Money 2020: An Outsider's Perspective

I attended the 2015 Money 2020 in October at the Venetian in Las Vegas.  This event is described as "the industry’s primetime conference and trade show, Money20/20 delivers the biggest scale, best audience and most engaging event. Money20/20 is the largest global event focused on payments and financial services innovation for connected commerce at the intersection of mobile, retail, marketing services, data and technology.

With 10,000+ attendees, including more than 1,000 CEOs, from 3,000 companies and 75 countries, expected at our 2015 U.S. event, Money20/20 is critical to realizing the vision of disruptive ways in which consumers and businesses manage, spend and borrow money."

As a relative newcomer to the payments industry, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, would the information presented be too general or too technical?  After reviewing the agenda and seeing some familiar names and companies I was pretty optimistic that I would find something to my liking and beneficial to my continued growth in this area.  To my continued surprise I was engaged with the speakers and could continually relate to the issues discussed. 

For instance, during the session – Part I – Simplify Checkout: Create and Express Lane for Your Customers (Panel Members: Patrick Gauthier, Amazon and Mike Lowe, Golf Channel / NBC Sports) I learned that Golf/Golf Now, utilizes Amazon Payments. You can sign into GolfNow using your Amazon Account to reserve a tee time or create an account with GolfNow. If you sign up for a GolfNow account, as an incentive they offer rewards points to be used for discounts on equipment and hot tee deals.  I was surprised to learn that thousands of businesses accept payments through Amazon Payments.  On second thought, I’m not really surprised given the confidence most people have purchasing items through Amazon.

During Part 2 – Future Proofing e-Commerce (Barry McCarthy, First Data; Andrea Thieman, Cabela’s) I learned that Sporting and Hobby Goods have the most increasing amount of digital sales.  They say that payments made from the dashboard of your car are coming soon!

Social Commerce: The Rise of the “Buy” button (Josh Constine, TechCrunch (M); Philippe Dauman Jr.,Twitter; Michael Haswell, Google; Satish Kanwar, Shopify; Michael Yamartino, Pinterest. During this session they discussed “Hosted Commerce” which is buying products on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Retailers need to sell where their customers are, hence the “Buy” button.  I didn’t get a lot of details about what is actually being sold on social networks, other than it’s “not only the cheap stuff”.  I think Pinterest is a given for this market. Since items you “pin” are complete with the product and store information. You can go back and buy at any time. Since the item information is saved on your boards, this is an automatic plus.

Common buzzwords: "Omnichannel", "Seamless", after three days of sessions and keynote speakers I was left with the conclusion that these are the top elements at play:

1. Trust/Security
2. Make it easy for customers to pay
3. Make it easy for businesses to accept payments

There are many variables in these categories. I'm not trying to oversimplify, but I'm not trying to overthink the goals either. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, hand in hand, merchant to customer. My experience as a consumer is quite helpful to me in relating to ease of pay and processing. If it's easy, I will do it and I will promote it to friends and family. If not, I will be vocal in this regard as well. Today's customers want things now! We want instant payment, instant acknowledgement, instant receipts, instant rewards points, etc... We want to use our phones and our laptops. We want one stop shopping. Our lives are too busy to address envelopes and lick stamps.  If it doesn't fit on a phone screen many of us are not interested. As said at one of the sessions, "The phone is the remote control for the millennial life." (Maya from GPShopper)  We want to pay for parking from inside our car, we want to order up an Uber and we don't want to sign credit card receipts. We want to order our groceries online. We don't want to wait for our check at restaurants. The possibilities for the future are endless and exciting!