Digital Economy 2019 / Making payments conversational

Making payments conversational

As the high street struggles, retailers are turning towards "conversational" e-commerce to improve revenues and give customers new experiences.

Sangeetha Narasimhan, Marketing Director at Ingenico, says payment processes need to be streamlined to such an extent that customers practically don’t notice them if businesses are to succeed in e-commerce. “It is about finding different ways to put payments on devices, across different channels and making the payments part as invisible as possible,” she told Business Reporter at the FUTR M2020 summit.

Ingenico has been working with Peppera humanoid companion robot designed to recognise and respond to human emotions, to help give consumers a more interactive experience when it comes to paying in store.

“It is a way to entice people into interacting,” says Chris Harvey, Business Development Manager at Ingenico, who was also talking at the summit. “It makes it a bit of fun.”

But actual robots are only part of this trend – chatbots such as WhatsApp and WeChat are also being used .


Grabbing the millennial share

Harvey thinks that using robots and chatbots is also a good way to capture the millennial market. “The younger generation are more tech-savvy – they are likely to be exchanging information about products with their friends,” he says. “We have seen a quite a high adoption of those payment methods.”

Consumers shop by using multiple devices, Narasimhan explains. They might browse and research what they want to buy on their mobiles, but then might go on to make the actual purchase on their desktop or in store. “[Retailers] need to capitalise on that experience and look at how they convert if it is on desktop or in store and then make it easy for them to complete the purchase,” she says.

“We will see more interaction between our phones and payments”

What about the future?

In the future, Harvey thinks the mobile payment experience will take the majority market share. “We will see more interaction between our phones and payments,” he says. “The one thing we have in our pocket all the time is our phone.”

But, he points out, it is a big decision for a retailer to invest time and money in transaction technologies as it is difficult to predict what lies ahead. Five years ago, he says, he was being asked if Bitcoin was going to be used for e-commerce, yet it has still not been adopted on a wide-scale basis for people to make purchases. 

Originally published in BR Online: Digital Economy and IoT • July 2018


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