Success and Uncertainty - 12 months in UK eCommerce
1. What were your top 3 highlights in 2018?
2018 was packed with activities for us so it is not easy to pick only 3, but in the end I decided to choose my top 3 because of their strategic importance both last year, and as we move into 2019 and beyond. I think that my first one has to be the launch of Visa Direct as an OCT proposition in the second half of 2018. We are the first acquirer globally to offer Visa Direct in the gambling vertical in the UK and EU. To me, this demonstrated how we lead the way and help revolutionise the way the gambling industry process pay-outs to punters. Visa Direct is being rolled out by Visa across the world and I expect to see a significant uptake by issuers during 2019. Ultimately, I believe, this will result in a better customer experience, faster processing and a positive impact on acceptance rate.
The second highlight for me is our Rethink customer event in Barcelona in September. I have been attending this event since its inception and, in my opinion, they keep on getting better in both attendance and quality. This year there have been so many interesting conversations with different customers from different verticals. It was great to hear ideas and thoughts being shared, on customers’ existing payment infrastructure, with a focus on the upcoming regulatory changes with PSD2 and strong customer authentication in 2019.
And last, but not least, we now have customers live on our New Acquiring Platform (NAP). We have switched some of our global merchants over to our new acquiring platform during the second half of 2018.
2. Worldpay merged with Vantiv earlier this year, to become one of the world’s largest acquirers. What are some of the benefits that got customers excited in the UK?
The most obvious benefit is the access that our UK merchants now have to the US market. They can now utilise the range of best in class features that are part of our new value proposition; from the range of products to the market understanding and the ability to optimise cost benefits and acceptance rates. For me what stands above that is the merger of leading teams and the ability to collaborate globally - resulting in an improved proposition that ultimately benefits our customers. I have seen it already through the joint work we’ve undertaken to understand the transaction flow for our airlines vertical, through to the collaboration in creating a global gambling proposition.
3. There’s obviously a lot of uncertainty around the UK economy. How can UK merchants minimise the risk to their international sales?
It is critical merchants work with their payment provider, and share their future road maps, including the markets that they are interested in pursuing. That way, they can ensure they have the right payment options available in those markets. It is also important to understand the corporate structure of the merchant, so that they can structure their payment flow to maximise the opportunity both for cost effectiveness and improved acceptance rate.
The discussion with their payment providers is even more critical now with Brexit deadline looming to ensure that theirs and or their payment provider’s structure is ready for any possible changes. We are putting a great deal of effort in ensuring that we communicate with our customers on regular basis with regards to our preparations to both Brexit and PSD2 as we want to reassure our customers that we are prepared for any eventuality.
"There is a lot of focus in the region on the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and the challenges that this is going to bring in 2019."
4. Which UK merchants are doing interesting things?
There is a lot of focus in the region on the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and the challenges that this is going to bring in 2019. There are a lot of very interesting initiatives and conversations where leading merchants are trying to use this as an opportunity to position themselves against their competitors, by trying to ensure they maintain as frictionless a process as possible to their consumer.
5. Which global markets do you think offer the biggest opportunity for eCommerce?
For customers in the UK region I think that looking beyond Europe is important, especially with Brexit looming. It is hard to give a generic answer here without taking into account the unique opportunities and challenges that customers in different verticals have. The easy ones are going to be the English speaking markets because they require less effort from set up point of view (even if they can prove more challenging logistically) and they are also markets where we can help customers expand, utilising our existing capabilities. So, it’s mainly the US and Australia
I think that LATAM and APAC are the key regions where many of our merchants have relatively smaller market share but require a greater monetary commitment to set up and promote. Again, with our localised teams in these regions, we’re ideally placed to help our customers optimise opportunities here.
6. eWallets are now the 2nd most popular eCommerce payment method in the UK. What should merchants be doing to ensure they maximise this opportunity?
Merchants have to make sure that they have their payment pages optimised to the different devices that consumers use. It’s also key they have the ability to update and add new payment methods quickly, so that they can ensure they are ahead of the curve and not lagging behind. We see many merchants struggling to adopt to at the pace that their consumers expect them to, because of lack of technological capabilities.
7. What are the top priorities payment managers should focus on in their 2019 strategy?
It’s impossible to talk about 2019 strategy without mentioning Brexit. Whilst we still don’t know what will be the impact of Brexit, merchants need to have a plan in place for any eventuality with the ability to move fast, potentially very fast!
You also can’t ignore PSD2 and SCA. Merchants have to understand the impact that this can have on their business. They need to have the right conversations internally as well as with their acquirer. Merchants need to ensure that their fraud rates are under control, as well as understand the impact that the changes can have on their consumers and their experience.
8. What are you most excited about for 2019?
2019 is promising to be a year of change in the UK and Europe with Brexit and PSD2 these are transformational events that have the potential of huge impact on our lives in general, how we do business and more specifically how businesses and consumers transact across the region. This undoubtedly brings many challenges with it but also great opportunities, here at Worldpay we are well positioned to lead the way in helping our customers to adjust to the new payments landscape as it evolves.
And finally, there are some great discussion taking place across the region that will see us adding some great names to our customer base over the next 12 months.
2019 promising to be an exciting year for UK eCommerce merchants. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business please get in touch today.