Payments Innovation

Payments 2016: The Year Of The ‘Ecosystem,’ Redefined

Changing Payments Ecosystem

PYMNTS consulted 21 payments executives from across the industry to share their insights on the biggest takeaways from 2016 as part of the “Payments 2016, The Year Of…” eBook. We posed the same question to each executive:

If you had to answer the question, Payments was the year of …, how would you answer, and how does your answer change your world — and the world of payments, more broadly?

Here is the response from Florin Arghirescu, SVP of business relationships and innovation at Synchrony Financial

Payments 2016: The Year Of The “Ecosystem,” Redefined

Technology disruption continued its significant, rapid and relentless journey throughout 2016, making it clear that we are in the midst of three major concurrent inflection points: changes in retail, FinTech disruption and a demographic shift in purchasing power.

Use of technology in retail is no longer a trend, evidenced by a proliferation of solutions in 2016. The number of retailer touch points to engage with consumers is growing, and new experiences are constantly being introduced. The use of deep data science and artificial intelligence (AI) is paving the way for more contextual promotions, virtual reality technologies are becoming more affordable for virtual product demos, and customer experience expectation is driving the need for a more seamless checkout process.

Most of this disruption is driven by the concept of frictionless payments, which has now morphed into customer engagement and how to solve for the entire commerce experience, well beyond specific payment technologies. In 2016, consumers’ acceptance and use of multiple devices for commerce activity grew at a rapid pace. Technology such as voice, buy buttons, home automation and other connected devices led to multiple engagement models without a dominant infrastructure, but rather an ecosystem driven by consumer data, customer experience and use of AI.

The point of sale (POS) is also changing the engagement model. Innovative POS companies like Poynt and Clover are reinventing the most painful point of the shopping experience: the checkout process.

Online and offline worlds have meshed even further and faster where segments like coffee shops and retail are adopting mobile payments capability directly into their native. Retailers’ native applications are expanding, allowing users to engage with the brand and content in-store while enabling targeted and personalized push notifications for repeat visits.

In 2016, retailers adopted the use of multifactor authentication to allow payment authentication via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and others. Retailers are improving the customer experience even further by including in-store mobile self-checkout, which can now complete the physical checkout at a much lower cost while driving a consistent experience in the native application.

The payments ecosystem is being redefined. In a world where new technology becomes available and commoditized quickly, customer experience and agility will drive the transformation of commerce and brand interaction.
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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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