Mobile, responsive, and proactive—how will data and new ways to spend money transform commerce and retail? Read excerpts from the discussion below, or download the full transcript.
Schonfeld: If you have to pick one technology, what technology is changing your business the fastest?
Thomas: The fact that a lot of our customers are coming into our stores with smartphones. And e-commerce was a big disruption that happened in retail, which brought our stores to the Web. But the possibility of mobile bringing the Web to the store is incredibly disruptive.
If you think about how people make decisions, discover products online, it’s a very different process than walking the aisle and picking up the products and putting in the basket. Almost every part of our life has been transformed by a smartphone.
The opportunity to give the same kind of tools to customers to shop easily in a store, the same kind of tools that have been available to them online, whether that’s search or recommendations or personalization, we think is incredibly disruptive.
Schulman: What we’re really talking about is fundamentally changing the face of commerce, all phases of the commerce life cycle, from discovery to research, to purchase, to post-purchase.
Most people when they typically think about changing the face of commerce and they talk about E-wallets and that kind of thing, they are mostly thinking about tapping your phone on a point of sale and being able to use your phone as a wallet. We actually think that it’s much, much more fundamental than a form factor change. We think it’s truly a value proposition chain, where instead of tapping your phone just at a point of sale, imagine that you tap your phone as you walk into a store.
And when you walk into the store, what you’re doing by tapping your phone is basically on an opt-in basis exposing your personalized commerce identity, kind of the brands you like, the budget that you have, the SKUs that you want. And we can now start to customize, specifically to an individual, deals, offers, couponing, digital couponing.
What we’re really thinking about is how do we fundamentally change the way that consumers, merchants, and retailers interact with each other through the use of mobile phones, through the use of the data, and through the use of software platforms? And that can really change every aspect of retailing today as we know it.
Schonfeld: So what’s more valuable, the actual payments and transactions that go across mobile or the data?
Schulman: Data is what enables us to know whether advertising is effective, to track from online to offline, to create loyalty programs that create interaction between a merchant, a brand, and a consumer. So if I had to make a choice, it would be data for sure.
Schonfeld: How does PayPal think about that? You can do $10 billion in mobile payments this year, up from like $4 billion last year.
Barrese: Four billion and we keep on growing. We are seeing extremely rapid increases in adoption. Really the way we see it is the customer experience. So how do all of these technologies, mobile devices, data, better experiences—it all comes together.
There’s a huge willingness within the industry to invest and also support these new technologies. And it’s creating an environment where now we’re going to be able to create fantastic new experiences for the customers. And that’s what we’re focused on. What is that customer experience? And how do we actually make things simpler for them?
One of the things that we have done at PayPal is we have really adopted the mobile first view as well, where every single product, every single customer experience we’re looking at it from the consumer with the mobile device or a tablet.
Schulman: Every time somebody comes into a retail location, they are carrying exactly the same information overlay with them that they had behind their screen at home right now. And I do think that there are some very progressive retailers who understand that there is that convergence going on right now.
Thomas: The transformation that retail will go through with data and technology and all the things that we’re talking about, is going to be one of the most fascinating things to watch. And consumers are going to be the ultimate beneficiary of that. So it’s a good one to watch as well from that perspective.