by MEF Minute
December 23, 2016

MEF’s Tim Green talked to Christian von Hammel-Bonten, Executive Vice President Global Product Strategy at Wirecard, about the next big wave of digital commerce on the high streets.

By mastering digital-first commerce, Wirecard has become one of the world’s fastest growing companies. Now, it’s turning its attention to the digitalisation of the retail industry. MEF’s Tim Green talked to Wirecard’s EVP of global product strategy, Christian von Hammel-Bonten.

Mobile has already changed the way we pay and shop. What will be the next big disruption?

I think it will be when we move beyond mobile and start to see the innovation that’s happened on the web moving offline. We’re used to notifications and offers and personalisation and loyalty online, but not so much in store. So we’ll see more app-based shopping on the high street.

How might this look to a customer?

Well, you would walk in and the shop’s system would recognise your profile – maybe via a beacon – and know a lot about you. The agent could address you by name, know your size and preferences and so on.

But isn’t this a bit intrusive? Do consumers want this?

I think they’ve come to expect certain standards of service online – returns, convenience, personalisation – and they don’t get them in store so they are walking away. And from the merchants point of view, there’s so much you can do on the web to improve conversions and get close to shoppers. The high street is missing out on all this, and I think it will change.

“Merchants can do a lot online to improve conversions and get close to shoppers. The high street is missing out on all but this will change”

Doesn’t this set-up require a specific retailer app? If so, how many apps can we expect people to use?

Obviously, people won’t have apps for every shop they enter. However, the stores themselves can at least improve their own systems. Assistants should be able to check stock availability and link to e-commerce systems and process deliveries and so on. And they should be able take payments from the same system. That’s where we come in. After all, there’s no point having all this great service, then sending customers to stand in a queue for 20 minutes to pay.

Finally, how is the Alipay launch going?

Extremely well. Transaction values and frequency is rising all the time and we have new retailers joining every week – the latest is Body Shop. Alipay is an amazing product. Payment is just one part of it. It’s really for organising your whole life. I think the Chinese have been incredibly advanced in creating it. But I’m not sure we in Europe could building anything similar. Not yet. We have a fragmented market with multiple languages and regulations, and an established payment system. But there’s a huge Chinese tourism market here, so it’s a really important service.

You can read the full interview between Tom Green from The Mobile Ecosystem Forum and Christian von Hammel-Bonten here.

Christian is Executive Vice President Product Strategy at Wirecard. He blogs on industry related matters and all things to do with mobile payments and banking, mobile transfer technologies like NFC and P2P transfers. His vision is to create innovative solutions for a mobile, cashless future.