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Posted September 08, 2020 by FreedomPay

Struggling to Get Executive Buy-In for Business Intelligence? Five Ways to Get the C-Suite on Your Side

Here are 5 ways to convince stakeholders of Business Intelligence benefits

Securing C-level commitment for tech-investment is always a challenge. Strategic priorities, like business intelligence often get pushed off the board agenda by short-term challenges and stakeholder pain-points.

In some cases, it is simply hard to make them understand the competitive advantages of business intelligence. It is not a new IT-fad, the icing on their ‘digital-transformation-cake’, or a ‘nice to have’.  Instead it is now a critical requirement for all businesses that want to respond quickly to change – a prerequisite for survival in a post COVID-19 world. 

In fact, the right business intelligence solution can not only make businesses more successful but can also provide the insight they need to make many of the board’s operational headaches disappear.

What’s preventing the C-suite seeing business intelligence potential?

It may simply be a case of baggage – especially if they have had a bad business intelligence experience in their current role or in a previous organization. They may be anxious about poor ROI, failure to meet expectation, lack of in-house expertise, or creaking legacy systems. Perhaps the company already has a business intelligence system, but it may be outdated and with limited functionality.

They may also be unaware of current business intelligence advancements. These days, next level business intelligence solutions offer near real-time intelligence and rapid return on investment. Deployment over-the-cloud is fast and simple and integrated dashboards and tools make them easier to use and link to martech, finance and logistics.

So how do you shift the decision-maker mindset and build a winning case for business intelligence?

Here are five ways to bring business intelligence benefits to life:

1. Paint a new reality
Start by showing the board what a new, truly data-driven future looks like – and remind them that other organizations are already there. Then explain why your legacy platform simply can’t match this new ambition. Make it clear it is about taking the huge amounts of real-time data (SKU-level data) they already have and making it work even harder.

2. Fast-forward expectation
Old legacy business intelligence systems processed data in batches, so intelligence was historic. With a real-time business intelligence platform, you can move the clock forward and start making decisions based on real-time data. Ask your C-team if they are happy knowing what customers, resources and stock were like yesterday when they could see how things are across their operations, right now, today?

3. Secure a smooth business intelligence partner
Reduce decision-friction by making the business intelligence journey as smooth as possible. That means making sure you choose a partner with the expertise to set KPI, SLAs and ROI right from the start. They can help minimize disruption, optimize return and provide a migration path that lets you wrap around all your existing technology stacks (Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing etc.), and integrate third party data as well.

4. Create compelling use cases
Focus on areas that are important for your business and are already on the management agenda. Whether that’s getting customers to choose short-life or high-volume stock items, encouraging upselling, reducing queues and walk-aways, enabling in-the-moment personalized push-offers, keeping track of partner franchise operations, spotting fraudsters faster, or building feedback loops to support better product development. There is a myriad of ways to highlight the value of a new business intelligence system – just make sure they’re relevant! 

5. Show it is easy to get and share
Finally, illustrate how easy it is to get from ‘theory’ to ‘reality’. And emphasize that their buy-in and commitment is the first step to get there. Reassure them by demonstrating the dashboards, customizable fields and automated reports that help them dig deep into their business – across channels, locations, partners, and parameters. Let them see how easy it is to get the exact information they need and to share it with others.

To discover more about bringing the benefits of business intelligence to life for your C-suite, download our latest whitepaper: How to Unify Commerce Data into Actionable Next Level Business Intelligence

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Posted August 19, 2020 by FreedomPay

Colleges and Universities Welcome Back Students with Touchless Commerce

Colleges and Universities are beginning to welcome students back to campus. Now, more than ever, safety is a top priority. While most top colleges and universities are outfitting their classrooms, dining halls, bookstores and stadiums to accommodate social distancing, many are going a step further by updating outdated commerce technology to vastly improve the safety of the ordering and checkout experience.

Student on campus

With this in mind, FreedomPay is partnering with top fintech service providers and ISV’s to introduce its Touchless Commerce program. The program helps merchants identify solutions that minimize contact during the checkout process. Touchless Commerce solutions provide colleges and universities with a payment experience that is both safe and secure; and may include the use of contactless cards, mobile apps, Apple Pay, Google Pay, eCommerce, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Additionally, FreedomPay provides merchants with the ability to promote touchless payment acceptance right on the device screen. This encourages adoption and underscores a commitment to safety, as students and faculty don’t have to physically press any buttons or swipe a card in order to pay, reducing potential harmful exposure to COVID-19.

North Carolina State University is taking their commerce solutions and campus safety to the Next Level with FreedomPay’s Touchless Commerce program. Students and faculty making purchases at NC State will be instantly presented with contactless payment acceptance messaging right at the point of sale, encouraging a safer, and swifter, way to pay.

“NC State is looking forward to welcoming students back to campus, but with that comes the responsibility of keeping our students and faculty safe,” said Chris Dunham, Systems Administrator at North Carolina State University. “With FreedomPay’s Touchless Commerce program, students can pay safely through a series of touchless and contactless methods and will also be reminded of these options right at the point of payment.”

Contact us to learn how introducing Touchless Commerce can take you to the safer Next Level.

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Posted July 22, 2020 by FreedomPay

Business Intelligence: Actionable Commerce Data

Why millions of merchants fail to manage and optimize their Business Intelligence

1. Stay on top of customer demands

With enhanced Business Intelligence and smarter understanding of transaction-level data, merchants can improve their visibility of product cycles. This is essential for reducing waste, streamlining business operations and reducing costs. Enabling smarter business intelligence is a great way to boost profitability without impacting service quality or user choice.

In today’s world advanced machine learning and modern tech is emerging to make understanding customer demands in near real-time easier. This revolution in Business Intelligence means that management and optimization of data will become second nature; it will be simple, just plug-in and play.

It will have a profound effect on strategic business decisions and for the end user.

2. Why should businesses boost promotion and cross-selling

Product-level insight enables businesses to improve market basket analysis and unlock previously unseen cross-selling opportunities. It is also more straightforward to analyse the impact of promotions and loyalty incentives more effectively. The results will predict and influence future behavior.

3. What can merchants do to exploit near real-time data to keep ahead of competitors

With near real-time data on products and stock units, businesses can also flag important trends as they happen. It suddenly becomes a lot easier to initiate a fast response to optimise an opportunity. Overall predictive services will be more accurate, and the business can operate initiatives like dynamic pricing strategies more effectively.

4. Build Business Intelligence feedback loops to support product development

Transaction-powered Business Intelligence that’s full of stock-keeping unit data gives businesses better visibility of factors like product performance, trends, and insights. With this kind of understanding, businesses can manage and market product offerings based on greater insights. They can also develop new products, create new product bundles and ultimately generate sharp uplifts in revenue. But surprisingly 87% of companies do not have business intelligence capabilities and tools.

5. Capture unexpected events and prevent fraud

Near real-time transactional data doesn’t just help businesses establish patterns for ‘typical’ behavior or product demand cycles. It also helps spot unexpected events, making it much easier to identify fraudulent activity. Equally, this capability can be used to catch and react quickly to a sudden spike in demand.

6. Learn how to explore fresh outlooks with third-party data

Finally, you can also synchronize your transactional data with other third-party data to achieve richer and contextualized analysis. Businesses can overlay transactional data with a third-party weather app to find out if the weather is triggering sales behaviors. Ultimately, you can use this kind of analysis to predict demand, drive seasonal promotion campaigns, and achieve a new level of profitability and efficiency.

To talk about how Business Intelligence can be used for your enterprise, or to discover more about Next Level Commerce™ click here.  

Business Intelligence Solution with transactional data report

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Posted May 21, 2020 by FreedomPay

How to Protect Your Customers with Touchless Commerce

As global consumers are changing their daily behaviors to adhere to social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, businesses, too, are being forced to reimagine operations and change how they reach and sell to their customer base. This unprecedented crisis has created major changes in the way we buy and sell goods, and for many merchants and customers, this means technology innovation is now a priority.

Businesses, especially fine dining and quick service restaurants have shifted gears quickly to ensure they are meeting the needs of their valued customers. Many restaurants are now taking advantage of Touchless Commerce, offering mobile ordering and pickup options to eliminate contact but also streamline delivery and service times.

To make the process even more frictionless, restaurants are implementing, and recommending, the use of contactless payments when placing a pickup or delivery order. Portable payment terminals can accept payment curbside safely and securely, allowing customers to complete payment by accessing digital wallets on their smart phones or tap their contactless card.

Mobile and eCommerce transactions enable the same swiftness and ease, with a customized, uninterrupted checkout flow that can be made quick and seamless by enabling digital wallets. Undoubtedly, contactless, mobile, and eCommerce payments provide vast benefits to the customer including convenience, flexibility, and top-notch security.

In just a matter of weeks, the effects of COVID-19 have forced businesses and restaurants to re-evaluate in-house operations and digitally transform to meet their customer’s needs. With the buying and selling of goods and services happening predominantly online to promote social distancing practices, we have quickly become a marketplace powered by eCommerce. But what are the long-term social implications of these practices? Will online purchasing and mobile payments become our new standard of shopping and dining? How will businesses respond to the explosion of online living?

As we pivot to a highly tech-focused consumer world, the push to order and pay online or through mobile has become engrained in our daily activity. It is anticipated that in a post- COVID-19 world businesses will continue to supplement their daily operations with fast and frictionless payment technology. The opportunities in promoting a consumer-centric experience driven by technology are untapped and this is just the beginning!

Read the original article here.

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Posted January 30, 2020 by FreedomPay

What Does the Future Hold for Self-Service Kiosks?

Kiosks can be used in more places and do much more than ever before – from fast food ordering in restaurants (e.g. McDonald’s) to integrated transport and entertainment ticketing.

Devices are now more robust and resilient and, as a result, are popping up in more locations. Kiosks are now being developed as hyper-efficient, with low energy requirements and instant sleep/wake up modes, some even offer solar-powered options that allow them to operate off-grid.

Kiosks come in all shapes and size too, with a whole raft of integrated features and functionality including touch screens, full-color displays, multimedia, voice activation and more. The one common capability they share, however, is that they can accept payment whether it be by card, contactless, and even by mobile.

Technology is reimagining unattended payments

Kiosks will have to work harder to deliver what modern retailers need (new revenue opportunity) and what consumers want (even more convenience). Luckily the technology needed to facilitate this is already here.

We now have internet-enabled kiosks, supported by managed platforms and run from integrated connected gateways, using cloud-based services. These are opening new opportunities and functionality for kiosks. Here’s a taster of what’s in store:

• Tokenization will play a star role

Kiosk owners need ways of letting customers feel in control of their experience but still being able to ‘connect’ with them. Increasingly, tokens will be used to customize the consumer’s journey and encourage uplift in sales by pushing real-time promotions and loyalty incentives.

• Kiosks will power cross-brand/location marketing

By using payment gateways to pick up tokens, retailers will be able to follow consumers outside their own channels and across multiple-brand journeys, creating ‘bundled’ experiences. For instance, a car park ticketing machine could alert nearby retailers and restaurants when a visitor arrives so that they can send an automated email, text or proximity alert for local offers and promotions to their mobile phone.

• Connected platforms will deliver hybrid virtual/physical services

Self-service installations will increasingly be used to straddle digital and physical worlds and provide hybrid services. Internet connectivity and touch screens allow users to browse inventory as well as order, pay, and redeem available rewards. Add-on devices and AI could be used to enhance the consumer’s experience, for instance, virtual mirrors for fashion and cosmetics.

• Smart kiosks will respond to real-time shopping patterns

Connected installations mean that data, software, and updates can be delivered to kiosks remotely, enabling retailers to be more in control and responsive to customer needs. With insights from kiosk-generated real-time reports, retailers can customize services remotely by switching functionality on and off and adding new features to reflect local trends, seasonal patterns, special events, etc.

• New self-serve ecosystems will embrace third party content and apps

There’s a real opportunity for kiosks to deliver multi-brand services making them important new revenue streams for their owners. Third-party content and advertising can already be enabled by platforms such as FreedomPay’s DecisionPoint Network (DPN). With new commerce platforms, providing separate environments for coding, testing and experimenting with external apps, we could soon see kiosks enriched with customer-facing services – e.g. concierge, curators, maps and travel guides.

Thanks to new platforms and technologies, it’s clear that kiosks now have the potential to become an integral part of the omnichannel sales experience and an important gateway to the new collaborative digital service ecosystem of the future.

 

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Posted January 24, 2020 by FreedomPay

Navigating the Payment Gateway Ecosystem

We live in an open world – open for choice, collaboration, and opportunity. Being open involves connecting and networking in new ways and in the context of the retail environment, that means building and growing new ecosystems.

While most are familiar with the ecosystems that already exist between retailers, acquirers, and banks, a new set of digital and cloud-based ecosystems continue to emerge that delivers a plethora of next-generation, value-added services straight to the point of sale (POS) or online checkout. At the heart of this is the commerce and payment gateways that act as central hubs, linking the various data flows and platforms within expanding retail ecosystems.

It’s time to rethink gateways.

The concept of the commerce gateway as a doorway to an exciting ‘plug and play’ service playground is still new to many retailers. To help them navigate their way through the complexity, we’ve put together a quick guide to help them understand the changing role of the payment gateway in facilitating these new ecosystems:

 

  • Expanding portfolio of APIs and Toolkits

Gateways now offer powerful APIs that allow merchants to connect with thousands of third party scripts and shopping carts while also aiding the development of new applications through toolkits and plug-ins, developer portals and sandpits. With these added APIs, retailers can create their own subscription services, on-demand marketplaces, or even crowdfunding platforms using a range of development languages, including Ruby, Python, PHP, and Java. Some gateways will also support hundreds of currencies and offer features such as mobile payments, subscription billing, and one-click checkout.

 

  • Fast to market plug-and-play marketplaces

Payment gateways are increasingly offering access to their own pre-built app marketplaces – packed with third party offerings that can be used to enrich retailers’ checkouts – from loyalty gamification and e-charity donations to bill splitting and currency conversion. These can dramatically reduce the time to market of launching new POS services, allowing merchants to browse, choose and deploy apps instantly, or remove them, as consumer and market needs dictate. In this way, they can try-out, evaluate and opt for the best service apps for their audiences without committing to long-term lock-in.

 

  • Secure access and sharing

Modern commerce platforms can separate out payment transactions from service platforms, to ensure that sensitive payment data is never compromised within the ecosystem. Equally important is their ability to deliver multiple user support and logins so that service teams and other business functions (including accounts and compliance) can access reports and specifically authorized features. It goes without saying that these also ensure a visible audit trail that links specific actions to authorized users. In addition, gateways can also provide custom security settings as well as anti-fraud capabilities to ensure that the transaction path is secure at all times, protecting against fines, fees, and chargebacks.

 

  • Tracking complex customer journeys

To aid targeting, personalization and more effective loyalty incentives, offers and promotions, it makes sense to be able to track customers and their journeys across retail ecosystems – between brands, channels, and locations. The gateway can aid this using tokenization, to ‘follow’ the customer through various journeys by allowing payment methods to be linked to transaction activity. Through data anonymization, information such as what, when, where, and how purchases and interactions were made can be shared across functions and brands within the ecosystem, without compromising sensitive cardholder or payment data.

 

  • Relationships must be reengineered, too

From Alibaba and Amazon, the development of the retail marketplace as an aggregated website is reshaping the global definition of the retailer and the sales ecosystem. Brands are now squeezing their way in between retailers and their customers, particularly in new e-marketplaces inclusive of review sites and comparison sites, payment providers, loyalty apps, returns companies, influencers, and social media.

 

Retailers can’t afford to wait for the customer to be ready to purchase their product, they need to get closer to them before they decide to buy. Owning or running a commerce gateway allows retailers to build their own ecosystems that put customers’ desires and needs first by enabling them to find new ways to interact (content marketing, geolocation and push services) and to personalize experiences.

Check out our blogs on DPN, tokenization and business intelligence for more ideas on how to fast-track to success!

 

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Posted January 15, 2020 by FreedomPay

Giving Gen Z and Millennials More at the Point of Sale

Consumers in the U.S are growing increasingly frustrated at the slow progress that has been made in addressing the acceleration of technology at the point of sale. Whether it be unclear or inconsistent messaging (e.g., contactless), disjointed back-end systems, rapidly evolving and expanding payment options, or a continued lack of properly implemented payment security solutions – consumers do not appreciate, and will not remain loyal to, ‘the friction.’  A void quickly being filled by the Amazon(s) of the world, who can provide a complete end-to-end ecosystem of capabilities with a frictionless consumer experience, this poses an existential commercial problem for other businesses.

No matter the size of merchant, the challenge to serve the tech savvy consumer is becoming increasing complex.  Demand for more innovative user experiences, seamlessly integrated back-end systems, and easier and faster ways to pay for goods and services is a daily challenge, continually increasing the level of system disparity and fragmentation.  This means that the biggest issue facing merchants is how they upgrade and sync complex legacy payment tech systems to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.  In other words, businesses must futureproof their payment technology to enable growth.

FreedomPay is leading the debate on this new world of data driven customer-centric commerce and for the hundreds of companies who work with us, it’s about overcoming the payment data and digital infrastructure challenges. Those who’ve tackled this successfully know they will deliver growth in 2020 and beyond.

That said, thousands of businesses still need help with their payment options, legacy technology and internal data. This new research uncovers and quantifies the significant impact technology is having at the point of sale both for the merchant and the customer and the disparate behaviors when buying goods and services.

Our research has found that security remains a key concern when considering new technology payments and methods. And yet, there is no doubt that the adoption of new technology, if implemented correctly, will reduce risk and compliance issues.

The use of contactless and mobile wallets in North America will accelerate. Just look at what’s happening in other parts of the world such as Europe and so, we believe the time is now right for change. Businesses will thrive when they focus on the customer and deliver a truly holistic approach to payments.

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Posted November 20, 2019 by FreedomPay

The Rapid & Changing World of Commerce Platforms as a Service

The world of commerce platforms now expands beyond transactional payments—information is king! Host Tyler Kern and Barry Stearn, director of partner success for Europe’s division of FreedomPay, discussed emerging payment trends, and how this fast-evolving landscape is becoming more complex.

“Payments has become really an information business,” said Stearn. “Yes, there is a transactional exchange, there is a packet of data that passes from the merchant through to the processor for authorization…but built in that consumer journey, look at all the elements that exist around that process.”

Stearn went on to explain how the back end-data engine can help businesses, e.g. the service industry, capitalize on the many customer interactions at those establishments.

“At Freedom Pay, we have the ability not only to capture information at the point of sale around what that loyal customer is buying, we can also build out an analytical token of said consumer profile,” Stearn said.

This securely stored environment allows the client to better understand who their loyal customer is, and to properly market offers and promotions that make sense.

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Posted November 13, 2019 by Bernard Clary

Recapturing Hospitality’s Magic Moments

There’s a magical moment in every really good hospitality experience where a customer thinks “these guys really get me”. The winning formula for anyone involved in the customer experience is that instant connection that not only seals the deal or purchase but leads to unquestionable loyalty.

The personal experience

Everyone appreciates the personal touch. Whether it’s a local barista remembering your regular order, a restaurant that knows you by name and your favorite table, or a hotel concierge that opens the door on arrival.

Replicating these small, highly personal moments, takes more than a responsive website, a cool app or an e-loyalty program. It takes a deep understanding of the individuals experience and their likes and dislikes.

In the face-to-face world this involves a two-way dialogue, personal interaction and engaging conversations. In the digital world, this is harder to achieve.

Combatting disconnect
The so called ‘uberization’ of the hospitality business (via remote, automated systems, mobile and web services) is perhaps in danger of reducing some customer interaction to ‘dumb’ transactions that take hotels, F&B, entertainment  and travel operators even further away from delivering the unique experiences they need to compete effectively.

But all is not lost. By integrating a data-driven smart commerce platform to include secure switching, real-time data, tokenization, and marketing opportunities  solutions, hospitality companies of all sizes can recapture those highly personal and magical moments.

How to deliver the personalized service

A data-commerce platform can generate and store transactional ‘tokens’. These can be used to identify and follow the customer on their sales journeys, tracking their spending and allowing insights to be collected and reused by functions including CRM and logistics.  Basically, acting as an identity broker to track consumers across different technology assets.

This gives businesses a 3600 view of the customer across channels, locations and brands. It allows them to share that visibility, in order to connect-the-dots internally, so they can achieve the ultimate goal – turning transactions into relationships.

The customer journey

So, how does all of this translate into a better valued experience for the customer?  In the simplest of terms, with a data-commerce deployment model, customers could expect to hear “yes” much more often: “Like to pay by mobile? No problem!”, “Prefer to be charged in a local currency? “Of course!”, “Want to use your loyalty points to upgrade and pay in our restaurant? Sure!”.

As well as offering greater payment choice across all channels, a data-connected platform can transform value and loyalty programs by allowing rewards to be effortlessly collected and redeemed across any sales or service point (and those of partners) with ease. Even without a card or membership number.

And that’s only the beginning…

Want to capture the magic for yourself?

Download a copy of FreedomPay’s latest report “Hospitality 2020+The Reasons Why We Talk About Data-Driven Commerce” and discover more.

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