A coffee with Jean Marc: Changing your in-store payment provider

Jean-Marc Thienpont
Managing Director, point of sale solutions

How to rollout a new in-store payment provider without your customers even noticing.

Adyen's point of sale Managing Director, Jean Marc, joined the world of payments 12 years ago. Driven by the fact his work impacts the lives of literally millions of shoppers worldwide, he works closely with retailers, and other card-present industries, to help deliver the best possible payment experiences to their customers.

Changing payment provider can be daunting! What are the key concerns for retailers?

One of the first questions we are always asked is: “Can I keep my existing payment terminals?” 

But It is important to view your hardware in the wider context of your overall business objectives. What are you hoping to achieve with this update? Often this simply won’t be possible with legacy terminals. In Adyen’s case, all payment terminals come with the latest functionalities built-in. Our software is pre-installed to enable omnichannel shopper journeys, and you can manage your terminals remotely, rolling out new updates across all your stores at once. So if you want to benefit from an end-to-end solution, you have to update your terminals  - but it is well worth the initial investment!

Another key concern for retailers is disruption; they don’t want to lose a single transaction. So it is crucial for any new provider to structure the rollout in such a way that this won’t happen.

What measures do you recommend to avoid disruption? 

The first step is to thoroughly scope the project, including all the new shopper journeys you want to support (whether it is endless aisle, cross-channel returns, or ‘buy online, collect in store’). Then you should run a pilot, and test each journey in every market in which you operate. 

Test each journey in every market in which you operate.

This is particularly relevant if you operate in two distinct markets such as the U.S. and Europe, where the shopper interaction varies greatly, with chip and sign in U.S. and chip and PIN in Europe. Also in the U.S. you have functions like partial payments, where one transaction is paid using two funding sources, such as a pre-paid card and credit card. 

Also, often overlooked but very important: Check the network environment in each store to ensure the connectivity is sufficient for the new setup.

So what does a typical rollout look like? 

There are two types of rollout: A full integration, which involves integration with the existing till setup, and a standalone integration, where the terminals do not connect to a till.

In the case of a full integration, Adyen assigns the retailer an Integration Manager. And in both cases a Rollout Manager coordinates the physical rollout, from creating accounts and installing software, to shipping terminals, monitoring the pilot performance, and finally rolling out live. 

Once we have fully scoped the project, and understand what the retailer wants to achieve, we give the retailer’s integrator access to a test account and test terminals, documentation, and libraries. If it is a full till integration, we also provide an Acceptance Test Plan, so they can run tests at the end, and check the integration with the till works.

The in-store installation is then done out of business hours so that everything is ready to go by the time the store opens.

How long does it all take?

For a standalone implementation, it is possible to go live in a few days. 

For integrated retailers, it typically takes about six months: Three to four months for integration, one month to test, and one month to pilot before the live rollout. Of course it can be shorter, but that depends on the retailer’s internal processes, and other partners. 

Is internal buy-in a challenge for retailers? 

There are two sides to this. There is usually a strong internal buy-in from business and marketing teams who see the benefits of updating their setup, especially if this update comes with clear benefits, such as enabling omnichannel shopper journeys.

Change means risk, and new partners must demonstrate they can deliver a smooth rollout.

On the other hand, you have operational teams whose primary concern is to avoid disruption. These guys know that change means risk, so it is crucial for the new partner to demonstrate they can deliver a smooth rollout.

And finally, can you give any examples of a retailer that manages their rollouts really well? 

Yes, we recently did a rollout with a major sports retailer in the U.S. They approached the project with military precision, testing extensively every step of the way. And, because each step was so well defined, it was easy to roll back a stage if necessary. This meant there were no surprises when we went live.

Key takeaways

  • Scope the integration well from the start. In that way nothing is forgotten or needs to be added at the last minute. 
  • Always run a pilot, and test every new shopper interaction in every market.
  • Take the time to monitor the results, and make the appropriate changes to ensure the new solution works perfectly before going live.  
  • Make it possible to replicate the set-up of the pilot across all stores. This means it must be scalable. 
  • Automate as much as you can to keep human error to a minimum.

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