Top 5 payments trends for 2017

Roelant Prins
Chief Commercial Officer

Unified commerce is the ultimate goal for many businesses. What steps can you take to bring you closer this year?

In the world of commerce, convenience rules supreme. And huge advances have been made to make buying as simple as possible.

In 2017 this quest for convenience continues. We are entering the era of unified commerce. We have seen early in-roads with the likes of Amazon's cashier-free grocery store. 

There are huge opportunities for businesses to differentiate themselves by delivering this ultimate frictionless payment experience. Here are our top five payment trends for 2017, to make buying easier than ever.

1. Mobile payments

The mobile share of global payments (currently 37%) will continue its inexorable rise, exceeding 50% in markets such as the U.K. and Australia. This is mostly driven by the growth of mobile wallets. Apple Pay, with its early adopters and powerful brand, is leading the charge (up by 400% in the past year), while Android, with its greater smartphone market share, could be the one to open the floodgates. Both these players have extended their functionality to accept web-based payments, bringing the mobile into the picture for desktop shopping as well.

Related: Everything you need to know about mobile wallets

Another interesting area to watch is the growth of European P2P payment apps such as Bunq, MobilePay, and Swish, which may follow the route of WeChat Pay and evolve into B2C mobile wallets.

We also expect to see the ongoing rise of conversational commerce (payments within messaging apps). WeChat Pay continues to dominate, but this trend will increase in Western markets. Facebook, for example, is investing heavily in its chatbot API to make it easy for businesses to process payments from inside Facebook Messenger. 

The ubiquity of the mobile makes it the perfect companion for anytime, anywhere shopping.

The ubiquity of the mobile makes it the perfect companion for anytime, anywhere shopping, and it will continue to blur the lines between sales channels, allowing customers to checkout with a single tap in-store, online and in-app. 

2. Data-driven risk management

Inevitably, the easier you make it for customers to pay, the easier it is for fraudsters to succeed. By reducing the number of steps in the payment flow, the less data you can gather, and the harder it is to identify and stop fraud. Consequently, the fraud that plagues digital goods industries has extended to other industries like retail and travel as well.

Fraudsters have learned that the easiest way to get a hold of payment credentials is to hone in on one ‘weak link’. And with the increase of large breaches around the world, fraudsters have access to higher quality data. They are no longer wasting their time on multiple, small-scale attempts, and are instead focusing their energy on springing sudden, large-scale attacks. 

It is crucial to focus on systems that can quickly identify and respond to emerging trends.

To effectively combat fraud in 2017, it is crucial to focus on systems, rules, and infrastructure that can quickly identify and respond to emerging trends, without the need for manual intervention. Fortunately, tools like Adyen RevenueProtect exist that use data and machine learning to react to changes quickly.

Related: Using data to mitigate risk

3. Subscription and recurring

Subscription and recurring businesses are increasingly embedded in our daily lives. We stream music and TV shows, order taxis at the touch of a button, and some of us even have new socks delivered to our door each month. 

In fact, subscription businesses have been growing an estimated nine times faster than sales of companies in the S&P 500. And more and more businesses are embracing subscription models – focusing on convenience and long-standing customer relationships.

Related: 5 payment insights for the subscription economy

The industry is rapidly evolving to facilitate this type of business model. One critical tool is Account Updater, which enables businesses to automatically update expired or lost cards on file, thereby reducing involuntary churn. And the good news is that coverage of Account Updater is expanding in 2017, making it easier than ever to keep cards up to date. 

4. Personalized customer experience

Customer recognition plays a key role in understanding behavior, and delivering personalized services such as loyalty rewards, customized payment, and delivery options, and targeted offers. And as more channels emerge, from messaging app purchases to in-store queue-busting kiosks, cross-channel customer recognition becomes all the more important.

A key element of customer recognition is one-click payments. And while they have been around for some time, there are still big wins to be had for businesses that get it right. If you are using tokenization, you are already 80% of the way there, and it should be relatively easy to link the tokenized card details to the customer’s account. The trick is to work with a partner that is able to manage the bulk of the workload.

The first step is the consolidation of all operations into a unified system.

5. Data consolidation

Again, this is nothing new, but it will be a big priority for many businesses this year. The reason is simple: In order to recognize shoppers across sales channels, enable easy one-click and zero-click payments, and identify and track fraud trends, businesses need a unified view of customer data. So the first step must be the consolidation of all operations into a unified system, capable of spanning all markets and sales channels.

Related: Unlock powerful shopper insights with omnichannel payments

Once this hurdle is overcome, enabling invisible payments becomes attainable for many businesses. So we strongly recommend making this a focus for 2017.

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