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Over a coffee with Colin: Adyen’s new Manchester office

Adyen’s Senior Vice President of Business Development explores all things great about the North of the UK, and what makes it unique in retail and ecommerce.

Colin Neil  ·  SVP of Business Development UK, Adyen
20 April, 2018
 ·  5 minutes
Over a coffee with Colin: Adyen’s new Manchester office

Manchester. Home of the industrial revolution, the co-operative movement and The Stone Roses. The city is rightfully known as a city of culture, with prominent figures in the world of music, art, and sport.

As we prepare to open our first office at the XYZ Building in Manchester, we caught up with Adyen’s senior vice president of Business Development, Colin Neil, to find out more about our new home in the North of the UK and its unique position in retail and ecommerce.

How do you take your coffee?

I often (always) get criticised for how I take my coffee or tea. It’s always milky (and I mean very milky) - so I am often known as a ‘baby coffee drinker’.

Why Manchester?

We’ve been in London for a few years now, with great success. With that said, we’re seeing lots of great opportunities up North, and in Scotland. The North of the UK is attracting businesses of various sizes that are flexible and utilising next-generation technology in response to changes in the way we all shop.

Manchester is an absolutely amazing city full of self belief and warmth. It's also well connected to other major cities such as Liverpool, Leeds and across the border into Scotland. We’re global but we love to think local and work closely with our partners.

What should retailers keep in mind in 2018 and beyond?

For me the message is an easy one. Payments are frequently seen as a commodity - where retailers look for the cheapest price. It’s often assumed that lower transaction costs mean more profit - right? Wrong.

How a retailer processes payments is integral to how that retailer develops, especially when today’s shopper expects retailers to be open and in-stock all of the time. Retailers don’t give goods away, they expect customers to pay and, in turn, the customer expects the payment process to be simple. How often have you typed in your payment card details while shopping online and something has gone wrong? It doesn’t really matter how much that transaction would have cost - the business has lost the sale, and maybe future sales, to a competitor.

Football is a way of life in the North of the UK and we work with clubs like Newcastle United. Why do you think they chose Adyen as their payments service provider?

Football clubs are becoming very innovative. The Premier League is truly global, and every club has a global fanbase. As such, they need to reward fan loyalty by giving those fans the best possible experience every step of the way. And of course this translates to payments as well.

Adyen’s platform is uniquely positioned to give rich insight into a football fan. We have a single platform that covers point of sale, ecommerce, mobile, app or mail order telephone ordering (MOTO). When a supporter goes to the match, buys a shirt from the club shop, a pint at the bar and a pie at half time, we can see it and can provide the club with a single view of the customer. The club can then use the insights from the data to reward the fans. Think quick and easy payment options, targeted discounts and more.

The UK is progressive when it comes to retail, are there any developments in the sector that you’re particularly excited about?

What really excites me are retail brands that have embraced digital technology to ensure they remain agile and relevant to their customers. Take Scottish retailer Schuh as an example and check out their Kiosk when you’re next in store. A full self-service experience; you can identify the shoe you want, pick a size, color, see if it’s in stock and pay. The shop assistant will bring you the shoes and you’re all set. This is a great example of how we work together to deliver self service and convenience with our retailers.

The China Daily recently reported on the aspirations of Manchester to be the UK’s ‘most WeChat friendly city’. How do you think this will manifest itself?

There’s no doubt that Manchester businesses will respond with enriched andtechnically curated shopping experiencesfor Chinese visitors. Northerners love to extend a warm welcome to visitors. And of course, the city’s retailers won’t want to miss out on the opportunity of catering to international shoppers with localpayment methods.

Let’s think about the tourist journey and what’s possible with apps like WeChat.

From the airport to the hotel, with the WeChat app they can receive automatic updates of the next available train to the city centre and buy the tickets in one click. While they’re on the train, they can find out which restaurants are available nearby. After dinner they can tap and pay from the app and then rate their meal for a loyalty bonus. The same applies to shopping, bars, and even the tax free form prior to leaving.

Finally, accents and dialects are notoriously diverse in the North of the UK, which is your favourite?

I am a bit torn on this one. I grew up in the North East, so I would be tempted to say there. Yet, the North West has been my home for over 20 years now and there is something special about being called ‘Our Kid!’

Do you do business in the UK?

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