SxSW

SxSW

According to a presentation on the latest SXSW event given by Emmanuel Fraysse  at Axance, three trends in retail innovation are making waves in the transaction ecosystem.

First, experience design, which emphasizes the user experience as the central part of a purchase operation, is becoming more widespread. When it comes to transactions, this means the transaction must flow naturally and in a transparent way that is always perfectly adapted to the situation. The operation then becomes a “non-event” because the user does not have to make any special effort, and it does not interfere with the act of making a purchase or looking for information. In contrast, as it currently stands in Europe, and especially in the context of EMV, the act of paying is like a “tunnel” requiring the user’s undivided attention. To pay with a chip card, for example, the consumer has to find the card, insert it, enter a PIN, remove the card and finally put it away. In e-commerce, Europe favors security over convenience, and considers 3-D Secure the standard to adopt. Across the pond, approaches favoring smooth transactions are preferred, and security measures are implemented downstream of the transaction chain.

Experience design is key to overcoming the transaction challenges of tomorrow. We are moving from a world in which electronic banking actors define how consumers can pay to one where the consumers themselves decide how they want to pay. Users can decide whether or not to pay with a card, phone or dedicated device. This choice could be based on security (real or perceived), the services that accompany the transaction, or even just convenience.

In the second trend, we see that data are now driving customer relationships. The exclusive preserve of merchants, customer information is coveted by all actors involved in the transaction. This is why Apple rolled out a loyalty program, and Android Pay does not charge a fee but instead aims to create value by collecting…data. What is more, the main difference between all the new devices that can be used for payment (e.g. mobile phones, watches) lies in their frequent daily use, whereas the means of payment are only used occasionally (once or twice per day).

Finally, the third trend builds around the frictionless experience that initiatives such as Amazon Dash aim to create as they make their way into the most mundane parts of daily life. A combination of data and experience design, this trend allows consumers to customize and perform transactions outside of the usual transaction context of a POS or screen. The transaction can freely take place wherever the user most needs the service, for example in the kitchen, on the street, or while on public transportation.

As these trends continue to gain speed in the transaction ecosystem, we need a new term that describes them all at once… Why not Natural Security?