CH: You have encapsulated this vision of unified commerce. What does it mean for us as consumers who are now going back into stores and going back into shopping physically?
EV: Looking at the online space, retailers are typically very focused on getting their first sale with a consumer, and building a relationship from there: for instance through storing their card on file, or creating a personal profile and attaching loyalty rewards to that. Doing that across different channels is really effective, and requires a single backend system in our view.
Some bricks-and-mortar retailers having gone fully online during the pandemic, and shoppers are now gradually returning to their point-of-sale or physical spaces. Being able to recognize shoppers during this transition, and making sure that they can still pay in the way they prefer – maybe allowing them to collect points, while continuing to build on the relationship that has been built over to over the past period – is really powerful.
One of the things we’ve discussed is how consumer behaviour may have shifted. A year ago, some consumers were already e-commerce natives, but a lot of shoppers would have still preferred physical stores as the only option. Basically, all consumers have now built experiences with online shopping – and they will probably expect to keep the convenience factor when they go back to physical stores. Each retailer has been thinking through how to get a consumer into a store in a convenient way, and how to make sure that the store continues to add value for their brand.
CH: And lastly, I know you've been thinking hard, as all of us have, about how do we return to the office. What does that look like and what role does technology play? Could you share with us a little bit about what you're thinking at Adyen, because it’s really thoughtful.
EV: What we always try to do is ask – a lot! – for feedback. First of all, from the merchants we work with, who define everything we build, and second of all, by including our colleagues globally (we now have 24 offices), making sure that we get a lot of different perspectives on the same idea.
Now that everyone is in a work-from-home situation – at least in most countries – this has been quite an equalizer in a way: everyone is just one click away. It doesn't matter who's in the office, you need to reach out anyway, over the phone or over one of the video tools. And that's a very easy way to include other perspectives. It’s happened numerous times to me: you're in a chat with someone, let's say from the U.K., and you add someone from Singapore into the same conversation, just to get a completely different view. And that's definitely something we want to keep, now that the offices are slowly reopening.
The office will have a very clear purpose – we’re a big believer in the dynamic and energy that an office environment gives to teams. But there are also many benefits around the technology and habits that have been developed. We need to be careful not to go back a couple of years, but really use the best tools available. There's actually quite a parallel, I think, with payments.
Behaviours and expectations shift – and technology is the enabler to get the best out of every scenario.
Charlotte Hogg is Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer for Visa’s European Operations. Previously, Charlotte served as Deputy Governor and Chief Operating Officer for the Bank of England, and led retail distribution for Santander in the UK. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a B.A. in Economics and History and was a Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar at Harvard University.
Edgar Verschuur is Head of Global Acquiring for Adyen, focusing on geographical expansion, product innovation and operational excellence for Adyen full-stack platform. Before joining the company in 2015, Edgar worked on payments consulting projects in the Netherlands and UAE. He holds a BSc. in Applied Physics and a MSc in Management of Technology, both from Delft University of Technology.
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1Approximate figure which comes from the analysis of anonymized data from Adyen’s global payment platform comparing unified commerce performance in Q1 2019 with Q1 2020.
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