The Disruption of Life through Payments – Keynote Presentation at Etail West
Chris Curtin, Visa Chief Brand and Innovation Officer
I bet I know how your morning went today. At 6am, the alarm goes off, and you’re in bed thinking, “Should I go exercise?” … “Do I have time to stop for breakfast?” And you’re already reaching for your phone – the alarm goes off again – while you’re thinking … “Did so-and-so send me that email?”
As soon as you open that email, your workday begins. Then you’re on Twitter, or New York Times, and you see a business headline… Somebody’s just upended your industry. It could be a new product announcement, or a new partnership, but chances are it’s a disruption from outside your industry.
I just came from the Re/code Media Conference in Dana Point, and the biggest takeaway was this upheaval happening across industries. Just look at some of the world’s biggest media companies: Apple, Facebook, HBO, getting knocked out of the industry they thought they were in by a society-wide shift in technology, culture and behavior.
So if you see a headline that’s going to become your workday… It could be a new platform, it could be new social channel, but more often than not, I bet it’s news from my industry.
Payments is exploding with new technologies and new entrants. Companies who never thought they would are finding themselves in payments; Apple, Google, Amazon, Telcos – and it seems like every day there’s a new upstart trying to break in. Companies including Venmo, Bitcoin, Loop, Leaf, Revel … and even Snapchat.
So, Visa may be the world’s leading payments company – we have 35 million worldwide merchant partners, 2.3 billion account holders, we work with over 15,000 financial institutions, and we have the ability to process over 100 types of currencies in over 200 countries. But, we’re a category leader in a category that’s exploding. So that – that headline upending your world – that’s how my day starts at Visa every day.
Payments are becoming more global. Solutions from the emerging world are scaling to the developed world. For example, M-PESA started in Kenya and is now reaching more and more unbanked individuals in Africa and now has expanded into India and Eastern Europe. And Alipay, the payment platform for the world’s largest eCommerce company, Alibaba, has 300 million users and 460,000 merchant partners in China, and is being used by merchants around the world to access consumers in China.
And a new form factor – or a new platform – is introduced almost every year. Payments is a part of commerce that seems mind-numbingly simple – it’s been around for 12,000 years – but it turns out to be incredibly complex. So if you’re in eCommerce, if you’re in strictly brick-and-mortar commerce, if you’re a game developer or a food truck chef… you’re thinking about payments.
At Visa, we enable payments, but as merchants, you live payments. You’re thinking about what to do with all these new platforms. How to convert on Pinterest vs. how to convert on Facebook vs. how to convert on your mobile app? Because the purchase funnel is different for every channel. You’re also thinking about customer data using that to build loyalty. And you’re also thinking about shopping cart abandonment. Because, no matter what business you’re in, you’re in the business of getting paid.
Your customers want a fast, smooth, easy experience they can trust. You know the statistics; your customers are just as likely to reach for their phone first thing in the morning as you and I are. In 2015, Americans spend an average 15.5 hours a day consuming digital media. That’s more time than I spend fully dressed. They see 29,000 marketing messages a day. If it doesn’t excite them or make it stick, they’re gone. And as soon as you have their attention and they want to buy from you, what do we do? Make them get up, find their wallet and fill out 14 different online fields.
It takes your average customer 3 minutes to fill out all the fields for each eCommerce transaction. Not so bad, right? Until you start to add it up… Let’s take the just one merchant. Visa did an analysis on a major retailer and their eCommerce site. They process 17,000 transactions a minute on their .com site. That’s 24.5 million transactions a day. Which means, at that one site alone, 73.4 million minutes, or 140 years, are spent every day filling out online forms. For one website!
Our job – on the payments side – is not just to make that faster. Our job is to imbue that click, that Purchase Now button, with so much speed and convenience that customers look for it. That’s why our new way to pay online, Visa Checkout, is becoming a brand that pulls in customers.
Simple and secure payment has always been what Visa stands for. And last year we launched Visa Checkout, letting consumers store their shipping and payment information in a secure account. So they don’t have to re-enter it every time they shop online. Visa Checkout only launched 7 months ago, and already more than 3 million people have signed up in 8 countries.
For some partners who joined us in offering holiday promotions, 40% of Visa Checkout users were new customers to those merchants. The average conversion rate for existing users making a purchase with Visa Checkout is 70%. Visa Checkout takes the friction out of digital commerce. You’ve seen our ads: You can buy from literally anywhere, and extremely fast.
Today I am thrilled to announce that our first airline partner to enable Visa Checkout is Virgin America. This collaboration with Virgin America is perfect of example of how we work with all our partners. It shows what we bring to the table: Fast, easy checkout, our brand, our global network, our 2.3 billion account holders, our security, and reliability. And what you bring as successful and forward looking eCommerce merchants: You bring your deep knowledge of your customers, your relationships with them, and your special way of serving them.
But, as you can see from this partnership with Virgin America, for us, every client relationship is about more than that. It’s more than 1 + 1 = 2. For every client partnership, together we create a unique consumer experience that’s more than the sum of its parts. Its 1+1=3. When we go to market with clients, there is no turnkey solution, every deployment is unique.
First, we work alongside our partners. For example, in San Francisco, we have Visa Labs and our Client Briefing Center, where we share our innovation agenda, and showcase the cutting edge products we’re working on and the marketing behind them.
Second, we focus on making the end-to-end experience more compelling and more impactful. As you just saw, with Virgin America, we create co-branded promotions that drive brand new customers to your door. And as you saw during the Super Bowl, you could watch a big play screen, and buy NFL merchandise right from your phone, or even your Smart TV.
Together with you, we create experiences that flawlessly combine shopping and payment. So, today you can buy home goods from the subway so that it arrives when you when get home. And you can walk past a billboard at a bus stop, buy groceries. And in your living room – in the time it takes for a commercial break – you can book tickets to Mexico without getting up and looking for your wallet.
These are the moments of your life: Reading the news from the phone on your nightstand, flying to Mexico, about to take off, walking the streets of Manhattan, at home in your own living room, but anything that takes you out of that moment, is going to be stripped away.
A coin purse? Remember that? Rummaging for a nickel to make exact change? Having to wait in line to cash a check? Now: filling out online forms. The way we see it at Visa: when you’re in the moment, we want to be just swipe, tap, or click away. It’s… wait for it… Everywhere you want to be.
For us, it’s not just a tagline, it’s a mission statement. And with Visa as your partner, you’ll be able to find your customers in the moment and at the moment. You’ll grow your business and you won’t have to think about it.
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