The connected economy is evolving in the United States, taking inspiration from the super apps that have taken root around the world. These super apps – in Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere – have been able to pull together distant day-to-day activities (from carpooling to banking) and consolidate them behind a digital gateway that connects physical and digital channels.
Max Neukirchen, CEO of Merchant Services at JPMorgan Chase, told Karen Webster that there is some catching up to be played here in the US, involving a shift in the mindset of traders towards how they combine the physical shopping experience with purely digital.
“There is a real push towards emerging super apps in the United States and North America,” Neukirchen said. “Ultimately it will come down to a question of customer experience – who will be able to bring the different parts of the connected digital commerce and economy together in a way that enables consumers to perfectly meet all of their needs.”
The omnichannel experience (which underpins a great app), he said, should be all about the travel – not the channel. This philosophy contrasts sharply with the fact that consumers find the physical store to be the least satisfying channel, and that merchants always invest in buying online, choosing in-store offers (intended to generate traffic), with totally different consumers. experiences in each.
There was a ripple effect that shocked market service ecosystems and helped online marketplaces emerge in what Neunkirchen described as “a central phenomenon in the connected world, where buyers, sellers and consumers meet.” .
Along the way, digital strategies – in fact, the mindset behind those strategies – have evolved. The challenge is there for everyone, he said, and small businesses face the same issues of merging the physical and digital into a good experience as larger businesses. The good news is that a wide range of solution and service providers (including JP Morgan) can help corporate clients create compelling digital offerings that span fulfillment, fraud management, inventory management functions. and integration.
Neukirchen highlighted JP Morgan’s own offerings which help markets and traders raise money, and also help vendors and vendors get paid under one roof, where they can also operate lines of credit or obtain help with KYC and integration validation.
This holistic one-stop-shop, he said, positions JP Morgan well against competitors in FinTech and even Big Tech who have fought to help create omnichannel experiences – and the bank has the added competitive factor of trust. (and a long history with many of its corporate clients) difficult to replicate.
The key questions
“The important question that many merchants are grappling with is how to design digital engagement with their customers,” noted Neukirchen. “Because it’s very important from a loyalty point of view, but also… because payments actually play a vital role in all of this.”
As he told Webster, payments shape important parts of the experience that customers have at the most critical time of engagement – when paying in the digital world. The payments part of the equation has now become a topic of discussion and consideration not only for the treasurer, finance department or CFO, but also for product development, marketing, technical staff and even the CEO. .
As merchants re-examine their digital journeys, it is possible to bring an experience closer to e-commerce to physical retail, so that brick-and-mortar stores function less as a destination for foot traffic and more as a hub for pedestrian traffic. ‘innovation. .
As Neukirchen noted, the omnichannel experience that merchants provide to their customers becomes essential as more and more consumers order something online, then want to redeem those items in-store – or they browse for something in-store, but choose. to order it at home. , online.
“So the question of how to make the different channels – digital and in-store – work together from a purchasing point of view, but also from a maintenance and continuous experience point of view, is a high priority for a lot of our traders, ”he explained.
So far, he pointed out, the typical experience of a customer walking into a store, pulling an app on their phone, generating or accepting a code, and then paying at the point of sale has been called into question. . In many ways. Put simply, customers these days expect the same in-store simplicity that they have online – and as a result, they are eager to pay with biometrics or take advantage of other high-tech offers to make trade a little more transparent.
As the lines for consumers fade and eventually become invisible, said Neukirchen, marketers must decide who owns the consumer experience, and then figure out what to do to make the journey smooth. But as business lines blur, so too does the boundaries between ecosystem stakeholders. Neukirchen said companies have traditionally organized at different points in the channel – the company, for example, that owns the stores, or the app or the product.
“Consumers don’t think that way,” he explained. “They want integrated experiences, and they want companies to combine these solutions seamlessly.” This approach, over time, will “differentiate the winners from the losers in a given segment.” The winners, he predicted, could be the companies that own the last mile of the customer journey.
To that end, it’s not just about connections, but smart connections – and data is the key differentiator. Data, Neukirchen said, can help companies anticipate customer needs along a continuum of services – paving the way for the customer to prefer this solution over all others.
It will be interesting to see how businesses compete for customer attention as the connected economy grows, Neukirchen argued.
“It’s no longer the case that you embed a consumer on your solution or app once and then you’re done,” he said of merchants and vendors. “Consumers will be connected in many ways and we will have choices. And then it will be a constant competition for who provides the easiest, smartest, and most reliable connections.