data — and reliable data — for making decisions,” Dr. Evans noted. “Too often companies rely on the wrong data or bad data, and in the ‘age of Big Data,’ there’s unfortunately a lot of that in the ether. Not surprisingly, that often leads to bad decisions.”
To filter the good data from the bad, the What’s Next team leverages internal proprietary systems for collecting original data around the world and statistical techniques for analyzing the information.
Using extant data and undertaking specialized data collection efforts for companies, the What’s Next team is focused on deliverables that help draw actionable insights from data.
In short, the What’s Next team is looking to provide executives answers where the concrete, credible and consistent data sources necessary to create them simply don’t exist.
What We’ve Done
“The What’s Next team is the same team that uncovered major flaws in the Census Bureau’s eCommerce data last summer,” said Karen Webster, CEO of PYMNTS.com, “and has decades of experience in applying sophisticated techniques to draw insights from data for many of the largest firms in the world.”
Those insights range across a variety of payments and commerce topics. When much of the ecosystem was still enjoying the honeymoon period with Apple Pay and predicting it leading the great coming mobile conversion tide, the What’s Next team was the first to sound the alarms on the low adoption of Apple Pay.
Combining actual, in-the-field results based on consumers who could use Apple Pay (but did or didn’t) with sophisticated surveys to explain their choices, it became apparent that Apple Pay’s actual adoption was performing well under expectations. These surveys have been conducted every quarter since shortly after the launch of Apple Pay and have extended to other mobile payment methods. In the absence of figures released by Apple itself, What’s Next’s figures have become the “go-to” numbers in the ecosystem for those looking to quote spin-free Apple Pay and mobile usage numbers.
The What’s Next team has provided support to leading global players across a variety of sectors and issues and used those collaborations to create 20 data-driven artifacts that are available in the public domain and housed on PYMNTS.com.
The Checkout Conversion Index, for example, has tracked frictions in buying, paying and checking out for 750 online retailers, covering more than 70 percent of retail volume in the United States for the last year. The team has collected 138,000 data points on U.S. online retailers every quarter for the last year from a detailed examination of their websites, giving merchants guidance on how to improve checkout conversion, how they rank against competitors and what tangible actions they can take to avoid lost sales.
Where We’re Going (What’s Next)
So far, What’s Next has collected 1.3 million original data points. That’s a lot.
It’s not anywhere near enough, and that database is increasing rapidly as the team continues ongoing data collection efforts and launches new initiatives.
And while we’re U.S.-born, we’re global in both team and scope. What’s Next has fielded from China, Europe, India and Latin America, with a multilingual team and an eye to see how much more of the globe we can track.
Since 2009, PYMNTS has been helping executives and the world with the web’s largest public domain of analysis, data, trackers and multimedia dedicated to a single cause: understanding what’s next in payments and commerce and what to do about it.
“What’s Next Data Analytics builds on the investments we made in building a powerful data analytics team and massive repository of knowledge on the highly dynamic payments and commerce sections,” noted Karen Webster.
Stay tuned. We’ve got so much more to tell you about what’s really going on now and, of course, what’s next.