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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 11, 2013 • Issue 13:11:01

Money2020 and the fast-changing payments world

By Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

The Money2020 conference held in Las Vegas in October 2013 hosted a new ecosystem at the convergence of payments, financial services, retail, mobile, marketing, data, technology and more. The event highlighted profound changes underway that will greatly affect how consumers and businesses manage, spend and borrow money.

The five-day conference, only in its second year, drew 4,200 attendees, including 300 chief executive officers from more than 1,500 companies and 60 countries. The Aria Resort & Casino offered top-notch meeting and convention facilities, along with superb hotel, dining and entertainment amenities, that fostered a stimulating learning and networking environment.

Keynotes were delivered by familiar and predictable titans, as well as new-guard technology companies. Conference sessions covered a wide range of topics categorized into various informational tracks, including aligning ecosystems; research and market-centric views; the entrepreneurial edge; empowered consumers; banking and money management; retail 3.0 – the mobile-enabled commerce experience; checkout and payment innovations; sharing, giving and gifting; and borrowing.

The Launchpad360° sessions resembled reality television's Shark Tank, giving startups six minutes in front of venture capitalists to "pitch their wares" in an attempt to seek funding and a few moments of notoriety. Matt Harris, Managing Director of Bain Capital Ventures and moderator of the Launchpad360° sessions, tweeted during the event, "Money2020 is the Hunger Games of payments."

A mix of newbie startups and industry stalwarts exhibited in the tradeshow area. More than 100 traditional exhibit booths and 70-plus vendor kiosks vied for attendee attention. Predictably, smartphone and tablet mobile solutions were in abundance.

Golden nuggets of learning

Here are some insights I extracted from the conference:

  • Payment processing is rapidly changing from its own ecosystem to become part of a larger shopper-experience.
  • Nontraditional players of all types and sizes are rapidly forging interconnectivity with POS solutions.
  • Creative entrepreneurs – using connected devices, the cloud and big data – are devising new business models that directly reach merchants.
  • The days of simply selling credit card processing or selling on price are long gone. ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) must offer solutions that encompass payments and help merchants acquire and retain customers.
  • Channels are being disintermediated by new players selling directly to merchants, making ISOs and MLSs obsolete unless they bundle real business solutions with payment processing. Disruptors including Silicon Valley tech companies and retailers themselves.
  • Complexity in new solutions prevents adoption, while complexity in old solutions presents opportunity.
  • Simplicity, convenience, addressability, security, privacy and compliance are key to adoption of significant change.
  • Innovation is not about a series of incremental advances to make things marginally better. It requires a different mindset to create something truly superior. Taking friction out of the payment process is the focal point for much of today's innovation.
  • "Coopetition," which involves competitors collaborating on a common goal, will enable rapid development and rollout of innovation.
  • Demand is growing for omnichannel retailing capabilities that combine traditional countertop and mobile POS functions, plus e-commerce and m-commerce.
  • Access to big data and analytics tools are becoming essential for retailers to interpret trends and make strategic business decisions. Opportunity abounds in providing, analyzing and delivering data to retailers to improve the shopping experience and drive revenue.
  • Payment providers must expand beyond traditional open-loop models to play in the new order where transaction data is paramount.
  • Real-time, card-linked promotions at the POS have the potential to unseat today's deals and discounts and loyalty card reward programs.

Money2020 provided a glimpse of the future with many players and technologies posturing to dominate marketplace acceptance. Those who embrace change and innovation will position themselves well, and those who don't may face extinction. end of article

Peggy Bekavac Olson is founder and principal of Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payments. She serves on the Board of the Women's Network in Electronic Payments and on the Program Planning and Communications Committees for the Electronic Transactions Association. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or peggyolson@smktg.com. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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