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The Evolutions – and Revolutions – Shaping Commerce in 2019

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The Evolutions – and Revolutions – Shaping Commerce in 2019

Pete Bettles, Chief Operating Officer at Global Payments UK&I

Often in the most economically uncertain times, great innovations are born. While market volatility in the UK reigned in 2018, and is likely to continue into 2019 as Brexit decisions come to a critical turning point, the upside for the year ahead will likely be the next generation of innovations that will set the pace and direction of change for the next 10 years.

Pete Bettles

Pete Bettles

Like a star athlete whose sheer talent and charisma seems to change the behavior of all the players on the other team, digital giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Apple, Google and Amazon are changing the behavior of the many industries where they choose to compete. Furthermore, they’re working to reset consumer expectations around what a great shopping experience enabled through technology needs to look like.

In 2019, businesses of all sizes will need to constantly evaluate how they adapt to ever-changing consumer expectations and adopt new technologies that eliminate the lines of distinction between online and offline.

Welcome to global commerce in 2019, where unified experiences are now the absolute minimum.

Mobile payments “evolution” becomes “revolution”

The decline of cash usage is no secret. In the UK alone, notes and coins are set to fall to just 21% of sales by 2026. While cards are a mainstay of most consumers’ purses and wallets, with debit cards set to overtake cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK this year, mobile payments are seeing a slow and steady increase in adoption. Contactless payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay are growing globally at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 31%.

This ‘tap and pay’ mentality has also meant that while mobile payments are becoming a major way in which to pay for goods and services, the contactless card remains a dominant method of payment – the most recent statistics show that in April 2017 alone, £3.9 billion was spent in the UK via this method. As this simple behavior is exercised,repeated and becomes preferred, whether that’s contactless cards or mobile payments, the trend toward faster, more secure and more frictionless commerce will continue to accelerate.

Chinese e-wallet models signal a tech shift for developed markets

In the UK, only about 24% of consumers have used a mobile wallet. In China, by contrast, the number of e-wallet users jumps to 47% percent. WeChat and Alipay have demonstrated the power that’s possible when a mobile device combines commerce and messaging functions to create a single, unified experience for consumers.

This year we’ll see a stronger uptick in the adoption of alternative payment methods in developed markets like Canada, the US and the UK as the wallets from Alipay and WeChat look to expand.One of the primary reasons? The rollout of Rich Communication Services (RCS) and other improved protocols to markets around the world, starting in 2019.

RCS will take texting to the next level, enabling more engaging interactions than SMS with full multimedia support. Over 50 operators, 12 OEMs, Google and Microsoft currently, or will soon, support the protocol; and the rich, conversational interactions that RCS supports will drive considerable focus and investment in 2019. While there is still a question of how rapidly the market will evolve,businesses will soon have an additional platform through which to engage with customers.

PSD2 making way for alternative payment methods

PSD2 may have been implemented at the beginning of 2018, and while it could appear as though little change has occurred as of yet, what’s been going on in the background has the potential to drastically alter how people to choose to pay in the EU. For example, we’re already starting to seethe likes of Trustly and iDeal gain momentum, defined in PSD2 as Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), which allow consumers to pay using their online banking tool rather than with a credit or debit card. While in the UK cards are still typically king, as mobile wallet providers look to expand, familiarity of alternative payment methods will continue to rise, boosted by the changes that PSD2 will enable across Europe, such as Open Banking standards. 

Securing the European ecommerce landscape with Strong Customer Authentication

Another key change coming as part of PSD2 is the requirement to carry out Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), otherwise known as two-factor authentication, on the majority of European ecommerce transactions from September 2019 onwards. This change is likely to cause substantial disruption at first, but will add significant security to European payments, benefiting merchants and consumers alike. SCA will consist of authentication via at least two discrete elements of the following three categories: Possession (something only you own), Inherence (something only you are) and Knowledge (something only you know). Additionally, there are various situations where merchants can avail of exemptions to these requirements, avoiding the need for authentication when transactions are deemed to be low risk. 2019 will be a challenging year for businesses to get to grips with these new regulatory requirements, but at the same time, vital to ensuring they have the right solution that will balance security with a great user experience.

 Unified commerce becomes table stakes

Unified experiences extend well beyond supporting both online and offline commerce. Today’s consumers expect seamless experiences powered by mobile ordering, in-store pickup of online orders and using a mobile device in-store to shop, browse and learn about products. Conversely, business expectations have changed as well, driving demand fora single settlement statement across all channels, simple integrations between payment activity and financial reporting, and a common, holistic view of customer behaviours across channels.

In 2019, “omni-channel” will officially become old school, and the era of what we call“unified commerce” will truly begin. Each of these changes and evolutions will require business owners to stay nimble and strive to offer shopper experiences that are unique and easy. We see 2019 as a revolutionary year for global commerce, ushering in a more unified and democratised era where businesses can reach more consumers than ever, and on their terms.

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU’s Sefcovic

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's Sefcovic 1

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Britain’s exit from the EU’s trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland – which remains in the EU’s single market for goods – and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .

“I was also reminding my British partners that this must be a two-way street,” he told a news conference.

Sefcovic said real-time access to the IT systems of customs could smooth customs processes and a trusted trader scheme could ensure Northern Irish supermarkets were properly supplied.

“I hope that tomorrow… we will get feedback from our UK partners on how all these flexibilities and grace periods are being used because it’s clearly a pre-requisite for the EU, the Commission and the member states to assess any further requests,” Sefcovic said.

The EU’s insistence on Britain honouring its withdrawal treaty has left the British province of Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market and put a customs border in the Irish Sea dividing the province from mainland Britain.

Sefcovic said that there were inevitable consequences of Brexit so not everything could be resolved.

Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties have said they are set take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s divorce deal.

However, Sefcovic said companies there might over time see the divorce arrangements as an advantage.

“Being in the single market and at the same time the internal market of the UK is actually a great business opportunity. And I hope that our joint work will amplify this possibility,” he said.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Mark Potter)

 

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Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown

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How cloud technology can help you keep on top of your business finances

Digital transformation acceleration drives cloud contact centre adoption of Calabrio workforce engagement management technology

Calabrio, the workforce engagement management (WEM) company, has seen a strong growth trajectory in the UK during the last 12 months, despite the global pandemic. Achieving 30% year-on-year sales growth, Calabrio International has welcomed more than 150 new customers, with the UK adding a third of those from a wide range of industries including many online challenger businesses. In addition, Calabrio has made strategic new appointments to build its customer support network.

Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown 2

Kris Mckenzie

Kris McKenzie, SVP, Sales, International at Calabrio commented, “Our focus on cloud-first solutions has resonated well with our customers’ need to accelerate their digital transformation and move their contact centres to the cloud in order to maintain business continuity. At a time of uncertainty when consumers need robust support more than ever before, we are witnessing first-hand the cloud transformation of customer services by organisations looking to deliver the next level in customer experience. Modern businesses and contact centres using Calabrio are able to provide exceptional service to their customers through disrupted times.

“Coupled with businesses operating solely online, we have also seen strong demand across the board from more traditional sectors such as finance, insurance, retail, consumer goods, local and central government departments. These organisations require an innovative yet reliable solution to help them manage unprecedented levels in demand.”

When Calabrio surveyed its customers recently[i] 72% of organisations stated they are either moving to the cloud, are already there or plan to increase their investment in cloud technology in 2021. In order to support forward-thinking organisations looking to optimise their investment in cloud contact centre solutions, Calabrio has made two significant appointments.

Niall Gallacher has joined Calabrio as Business Intelligence (BI) strategic consultant and will be instrumental in the design of services that drive value from data and analytics, helping Calabrio customers to solve complex business problems. Before joining Calabrio, Niall spent 6 years with Qlik as Industry Solutions Director. He has 25 years of experience in data, analytics and BI, 15 of which have been with contact centres for leading companies in telecommunications, energy and high-tech industries.

Graeme Gabriel joins as a presales engineer, supporting Calabrio’s workforce engagement suite. He will work with customers to ensure that they achieve maximum benefit from their use of Calabrio solutions, no matter the remote, on-site or hybrid environment. Graeme has international experience encompassing telephony, contact centre, WFM, analytics and customer experience (CX) across a range of sectors, and has held consultancy, advocacy and planning positions at companies including Injixo, Vluent, QPC and AVIOS.

McKenzie concluded, “We welcome both Niall and Graeme to Calabrio, during what has been an incredible year of growth for Calabrio as we supported our customers through these challenging times. This is an exciting and dynamic time for Calabrio as we continue to deliver the value of our all-in-one cloud contact centre suite, including call recording, quality management (QM), WFM, speech analytics and business intelligence suitable for organisations of all shapes and sizes.”

[i] TechValidate survey of 192 users of Calabrio.  Published 29 December 2020.

 

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise 3

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday and said it would start a two-year program that will change it from a holding company to an operating company.

The news and information company, which owns Reuters News, said revenues rose 2% to $1.62 billion, while its operating profit jumped more than 300% to $956 million, reflecting the sale of an investment, a gain from an amendment to pension plan and lower costs.

Its three main divisions, Legal Professionals, Tax & Accounting Professionals and Corporates, all showed higher organic quarterly sales and adjusted profit.

It was not immediately clear if adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents were directly comparable to the 46 cents expected.

Thomson Reuters’ markets are healthy and evolving, making this a good time to transition the company from a content provider to a “content-driven technology company,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in a statement.

Workplaces have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence has a larger role in professional markets, he said.

(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)

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