The next big thing is not often easy to spot.
Sometimes, the thing that everyone sees coming fails to actually show up. Need proof? Check out the PYMNTS/InfoScout mobile wallet adoption numbers and compare them to the more exuberant predictions about Apple Pay in late 2014.
Other times, the next big thing isn’t nearly so obvious, until suddenly it seems to be everywhere. In 2015, mobile order ahead was a novel idea when Starbucks rolled it out. Today, according to the latest edition of the PYMNTS Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, 59 percent of QSR franchise owners surveyed are actively working and investing to up their mobile order-ahead game for consumers.
In light of the future’s murky nature, some of us can – and probably should – refrain from prognosticating. Firms like Worldpay really can’t.
With some 40 billion payment transactions to process annually – spread across more than 300 payment types in 146 countries and 126 currencies – Worldpay’s senior leader for merchant products, Dusty Gomez, told PYMNTS that it’s not enough to think about the “now.” They must also consider how well the current solutions will play with what’s next.
“Technology evolves so quickly these days [that] we have to find ways to keep up with it,” said Gomez. “We are constantly contemplating the evolution of the point of sale and what merchants will need to future-proof those investments and deliver the flexibility and scale that they seek.”
That’s particularly true when building for a large, international and diverse base of business customers, Gomez noted – it’s important to really dial into what merchants are seeking: flexibility and scale.
That push and those requirements, Gomez pointed out, are the cornerstones of Worldpay’s SmartPay series of devices. SmartPay is a single touchpoint payments software platform that runs on a variety of Android-based POS hardware, which Gomez says now also includes an mPOS solution.
Building Better for Expanding Function
Given Android’s position as the largest mobile OS in the world, Gomez said that building these POS systems on the Android operating system gives the individual merchant “maximum choice, with minimum requirements.” That was important to Worldpay, Gomez noted, because the best products from a merchant’s point of view are those that offer the ability to mix and match the hardware types and form factors that best fit their needs.
This mPOS solution, Gomez said, fits that bill. The PAX A920 handheld device works well for restaurants that want to offer table-side payment solutions, and serves as a digital bridge for those same restaurants that might also want to support carryout orders requiring a larger screen and POS base station. Worldpay’s mPOS solution gives those restaurants the ability to sync line-busting and table-side service with the same underlying suite of software and payment services, accommodating the scale and flexibility merchants need.
The Right Infrastructure for Expansion
Thinking about merchant use cases and the need to future-proof, Gomez noted, means thinking beyond the fact that technology and form factors change, advance and expand.
The merchant-user, she said, really needs to be free to set the pace “and continue to grow their store and business as they want to, with the solutions they need.”
That might mean they need a “heavy-duty” PoS system for hardware – or it might mean they need their software updated with the addition of auxiliary services, like apps for employee tracking.
Gomez said those services should be paired with a human touch, which is why she said Worldpay invests in a large “customer concierge team.” Offering merchants a portfolio of scalable tools is only really meaningful if it comes along with the support for using those tools.
“Nobody wants to be left hanging after having just paid for an upgrade that they don’t know how to use,” Gomez said.
As Worldpay prepares for the June launch of the PAX handheld POS device, Gomez said that efforts at future-proofing the offerings will be ongoing.
“Merchants are always under pressure to meet the new and changing demands of their customers,” she said. “And that means we have to be ready to meet their needs – from the biggest to the smallest – since they are evolving right alongside their customers.”