It’s Hip to Be Invisible: Payment Processing

By Steve Fusco, General Manager of North American distribution, PayPal

What’s driving innovation these days? We all know the big brands that are the highly visible faces of innovation are the ones that get the headlines. But increasingly, innovation is originating in places that are as invisible as early-stage startups, despite the brands behind these emerging companies being well-known.

This “invisibility” trend is particularly prominent in e-commerce, where apps and online sites are being created using technology from “invisible” partners for functions such as payment processing. E-commerce provides a huge opportunity for these partners, as made evident by the federal government which calculates e-commerce growth in the U.S. at an average of nearly 17% annually. Additionally, it is forecasted that mobile payment transactions will reach $27 billion with users spending an average of $721.47 annually.

New thinking like this is also increasing the value of the “invisible” brands that drive e-commerce. The commerce part of e-commerce will become more invisible.  Technology has increasingly evolved to reduce the distance between what customers want and their ability to get it. Ultimately, this makes pesky things like checking out and paying disappear into the background behind a beautifully designed mobile site or app. In many cases, the only way to facilitate the types of experiences is through a digital wallet such as PayPal.

One of the most important areas of demand for innovation that is invisible within e-commerce is with payment processing. As so many merchants have seen in the past, a great shopping experience can be created right up to the point where the consumer pays and then the process breaks down. The result is shopping cart abandonment and lost revenue as shoppers go to competitors by doing a quick search to find the product they need.

But thanks to different approaches created by innovation, the payments experience can be one that gets out of the way of the sale. It becomes so integrated into the entire experience that consumers don’t need to think about it. At the same time, what’s invisible are some very complex functions that have a lot of security, customer satisfaction and risk associated with them. These include protecting sensitive consumer information, ensuring transactions are completed rapidly and accurately, and protecting the merchant from fraud.

The “invisible” payment is changing the conversation merchants have with customers. As mobile and online payment technology evolves, functions from payments to personalization are being assembled into highly streamlined and efficient consumer experiences, ultimately maintaining customer satisfaction and usability rather than driving the customer to reject the “invisible” technology behind the scenes.

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