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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 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 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 December 01, 2016 by FreedomPay

Make Holiday Shopping Safer with FreedomPay P2PE

As 2016 draws to a close, the next big national trend is a robust holiday shopping season, a sign that consumers are ready to spend again.

The National Retail Federation predicts a massive Thanksgiving shopping weekend, kicked off by Black Friday specials. More than 137.4 million Americans are expected to shop online or in stores over the four-day holiday weekend, up from 135.8 million last year, according to an NRF survey. If the forecast holds true, this could be an early sign of a strong holiday quarter.

While retailers certainly welcome increased traffic and sales, a rush on shopping, travel and dining out also leads to an increased risk of compromised credit card information. Fortunately, merchants can mitigate that risk for their customers with a point-of-sale solution that not only meets industry requirements but also take additional security steps.

Merchants can reduce their scope for PCI compliance and ensure that no cardholder data actually flows through their systems. FreedomPay’s Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) solution is fully audited and validated according to PCI standards, and supports traditional as well as emerging payment technologies such as EMV. It integrates with POS systems and payment processors. Merchants deploying the FreedomPay P2PE solution are covered under its PCI validation, and can raise their level of security compliance while delivering a safer experience for their customers.

For 2016, online sales are expected to increase seven percent – 10 percent over the previous year – to reach up to $117 billion, according to the NRF. FreedomPay’s Hosted Payment Page provides cardholder encryption for online purchases with a seamless integration into a retailers existing ecommerce site. Customers providing card information during the online checkout process will experience the same security as when they use their credit card at the store.

While EMV chip cards are gaining widespread adoption, most consumers and many merchants don’t understand that the EMV technology only prevents card duplication fraud. It does not secure payment data throughout the entire transaction chain.

With the FreedomPay solution, merchants can fill the security gaps left in the transition to EMV payments. The system integrates P2PE and tokenization to fill in the security gaps from the transition to EMV. With tokenization, credit card information is encrypted at the point-of-sale, and actual credit card data is replaced by a random code (token) in the merchant’s system. So if the system is breached, there is no actual data that can be compromised.

FreedomPay’s solutions are approved by the PCI Security Council to reduce the scope for PCI compliance. Using a non-validated P2PE solution that does not support the EMV chip cards leaves merchants exposed to liability for data breaches and fraudulent purchases.

As the use of mobile wallets increases, FreedomPay’s solution supports NFC payments through platforms such as Apple pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. Furthermore, as the payments ecosystem continues to branch out, FreedomPay adapts and evolves to support new opportunities as well as integrate with legacy technologies.

While holiday shoppers will be budget conscious as always, card data security is high on everyone’s wish list this year. That’s why FreedomPay’s goal is to stay on the leading edge of payments innovation and change the face of global commerce. There’s no better time to do that than the biggest shopping season of the year.

Interested in learning more about how we can help your retail operations deliver a great level of security to your customers? Visit us online at FreedomPay.com.

 

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