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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 22, 2020 by FreedomPay

Top 5 Challenges Facing Retail CTOs in 2020

Retailers are embracing a range of disruptive technologies that are set to fundamentally change the way they interact with and service their customers.

But what does this mean for the executives running the operations behind the scenes?  How are they coping with the pace of change and what are the challenges that will impact their IT strategies in the months ahead?

As we continue working closely with CTOs in leading retail and hospitality brands, we’ve put together some of the topline issues they’ll be wrestling with in 2020:

Legacy management and smashing silos

Mobile, cloud services, big data, analytics, and social media rank highest among the technologies that CTOs see as transforming retail from the way we know it. Yet for many, leveraging these trends is a tricky proposition. How best to maintain availability while adding functionality to existing legacy systems (which may already be creaking at the seams) impacts many of their waking decisions. (Read our Welcome to Hospitality 2020+ white paper here).

In 2020, they’ll continue to seek solutions that help them surround and expand their existing assets using Open APIs and toolkits to integrate wherever they can. They’ll also be looking to free up data flows, connecting business functions in order to break down data silos (e.g. CRM, ERP, Web analytics) and deliver a 360 view of the customer to decision-makers and planners.

Optimizing resources and changing cultures

In too many cases, retail and hospitality IT agendas are hampered by a lack of key resources and business alignment – skills, people, budget, infrastructure.

The focus is often on fueling functional cost savings rather than driving business growth and sourcing innovation. Retail CTOs will need to get out of the back office and lead the innovation agenda if they want to secure the resources they need the dynamic new world of retail.

CTOs must focus their teams on innovating and differentiating the customer experience. Cloud solutions and integrated com

merce platforms will be a major enabler of retail transformation, allowing CTOs to more effectively leverage commodity technology and processes while dedicating valuable internal resources to driving deeper business and customer engagement.

 

 

Building better customer UX (without blowing the budget)

As everyone involved in innovation knows, it’s often the invisible assets that are hardest to deliver. There’s now more pressure than ever on CTOs to enable marketing and acquisition teams to attract and engage consumers – either through faster, responsive and more personalized online interactions, or by helping to create more exciting and inspiring experiences in store at the point of sale (POS). CTOs are being positioned to deliver bigger, better, faster, cheaper platforms – and with less liability too.

Protecting data and reputation

Fraud is the challenge that never goes away. The more channels, payment types, and services a retailer offers, the harder CTOs must work to ensure that payment and data chains are locked down.  Retail Fraud is running at 30%, with merchants now paying $3 for every dollar lost. Faced with chargebacks, fines, and loss of reputation, the heat is on for CTOs to keep their business, management teams and customers better protected.

It’s not just about implementing more fraud prevention solutions, CTOs must select the right combination and layering of core, identity and fraud transaction solutions to defend against increasingly sophisticated threats. To ease the burden, ever more CTOs will choose to outsource risk, investing in payments as a service (SaaS) platforms to shift liability onto their provider and remove their own infrastructure from scope.

Dealing with compliance and ‘the domino effect’

Managing data comes with a minefield of rules including those that can be state-based (e.g. California’s AB375 consumer privacy act), international (e.g. GDPR data protection regulations), payment-related (e.g. PCI DSS), or for anti-fraud (PSD2’s Secure Customer Authentication (SCA). Additionally, these legislations don’t include POS certifications and card issuer mandates that are required to avoid fees and chargebacks.

So much regulatory change creates a domino effect that triggers time and effort –  keeping legacy systems and processes up to date, continuous auditing, reporting, and training – has become a major burden for tech-heavy retailers. Finding new ways to reduce risk and ease the burden, through cloud-outsourcing, payment gateways, encryption, and tokenization is becoming a strategic imperative for CTOs. Even the smallest businesses are now investing in security and compliance specialists to help support them.

Of course, these challenges are just the tip of the iceberg for retail CTOs.  According to Gartner, in 2019, retailers’ investment in technology is expected to grow 3.6%, hitting $203.6 billion over the course of the year. In 2020, much of the focus for CTOs will be in bedding in new assets and systems and ensuring they deliver a positive return on investment (which will mean even more scrutiny by their boards).

With as much change in front as behind them, there’s a long road ahead, but with the right technology and payments partners, they can spread the effort and lighten the load.

 

 

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Posted January 20, 2020 by FreedomPay

Top 5 Payment Security Trends in 2020

Fraud is on the rise. With deep pockets and creative minds, fraudsters and cybercriminals are becoming increasingly organized, sophisticated, and focused on the low hanging fruit that exists within the retail space.

The security playbook has widened, and now includes EMV, PCI DSS, and point-to-point encryption (P2PE), with new regulations such as PSD2’S SCA tightening up vulnerabilities. In addition, robust anti-fraud solutions are now part of most card acceptance POS and payment gateways.

As the data protection battle continues, there are some strong security patterns emerging:

• CNP payment fraud will continue to rise and fraudsters will get increasingly sophisticated

Squeezed out of the traditional payment chain, criminals are increasingly targeting remote Customer Not Present (CNP) transactions where shoppers’ data is especially vulnerable.
According to Juniper Research, online payment fraud will top $22 billion this year—and could reach $48 billion by 2023. Fraudulent attacks are becoming more sophisticated using tactics such as phishing, ID theft, pagejacking, wire scams, and merchant ID fraud. In 2020, watch out for ‘imposter bots’ that exploit the growth of AI-driven chatbots for online customer support to draw out payment details and other sensitive information from established retail websites.

• Tokenization will become more widespread as merchants seek to secure the payment chain while delivering more personalized and connected services (including IoT)

Tokenization replaces sensitive payment data with a randomly generated token that lets their transaction be tracked and their ‘footprint’ remembered making it ideal for CRM, loyalty and personalized promotions. The merchant does not touch, or store payment data and fraudsters can’t reverse the token to access account details. By 2020 it’s expected that there will be 20 billion IoT devices, a proportion of these will no doubt facilitate transactions too, creating a whole new window of opportunity for fraudsters. Tokens can be used across all channels and can even facilitate transactions between devices in IoT environments.

 

 

• New forms of authentication will emerge fueled by PSD2’s SCA requirement which comes into effect in 2019 (EU) and 2020 (UK)

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will soon become essential for retailers in order to ensure compliance with PSD2. Each transaction will require two different types of authentication taken from three criteria (something you own, something you know and something unique to you). With a physical card and a PIN, EMV already meets the criteria. However, for CNP and online transactions, it’s not so easy, with extra passwords and registrations increasing friction and possibly dropped sales at the checkout. To prevent this, merchants may turn to ‘customer-familiar’ smartphones and biometrics to ease the process. They will be supported by the likes of MasterCard, who are already championing biometric authentication.

• Anti-fraud solutions will deliver better security decisions with less friction for legitimate buyers

Advanced, risk-based decision-making for e-commerce will help to reduce CNP fraud using updated standards from EMV 3D-Secure. Examining 10 times more risk factors than before to help decide whether step-up authentication is required. In addition, companies that facilitate digital payments will likely layer 3D-Secure with other advanced analytics technologies like artificial intelligence, to help analyze for fraud. Across retail, self-learning neural models will be used to automatically spot patterns much more swiftly. They will also enable closer rules setting and customization – essential for peak periods such as Black Friday – to minimize false declines and reduce the incidence of chargebacks.

• Merchants will have to tighten up their processes – whether mandated or not

It’s not possible for technology alone to fully eliminate retail fraud, especially for online stores. Like all hi-tech environments, people, and processes are often the source of inadvertent breaches. Retailers will have to continually update network security systems including firewalls and antivirus software, train staff and maintain audits to keep their defences high and information safe. Expect to see more security specialists employed full-time, even within smaller merchant organizations.

• Security will become a core differentiator for selecting a payment service provider

Businesses will be more proactive in their cybersecurity strategies when it comes to protecting the consumer. As senior execs and boards are increasingly held accountable, security is moving beyond a simple compliance tick-box towards a real corporate imperative supported by organisational wide procedural frameworks. Reflecting on this, security will become a critical differentiator ahead of reliability and costs for merchants seeking payment partners and providers.

While there are a plethora of security add-ons and antifraud software available, merchants shouldn’t forget the basics. This includes maintaining awareness of the latest fraud regulation and ensuring systems (and those of providers) are verified and compliant with all the latest standards; specifying PCI point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization for all payment platforms.

With GDPR necessitating clear policies for storing and handling ‘all’ customer data and the reporting of data breaches, retailers must make sure the right processes and training are in place to support these too.

If in doubt, payment partners such as FreedomPay, are often first to spot new security trends and can provide practical support and guidance to help keep businesses and their customers safe.

 

 

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Posted September 02, 2019 by Bernard Clary

What Is A Payment Gateway (And Why Do I Need One)

Whether you’re accepting payments online, in-store, or both, all merchants need a payment gateway.  It’s a secure way for customers to enter their payment information, including credit and debit card details, on a website or at a point of sale (POS). 

What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a software program that sits between the merchant and customer, often supplied and hosted by a third-party provider. It offers a secure pathway that requests and manages payment in order to take money from the customer and pass it into the merchant’s bank account.  It’s often described as ‘an electronic cash register for the virtual world’.

What does it do?
It has three essential roles – encryption, authorization and settlement.  First, it encrypts payment data, so it can move safely between the seller and the buyer. It then sends payment requests to the payment processor for authorization via the credit card or financial institution allowing the website/POS to move to the next action in the sales journey (confirmation, receipt, etc)…  Finally, it assists in settling the payment, completing the transaction and allowing for the transfer of funds between the buyer and seller. Some payment gateways also provide dashboards, analysis and reports on transaction status and payment performance.

How does it help?
A well performing gateway is good for customers. It helps ensure a seamless customer experience by enabling secure acceptance to happen in a matter of seconds. It’s good for merchants too. The payment gateway ensures smooth and accurate authorization.  If the payment is valid, the value will be exchanged.  If not, payment will be declined, which helps merchants avoid unnecessary chargeback fees.

What about PCI compliance?
Using a third-party, PCI compliant, payment gateway means that merchants never have to deal with sensitive credit card data. The gateway provider assumes responsibility for data traveling through the payment chain, thereby relieving merchants of PCI obligations and transactional security risks. (Learn more about payment data security here)

What else does it do?
As well as facilitating e-payment acceptance, the payment gateway can perform many other important functions. For example, order screening and tax calculation. It can also be used for geolocation services, providing a pathway to manage location-specific actions. Some advanced gateways can facilitate more than payments and can be used to manage and deploy value-added services directly to the POS.  Enriching point of sale with extra capabilities such as personalized customer and loyalty services and alternative payment options.

Aren’t gateways the same as processors?
There are many similarities but also some important differences. The gateway represents a system, whereas the processor is a ‘step’ in the payment chain. Processors analyze and transmit transaction data to the relevant issuing parties, a gateway does this too, but it also assists in the settlement process to facilitate the transfer of funds between buyer and seller.

Payment gateways and online payments

In order to accept online payments, organizers need access to a payment gateway and to hold a merchant account (or aggregator). The payment gateway has to be compatible with the shopping cart and needs to be integrated with the merchant account. Sometimes this means it can only be set-up after these are in place. Aggregators often offer a gateway in tandem with their merchant account e.g. PayPal.  Sometimes the same payment gateway can be used for in-store POS as well as for online and mobile transactions.

A powerful commerce investment

Payment gateways can help merchants to streamline processes and transactions, connect multiple channels and capture more than just payment data. It can seamlessly enable many additional commerce capabilities and offer in-depth analysis and at-a-glance reporting via useful transaction dashboards. Experienced payment partners, like FreedomPay, can help you discover new ways that payment gateways can empower your sales operation.

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Posted August 23, 2019 by Bernard Clary

Stop Hackers Finding Gold in Your Data: A Quick Guide to P2PE

With so many touchpoints in the customer sales journey, it’s getting harder to lock-down retail payment chains against fraudsters (losses on UK-issued cards totalled £671.4 million in 2018). For many physical retailers, PCI compliance alone is no longer enough to ensure data security, protect customers and safeguard their business and reputation. That’s where point-to-point encryption (P2PE) comes in.

Why is P2PE important?

P2PE provides merchants with one of the most significant ways to minimize the risk of criminals stealing their cardholders’ data during in-store, face-to-face, card-present transactions.

What does it do?

P2PE protects credit card data from the point of sale (POS) as it travels through a merchant’s local network and across the internet before it reaches the payment processing system at the acquirer’s end.

How does it work?

It does this by encrypting data immediately upon entry from a payment terminal connected to the POS device to the third party secure environment where it is decrypted before authorization – from the starting point to the end point – hence its name. This encryption method utilizes complex encryption keys controlled by a P2PE solution provider, ensuring the merchant, or any third party, has no means of accessing the data traversing the network.

Why does this help?

Encrypting card data in this manner, means that even if a fraudster manages to capture it, they are unable to access the user’s ID or card data, without the relevant encryption/decryption keys. So, sensitive payment data can be safely sent through the entire payment chain without risk of compromise.

What about PCI Compliance?

P2PE is like a booster for PCI DSS – it goes further, is more exacting and safer than PCI DSS alone. And it makes achieving PCI compliance much simpler and less expensive too! That’s because it effectively takes the POS system and payment platform out of PCI scope, reducing time, effort and cost of compliance (but only if you use a PCI approved P2PE solution and provider, and follow the correct operational procedures).

Will it stop retail fraud?

No, it doesn’t prevent fraud using lost or stolen cards, but it does prevent criminals from accessing card data at the point of sale or while the cardholder data is in-transmission from the POS device to the payment processor.

Does it stop merchants using transaction data?

Not if you use it in tandem with a tokenization solution such as FreedomPay CardStorTM . This replaces the cardholder’s primary account number (PAN) with a ‘token’. Retailers can use tokens to identify the customer – for loyalty programs or automated form filling – and to supply transaction-based information to CRM systems and for business intelligence.

Is it hard or expensive to implement?

It can normally be integrated easily as part of your payment solution or platform using a PCI P2PE toolkit to provide the relevant encryption keys/pathways. If in doubt speak to your authorized payment provider. Any additional costs can often be quickly offset against time, effort and cost savings from PCI scope and audit reduction.

Still need to be convinced?

Here’s a quick summary of the benefits:

1. Simplifies PCI DSS compliance, reduces scope and cost
2. Extra data security without compromising customer experience
3. Minimizes risk of fraud, data breaches and subsequent fines, loss of custom and reputation
4. Data protection that keeps payment services simple
5. Used with tokenization, won’t affect loyalty programs or other commerce platforms
6. Software-based, easy to integrate – especially with FreedomPay.

Read more about payment security here.

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Posted April 17, 2019 by FreedomPay

The Advanced Payment Platform for the Entire Commerce System [Q&A]

The modern world of commerce places the consumer first. Today, there are unified commerce platforms that serve in all major sectors of the economy. A commerce platform is basically a single, centralized platform that offers customer engagement in real-time. We have with us FreedomPay- a leading global commerce platform serving leaders in retail, hospitality, gaming, education, healthcare, financial services, and the US government, serving over 20 federal agencies.
Let’s hear more about the success of FreedomPay from the founder and CEO, Tom Durovsik.

What motivated you to start FreedomPay?

In 1995, I was a very successful business executive driving global growth across consumer products and direct marketing. I was intrigued by the new medium “internet” and all forms of emerging technology. I felt a strong desire to get involved in technologies that had the potential to change the world. I founded my first internet startup in 1996 and since then have been involved in SaaS, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Security, Mobility and other technologies that are powering global business and commerce.
How do your products and services contribute to your company’s excellence?

FreedomPay is unmatched across the world as a Unified Commerce Platform providing payment, loyalty and security solutions that enable customers to have a “frictionless” experience. We built the FreedomPay Commerce Platform from the ground up to meet the demands of consumers and merchants on a global scale. The industry is struggling with how to merge legacy technologies that are not prepared to support global commerce- and new emerging Fintech services including technologies outside mainstream commerce. FreedomPay is the platform that unites a growing array of technologies across the world to deliver a single seamless experience.

Commerce is the lifeline for all of our customers. The ability to transact and fulfill the customers’ expectations is job #1. Our Platform must be bulletproof and requires we invest in the finest Software Development and Network Infrastructure assets to support rapidly growing business globally.

What distinguishes you from your competitors and how do you utilize this to your advantage?

Our technology stack is what separates FreedomPay. We employ a continual reinvestment strategy into technology and as a result, our solutions keep getting better. Our technology is disruptive to the status quo; what banks, processors and legacy point-of-sales providers can deliver is simply inadequate. Our global customers are using the FreedomPay Commerce Platform as a competitive advantage and we deliver our solution to companies like MGM Resorts International, Citibank, and HMS Host, who are leaders in commerce technology.

Tell us about your corporate culture. What role does it play in interactions with your clients?

Our team is not taught to “sell” but to “solve.” We bring solutions to our customers that will fuel their business, on a global scale. There is no other company in the world who can deliver on this promise. As a result, we become trusted partners with our customers and it’s ingrained in our corporate culture. Did I mention we have not had an Enterprise Customer leave our platform in over a decade? This is unheard of in the industry and something our entire team acknowledges with pride!

How do you bring in a strong workplace culture?

Every employee shares in the company’s success and profitability. Our culture values customers and winning! We invest in our team members with events, celebrations and a strong focus on community service. We empower team members to do their jobs. We hire people that bring knowledge, experience and who can drive innovation and continually add to our capabilities and subject matter expertise.

What are your goals for improving customer experience?

Continued innovation and reinvestment in emerging technologies. We see Mobility, Shared Networks and Platforms, Big Data and Identity as areas to focus in the future.

How do you motivate your employees to enhance productivity?

As a hyper-growth company growing +70% CAGR for the past 5 years, it is important to 1) hire the right people and be selective; 2) train the team and build skill sets essential for growing careers and customer successes; and 3) keep the workplace an exciting environment with constant innovation and technical prowess. We do not rest on our past successes.

What is your memorable moment in business career?

In the 1990’s I ran a global conglomerate with 5,000 employees across 70 countries. Thinking back, we did not have the benefit of the internet or mobile phones. Imagine the changes in productivity, efficiency and communication these technologies have brought! This was the pivot that’s most memorable in my business career and informs my view and vision of the FreedomPay Commerce Platform “to have a similar transformational effect on the future of commerce.”

What developments or changes do you see having the biggest impact on your business and industry over the coming year?

Stay tuned, we will be announcing developments later in 2019 that will change commerce as we know it today!

This article first appeared in CIO Bulletin.

Tom Durovsik, Founder & CEO
A marketing and new product development executive, Tom has held leadership positions with some of the world’s most recognized consumer brands, followed by a string of highly successful startups focused on emerging technologies including; Internet, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Security and Mobility. Tom has built a strong reputation in the business community as a focused leader, a strong hands-on operator, new products visionary and a successful entrepreneur capable of scaling growth globally.
In 1995 Tom founded Intelihealth in partnership with US Healthcare and Johns Hopkins University becoming the first company to provide branded healthcare information to all forms of electronic media globally. Aetna, Inc. acquired Intelihealth in 1999. Tom and his wife are founding members of the Cancer Support Community, a global nonprofit that provides emotional support, education and hope to cancer patients and their families.
“FreedomPay is the engine inside the world’s expanding yet interconnected ecosystem of commerce.”
“We make payments smarter. And utopian commerce possible.”

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Posted April 17, 2019 by FreedomPay

Where Has it Gone Wrong for the Brick and Mortar Retailers?

It is always sad to see an iconic British high street name like Debenhams fall by the wayside as several have done in the last few years. While there could still be hope for Debenhams, the latest in this sorry roll call, with a number of players vying to take control and turn it around, it has sent yet another warning message to other high street stores hoping to ride out brick and mortar’s decline.

It is abundantly clear that the brick and mortar model has been struggling for a number of years. Shrewd merchants have been adapting their strategy to compete with e-commerce and align with the ever-changing retail landscape, and those who haven’t adapted fast enough have felt the hit.
The convenience and speed at which online purchases can be made have been key factors in the migration of large chunks of market share from high street to online. Enormous overheads from rising rents (£4.3bn in operating lease commitments in Debenhams’ case) and the need for high numbers of staff, equates to high (and rising) costs with decreasing sales – a formula that even the best chief executives might struggle to work with.

While it would be foolish to say that all brick and mortar businesses are doomed, it is imperative for decision makers to review their strategy even if, so far, it has been working for the last 50 years; consumer needs and wants are rapidly evolving and loyalty programs need to keep pace with their expectations.
FreedomPay believes that connected commerce and customer centricity are the pillars of retail and loyalty programs today and tomorrow.

The importance of personalization and digital data

In order to entice the customer, one has to understand the identity of each person. For example, a vegan may not buy into 50% off sausage rolls. This can be done by analyzing the spending habits on an individual basis, for example, using your systems data to identify who your top-spending customers are and rewarding them. Not only that but by crunching the data to see what they buy from you and when, you can reward them in a way that they will actually value highly, perhaps by offering discounts on the products they buy most often and not the ones they aren’t buying, i.e. the sausage rolls.

The megalithic online retailers understand the mantra and place the customer at the centre of their business operations. For brick and mortars, the ‘shopping experience’ is an asset they will always have to trump online retailers and should be utilized to assert an advantage. Aesthetically pleasing interiors and helpful employees are simple but effective examples. The experience is complemented by the ability to earn discounts, free samples, exclusive treatment and VIP access to entertainment. A loyalty card can drive repeat purchases and incentivize shoppers to come to stores and the website alike. Loyalty programs have proven to be a powerful experience for customers but it should be evolving to better please customers and retailers need to invest in modern data architecture that helps build a new personalized, customer centric loyalty model.

Find out more about customer centric models, by downloading the whitepaper: Personalization and Digital Identity: The Keys To Unlock Loyalty.

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Posted April 01, 2019 by FreedomPay

How to Keep and Grow Your ‘Happy’ Customer

We all know the importance of loyal customers.

However, loyal customers can be hard to earn in a noisy world where every business is trying to tempt them with new and exciting deals and offers. We often see a first flush of success and high sign-ups for rewards programs, then low usage, poor return on investment and questionable viability.

However, brands shouldn’t want to ditch loyalty as an asset because it’s far easier and cheaper to retain and grow existing customers than to acquire new ones. So, what’s the answer? It surely must be making loyalty easier to access, more relevant and easier to use; such as creating value that follows the customer across various points of sale.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is something called an analytical token. This is where tech comes in to create, via an algorithm, an identifier code or ‘token’ which is safely and securely linked to the customers payment details, or app, or card, etc.

Analytic Tokens in an omni-channel world

Analytic tokens work across all channels – physical, digital and mobile. With the right architecture, they can also be linked to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and loyalty systems, to provide a 360-degree view of the customer – what they are buying, in which channels, when and how frequently.

Being able to link identity with transaction flow, opens the door to deeper richer and more valuable insight, allowing organisations to ‘follow’ customer journeys and deliver more personal loyalty experiences.

Businesses can track, monitor and remember tokens without compromising payment security. Effectively turning points and rewards into digital types of near money currencies that can be linked to a customer’s ID. This makes them transportable across platforms, channels and even between businesses and brands.

A token-based digital near-money currency

Loyalty schemes often fall flat because consumers find them too restrictive. In most cases they can only be used with an individual or small collective group of retailers with numerous conditions attached to their use. In addition, traditional voucher, code and coupon systems often have a poor shelf-life, with many users failing to redeem them before they run out.
Analytic token-based digital currency doesn’t have any of these limitations or customer pain points. It can be bought, sold, transferred, gifted, or turned into an ubiquitous currency. It can follow the user across a wider ecosystem, and it retains, and can even increase in value as the popularity of the loyalty scheme grows.

Virtual currencies combined with extended retail partner networks and new customer centric loyalty design schemes will redefine the way we all buy goods and services – breaking down usability barriers and making loyalty even more valuable to a merchant’s bottom line.

Find out how to build liquidity into your loyalty architecture by downloading the FreedomPay Report: Personalization and Digital Identity; the Keys to Unlock Loyalty.

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