Money 20/20: Visa’s McInerney on Personalizing the Buying Experience with Mobile (Nov. 4, 2014)
When one thinks of cutting-edge mobile commerce, a butcher shop in the 1980s isn’t likely the first image that comes to mind. But that was the connection made by Visa Inc. President Ryan McInerney, to illustrate what he views as one of the key ways in which mobile has the power to transform commerce—namely, by bringing personalization back to the shopping experience.
In a keynote presentation yesterday at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas, McInerney told of how, as a child growing up in Michigan, he would visit the local butcher with his grandfather every week. “The butcher would have the meat already wrapped up and ready to go because he knew my grandfather came in on Friday afternoons,” McInerney recalled. “And my grandfather didn’t worry about how much money he had in his pocket or if he had his checkbook, because the butcher just put it on his account.” That frictionless, highly personalized experience—which had become a relic—has the potential to return with the rise of mobile commerce, McInerney said. The integration of the existing payment networks and cards with 10 billion mobile devices worldwide (projected to grow fivefold over the next five years) “offers the opportunity to bring consumers experiences that are inherently personal, but also simple, safe and with a little bit of magic,” McInerney said, citing Uber and Square Order as two examples.
But before the full transformative power of mobile commerce can be realized, the inherent barriers between payment cards and mobile devices must be broken down, according to McInerney. Examples of such barriers include the need to manually enter card data into mobile applications, which leads to high levels of shopping cart abandonment. In overcoming these barriers, McInerney cited three current developments that will lead to payment providers and merchants to be able to offer the type of intuitive and safe buying experiences consumers want.
- Tokenization, which provides for safe mobile transactions by replacing account numbers with secure tokens during online transactions.
- Data storage in the cloud, which enables the provisioning and management of credentials in real time. For instance, applying for new cards or replacing lost or expired cards can be done immediately, with new credentials delivered via mobile device.
- Opening of payment networks. Visa and other payment networks are in the process of opening up their platforms, developing APIs and SDKs that can be used by clients to develop new mobile purchasing experiences. For instance, Visa this summer released an SDK to make it easier for developers to embed Visa payWave into their mobile apps.
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