Recently I was fortunate to attend the annual NRF conference in NYC. As I walked the aisles checking out the numerous displays, there was a clear divide amongst the vendors. On one side of the fence you had the EMV crazed organizations. Okay, this is a bit harsh, but the reality is that POS providers, processors, gateway providers, hardware providers, etc. all had an offering for the hot topic, EMV. Whether the solution was EMV compliance driven, focused on improving the customer experience, or related primarily to the security of the transaction process (among many other variations), a solution was present.
On the other side, you had the organizations that focused on data analytics, specifically what customer data are you capturing and how are you using this data to your advantage. Watching demos focusing on customized coupons tailored to the shopper’s purchase preferences, interactive in-store sales features, and the ability to analyze customer wants in real time to identify trends (in-store, data driven on-demand upselling), it became very clear that the power and predictive ability to mine data and turn that data into actionable, revenue generating opportunities was similarly prominent.
Which brings us to a very interesting point of reflection. The Yin and the Yang of the show. Encrypted, tokenized, secure EMV-compliant payment data versus on demand merchant access to customer profile info, preferences, shared data and more, all within one transaction. The need for the merchant to NOT see/handle/store payment information at odds with the need to capture, view, interpret, analyze, and respond to all other data points about the customer.
Add in the customer’s demand for the flexibility of mobile payments, especially those that are app driven, and 2016 could become the perfect storm for a merchant trying to keep the customer in a spending mood. Merchants must balance and prioritize timelines and resources to tackle their EMV implementation, the acceptance of flexible payment offerings, and lastly be able to capture real time consumer data that is actionable while the consumer is actively shopping.