May 25, 2017
By Kevin Sanders, chief marketing officer, Onosys
I was at a restaurant industry conference recently listening to a presentation on mobile adoption and which digital technologies were on the priority lists of today’s restaurant brands. As the session ended, I overheard a restaurant executive at the table next to me say he was reluctant to adopt all this digital technology because he was wary of raising his customers’ expectations too high.
Digital expectations are already high
What this executive failed to realize is that his customers’ digital expectations are not driven by experiences with other restaurant brands. When you think about which brands have had the greatest influence on your digital expectations, it’s the big players. While these companies have (very little) to do with food, they have everything to do with molding today’s customer’s expectations.
Instant access to information anywhere
Google has certainly played the major role in training us to expect relevant information at our fingertips, instant results, and access to our full history of activity.
Google was one of the first to show us what a true frictionless, device-agnostic experience can look like and they also set the bar on anticipating our needs by using our activity to make relevant suggestions and recommendations. But perhaps Google’s most significant contribution is yet to come. Their work with artificial intelligence and virtual reality will radically change how we engage with the digital world. If you’re still trying to figure out how to meet today’s customer expectations, prepare yourself to fall even further behind.
Sharing and direct engagement is the new normal
Facebook has also profoundly shaped our digital expectations, especially regarding transparency and connectedness.
We are now comfortable sharing the most intimate details of our lives throughout the most public of domains. This has in turn defined the level of transparency we expect from the brands we engage with both online and off. Facebook – and social networks in general – has also created an expectation of direct engagement and interactive communication. Your customers expect to reach you through a variety of different channels and not only be heard and listened to, but responded to – promptly. If you currently respond quickly to customer complaints, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. It’s projected that soon even an immediate response won’t be fast enough.
At the same time, all this public intimacy has made consumers more willing to share personal information with the brands they do business with. In return, they expect these brands to apply personal data to deliver more personalized products.
Convenience is key
When it comes to the digital shopping experience, we can thank Amazon for setting our expectations for convenience.
In one intuitive, easy to use interface, we can shop for just about anything, read reviews from other users, purchase with one click, and have the product delivered at ever-increasing speeds right to our door (and soon to a specific room in our house!). They also update us in real time throughout the process so we can plan accordingly. Oh, and it’s available 24/7. Amazon never closes. How well do you compete with that level of convenience?
What this means for your business
None of these are restaurants (yet…?). But as far as the customer is concerned, if someone can deliver this level of digital experience, everyone should be able to. We’re all playing on the same digital field in their minds. Unfair? Yes. Reality? You bet. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to deliver a Google or Amazon level experience. But you do need to be mindful that your customers are having these experiences and it is affecting how they will evaluate yours.
The stark reality of it is your average customer believes your burrito, pizza, or burger isn’t that much better than the guys across the street and if he can provide a digital experience that better meets their needs, he’ll get their order – today and likely moving forward.
May 25, 2017
Digital money transfer services WorldRemit and JMMB Money Transfer have partnered to offer bank transfers to Jamaica, according to a press release.
WorldRemit customers can now send money quickly and conveniently to all bank accounts in Jamaica via JMMB Money Transfer, using the WorldRemit app or website. Funds can be accessed on the same day for transactions completed by 3 p.m. and within 24 hours for all other transactions, according to the announcement.
Nearly 1 million Jamaicans currently live abroad, including more than 700,000 citizens residing in the U.S. and 130,000 in Canada. As a result, remittances play a vital role in the Caribbean nation’s economy — the country received almost $2.4 billion in remittances in 2015, according to the World Bank.
“The importance of remittances to Jamaican residents has risen consistently for over 30 years,” Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO of WorldRemit, said in a statement. “Our partnership with JMMB Money Transfer, a trusted and valued partner in the region, will enable us to offer WorldRemit customers more choice, while supporting the transition from offline remittances to safer, faster and lower cost online money transfer options.”
Topics: Money Transfer / P2P
May 25, 2017
Western Union earlier this month announced that it has further strengthened its global digital money transfer footprint with the activation of its 40th wu.com transactional website, providing full digital access for cross-border person-to-person money transfer services across major developed nations including the U.S., Canada and major portions of Europe.
Wu.com is also active in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, according to a press release. Western Union plans to continue to expand its digital presence across Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean in the next phase of its online expansion, augmenting the company’s retail agent footprint in more than 200 countries and territories.
“The continuous advancement of our digital innovation over the past several years allows us to stay ahead of the needs of the modern money mover, and we are serving them across a multitude of currencies, languages and borders,” Odilon Almeida, president of Western Union Global Money Transfer, said in a statement.
In Q1 2017, more than 60 percent of wu.com transactions were initiated on a mobile device. This digital ramp-up follows the recent launches of Apple Pay as a funding method for digital users in the U.S., and Western Union’s money transfer bot for Messenger, which enables users in the U.S. to make international money transfers without leaving the Messenger app.
Topics: Money Transfer / P2P
May 25, 2017
Telenor Hungary has announced the launch of new tap-and-pay functionality in its Telenor Wallet application, according to a press release.
Telenor said in the announcement that its wallet is the first telco-offered converged wallet with fifteen remote and proximity payment functions in one app.
The company launched the wallet in late 2014 with Masterpass integration, according to the announcement. The wallet also features an in-app marketplace for food delivery, entertainment ticketing and purchasing Telenor accessories.
Telenor Wallet’s NFC functionality uses special SIM cards to secure card data, and works with purpose-made bank cards issued by Budapest Bank under the brand Telenor MobilPass. Android users can initiate the onboarding process inside the app. Once the process is complete, the bankcard is installed automatically and the user can pay at any MasterCard PayPass-compatible terminal worldwide.
May 25, 2017
Vodafone Group PLC announced earlier this month that its wholly owned subsidiary, Vodafone International Holdings B.V., has agreed to transfer part of its indirect shareholding in Safaricom Ltd. to Vodacom Group Ltd., its sub-Saharan African subsidiary.
Based on the agreed terms of the transaction, Vodafone will exchange a 35 percent indirect interest in Safaricom for 226.8 million new ordinary Vodacom shares, according to a press release.
The transaction, which has a value of 2,361 million euros ($2,648) based on Vodacom’s closing share price on Friday, May 12, will increase Vodafone ownership in Vodacom from 65 percent to 70 percent. Vodafone will continue to hold a 5 percent indirect interest in Safaricom following the transfer in addition to the indirect interest held through Vodacom, the release said.
As part of the transaction, Vodafone Group has given appropriate assurances to the government of Kenya to support the ongoing success of the longstanding partnership between Safaricom, the wider Vodafone Group and the government of Kenya.
The transaction is expected to generate clear benefits for Safaricom, Vodacom and Vodafone Group:
- it allows Vodafone Group to streamline and simplify the management of its sub-Saharan African holdings;
- it strengthens alignment and cooperation between Safaricom and Vodacom and provides greater scope to share talent and expertise across the region and internationally; and
- it provides exposure for Vodacom to an attractive Kenyan market and one of the most successful and innovative telecoms companies in Africa, further enhancing its investment case and strategic position.
May 24, 2017
The U.S. House of Representatives has dropped wording that would have repealed the controversial Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act voted into law in 2010 under the Obama administration.
The amendment imposed caps on the swipe fees set by the major card networks for debit card transactions, and allowed retailers a choice of networks for debit transaction routing.
The legislation, which went into effect in October 2011, has been lauded by retailers and lambasted by banks claiming that it does not allow them to recoup their own card transaction-related costs.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, expressed regret about dropping the Durbin repeal effort, but said it was necessary in order to secure passage of the remainder of the House’s Financial Choice Act.
“I’ve said before that repeal of the Durbin Amendment was the most contentious part of the bill among Republicans,” Hensarling said in a statement.”I believe it belongs in the Financial Choice Act, but I recognize and respect that many members of Congress feel differently. We won’t let this one provision hinder passage of an important priority bill that will end bank bailouts and help renew healthy economic growth for all Americans.”
That bill, which is set to repeal many of the banking reforms passed after the Great Recession and triggered in 2008 by the banking crisis, will get a House vote after the Memorial Day holiday.
The National Retail Federation, speaking on behalf of U.S. retailers, expressed a very different sentiment.
“This is a major victory for the consumers who have saved billions of dollars under swipe fee reform and for the communities where retailers have used swipe savings to improve customer service, create jobs and boost the local economy,” said NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan. “Repeal of reform would have allowed banks to return to the uncompetitive market that allowed them to set these fees as high as they liked. The progress that was made toward competition would have been lost, and consumers would have seen nothing but higher prices.”
A report by Politico said that the issue of Durbin amendment repeal is now settled for all intents and purposes. “Senate Republican leaders have shown no appetite for taking up the issue as they craft their own bank deregulation bills,” the article said.
Additionally, House members were facing substantial pushback from retailers in their districts, where they will have to stand for reelection in 2018.
Topics: Regulatory Issues
May 24, 2017
Fintech provider Fiserv Inc. has announced the availability of SecureNow, a centralized, real-time cybersecurity platform designed specifically for online, mobile and tablet channels.
The Fiserv product integrates a range of cybersecurity protections from providers including iovation, Guardian Analytics, Neustar and LexisNexis, according to a press release. Capabilities include multifactor and device-based authentication, and behavioral analytics.
The integration spares FIs the investment of time and money to undertake the task themselves. In addition, a real-time risk-decisioning engine simplifies cybersecurity management while accelerating the response to threats, the release said.
“SecureNow delivers real-time protection against rapidly evolving threats, offering a high level of security protection while maintaining the seamless user experience that digital banking users demand,” said Kevin Schultz, Fiserv group president of digital banking, in the release. “With SecureNow, financial institutions have a range of tools at the ready.”