Make Way for the Movers and Shakers of 2015

By Oren Levy | 15 January 2015

Where are the biggest opportunities in retail, payments, and fintech?

This year has seen major advances in financial technology (“fintech”), retail globalisation, and payments technology, to name a few. It is a great time to take a look at some of the important developments in 2014 and try to analyse how they might impact the world of payments and retail in 2015 and beyond.

Payment Solution to Watch: Apple Pay

Even leading up to its announcement, Apple Pay dominated payments news coverage across both mainstream and trade media. This is not the first year we’ve read predictions of the coming year finally heralding long-anticipated mobile payments adoption. As 2014 comes to a close, however, Apple Pay is giving mobile payments proponents hope for 2015.

The big questions for the coming year will be: is the media hype around Apple Pay warranted, and will the solution get widely adopted? If Apple seeks to become a force in the mobile payments industry, Apple Pay will have to become more versatile: at this point, Apple Pay only works on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Apple will have to bring its payment technology to other mobile devices – iOS-based and otherwise – if it hopes to increase consumer usage and merchant acceptance.

Business Growth Facilitator in 2015: Global Reach

International e-commerce has grown over the last few years, but merchants will need to look beyond their own borders to grow their businesses and stay competitive in 2015 and beyond. Cross-border opportunities will become more strategic in 2015 as it gets easier to reach consumers worldwide.  Single’s Day, the Chinese shopping holiday, proved that the results of reaching out to consumers internationally can be rewarding: this year alone, spending for that day surpassed Thanksgiving weekend sales by over 8 billion dollars.

As e-commerce increases merchants’ global reach, they should get smarter about the geographic variations in payment methods. Consumers in China are using Alipay, while Yandex is popular in Russia, and Boleto is the preferred payment method in Brazil. As China, Russia, and Brazil continue to emerge as strategic markets for international commerce in 2015, more merchants will attempt to integrate these and other payment options into their e-commerce offerings to accommodate foreign consumers.

Entering 2015, merchants need to be aware of both the international retail opportunities and options for payment methods and e-wallets worldwide, and offer an easy and effective experience for all users to maximise global potential in 2015.

Regulatory Changes on the Horizon: EMV in the U.S.

While consumers worldwide are exploring alternative payment methods, credit card options in the United States will be changing in 2015 as the long-awaited October 2015 EMV liability shift deadline fast approaches. In 2014, EMV received a lot of media attention due to a number of highly publicised data breaches in United States. With so many consumers affected, merchants are racing to deploy EMV standard terminals and financial institutions are preparing to issue cards with EMV chips.

In 2015, attention will shift away from the major breaches and focus more on the practicalities of implementing EMV on time. Although I doubt that all U.S. merchants and issuers will be able to fully integrate EMV in time for the October deadline, it will be interesting to see how many make it a priority and which ones fail to comprehend the ROI of upgrading.

Biggest 2014 Trend Developing in 2015: Omni-Channel Retail

After years of speculation about the future of digital and physical commerce, 2014 was the year that omni-channel retail emerged as a viable option for merchants. While many are still trying to understand and implement it, this trend will surely continue to come into focus in 2015 and be integrated by more retailers.

Major U.S. brands such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and American Eagle Outfitters, as well as international chains, have already integrated omni-channel strategies to offer consistent and personalised brand experiences online and in-store. As more retailers appreciate and offer omni-channel experiences, the technology will become more sophisticated. I expect newer technologies will focus on integrating users’ mobile devices into the in-store and on-the-go shopping experiences. E-commerce sites will be optimised for more comfortable mobile use, so that consumers can shop on their couches, in-store, or in transit. By strengthening the mobile channel, merchants can create a more seamless and consistent cross-channel shopping experience, using the devices that shoppers favor.

Personally, I’m hoping this year’s developments in omni-channel technology result in more diverse payment options. In-store tablets are already enabling self-checkout or home delivery. It will be interesting to see if this is the year that beacons will push checkout pages directly to users’ phones or whether more retailers will deploy terminals which are not only EMV-compliant, but also NFC-enabled to make mobile payments via any mobile wallet more appealing and accessible.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you are expecting from Fintech in 2015.

By Oren Levy, CEO and co-founder,  Zooz

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