Every platform’s journey to integrated payments is unique. Some want to unlock new revenue streams, others want to enable better user experiences, while for many, streamlining operations before growth is a must.
Why platforms decide to take payments in-house:
For one-stop commerce platform Lightspeed, the motivation has always been to better serve users and the small and medium-sized businesses they run. We sat down with Jona Georgiou, GM of Payments and Financial Services, to chat about the platform’s journey to taking payments in-house. Here are three learnings from our session at Payments Decoded.
For Lightspeed, a phased approach to payments worked best
When Lightspeed was founded in 2005, the payments space was massively fragmented and independent businesses severely underserved. Seeing these challenges as opportunities, the company had a clear vision of where it wanted to go and knew the technology would catch up.
“The idea has always been to provide a single solution for our customers,” says Jona. “When we first realised the opportunity of bringing payments [in-house], it was really when we looked at Lightspeed overall — we wanted our customers to have a seamless experience with us.”
The journey to integrated payments took many years for Lightspeed and spanned three phases:
Phase 1: POS provider. In the beginning, Lightspeed provided the POS solution and referred merchants to their partner payment processors and acquirers. The resulting user experience was fragmented and granted Lightspeed little to no control.
Phase 2: Revenue share. Lightspeed moved to a reseller model (wholesale ISO) as a stepping stone to owning the entire payments experience in 2018. This yielded less friction for users and gave the platform a moderate amount of control over its payments experience.
Phase 3: End-to-end control. With the launch of Lightspeed Payments in the US and Canada, Lightspeed fully integrated payments to control the entire experience. Now, merchants can use the platform for all their payments needs.
“Integrated payments gave so much opportunity to us and our merchants. We were in that opportune position to make that happen. It was a no-brainer that we truly wanted to serve our customers, because they are really the backbone of the global economy.”
Want to hear more from Jona and Lightspeed? Check out the full recording here.
The benefits of taking payments in-house for platforms and users
With the launch of Lightspeed Payments, the platform is now able to customise its offerings to SMB merchants individually, based on factors like industry, location, and customer experience. Here’s how having this end-to-end control helps create more value for Lightspeed and its users.
#1: Better offerings for users
Payments continue to be fragmented for retail and hospitality brands. And since each industry is so unique, it can be hard for SMBs to get what they need from one provider. Looking to solve for this challenge, Lightspeed saw payments as vital in bringing that all together in one solution.
“With Lightspeed payments, we can truly create a custom solution” says Jona. “For example, pairing a card reader with an iPad or another device or pay at your screen, pay at your table, table side. This lets us make more bespoke options for our merchants, and allows us to integrate at every point. It all runs through a single engine, and that's our edge.”
#2: Stronger differentiation from competitors
Big brands are normalising effortless buyer journeys and cross-channel experiences for consumers, making it even harder for SMBs to keep up. Helping users adapt has been a major benefit of integrating payments for Lightspeed, creating additional stickiness with the platform.
“Lightspeed helps streamline business processes overall,” says Jona. “The value and the impact of that was definitely amplified during turbulent times. For example, our restaurant customers were able to offer order ahead, curbside pickup, basically different ways to run their business when everything jumped to ecommerce. Signing up with Lightspeed Payments or even just Lightspeed POS and Payments, all these offerings are in one spot.”
“If you build a product with agility and it's nimble, and it's not a kind of product that one size fits all, you can easily navigate and solve the problem for the merchant.”
#3: New avenues of growth
Every decision Lightspeed makes puts their users front and center. So it’s no surprise that during the pandemic, the platform went off-roadmap to provide cash advances to users. Doing so built even more trust with merchants and created new avenues of growth for the business.
“We completely pivoted our roadmap during COVID,” says Jona. “We never had offered merchants cash advance, which we call capital. It was designed simply to help out merchants during the time of their need. But since then, we've heard amazing customer feedback, because it was much needed during these times and we wanted to make sure we were there for them.”
“If you have the right payments partner, as we do with Adyen, you can partner and collectively solve for challenges.”
Final thought: Put users first and the revenue will follow
While integrating payments can help create new revenue streams for platforms and marketplaces, Lightspeed’s success is a reminder that real longevity comes from putting users first. When payments decisions are user-centric, growth is a happy by-product.
“If we don't get the experience right, if we don't listen to our merchants on exactly what they want and how, it wouldn't matter in the end,” says Jona. “The revenue will follow if the customers are happy.”
Making payments core to your platform or marketplace
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