What The Convenience Store Can Teach Brands About Mobile Payment Design [PSFK SAN FRANCISCO]

What The Convenience Store Can Teach Brands About Mobile Payment Design [PSFK SAN FRANCISCO]

PSFK chats with Michael Boeke of Venmo Touch about instant payments and designing an intricate process for small screens.

  • 13 november 2013

We are very excited about returning to SF for PSFK SAN FRANCISCO on November 21 to present the fourth volume of PSFK’s Future of Retail report. We have a line-up of speakers confirmed with more to come, hailing from companies such as GoogleZappos, and Foursquare.

One of these speakers will be Michael Boeke, lead designer at Braintree Payments. Michael is a designer, product guy, and startup veteran, who currently designs and produces software at online payments company Braintree. He focuses on applying design thinking and modern technology to shake-up traditional (read: boring) industries. Prior to Braintree, Michael launched the first online CRM and accounting platforms for hedge funds at Backstop. He also designed the CarePages social support platform, which millions have used to follow and support hospitalized loved ones.

We spoke to Michael about Braintree, the auto-fill mobile payment system we have featured in the Future of Retail report, and Venmo Touch, Braintree’s most recent innovation.

Tell us about Venmo Touch and the recent work you have been doing.

Venmo Touch enables one touch payments across apps by providing a secure, connective layer between apps on a mobile device. It eliminates the need for consumers to re-type credit card and address information, which makes it easier to complete a purchase. For example, if a user enters their credit card into the Living Social app, and then later downloads Hotel Tonight while traveling, they can just tap a button to re-use the payment information from their Living Social app.

This is a big deal for merchants, because getting payment information from customers on a mobile device can be really difficult. Venmo Touch not only stores the card within the app for future purchases, but also offers new customers, who could be customers of other apps on the network, a way to pay without having to enter their credit card information.

What are the larger changes in consumer behavior when it comes to retail and shopping habits?

By far the biggest story we see in retail commerce is the shift to mobile. More than half of time spent shopping online now happens on a mobile device, so we’ve already crossed a tipping point. There are two main constraints inherent to mobile devices that merchants need grapple with: entering data on a touch screen and merchandising on a display that is only three by seven inches.

For the data-entry issue, we think that Venmo Touch is the most compelling answer available for enabling customers to complete purchases on their mobile devices. It enables them to make a purchase without entering long strings of payment information on fidgety and frustrating touch screens.

For merchandising, merchants need to combine elegant design with different types of data to quickly show a mobile user the exact product they want or need. Merchandising on a laptop display is like Costco – you can use the space to offer customers the widest variety possible. Merchandising on mobile is more like a convenience store or fashion boutique – you have limited space, so you need to make sure you have exactly what the customer is looking for, or something that immediately inspires them to purchase. The great news is that mobile devices themselves can provide unique contextual data (e.g. location) that merchants can increasingly leverage to customize the mobile shopping experience. At Braintree, we’re looking at ways we can help merchants to do more with the data available and deliver great contextual experiences.

How do you see the trend of instant payments, which eliminates the need for traditional financial transactions, changing the retail landscape?

A lot of consumers love using their credit and debit cards because they offer enticing rewards programs and the ability to purchase on credit.  Merchants will continue to accept payment in the formats that are most popular with their customers.

That being said, there is a tremendous amount of experimentation and innovation happening in the payments space right now. At Braintree we’re providing the payments platform that enables developers and entrepreneurs to focus on the core of their products. In fact, we’re proud to see so many other financial innovators choosing to build on Braintree’s platform, including folks like LevelUp and Simple.

How is Venmo Touch navigating this trend?

With Venmo Touch, creating instant payments doesn’t eliminate the need for traditional transactions, but rather turns them into better experiences. We don’t want to tell customers which payment method to use, and neither do most of our merchants. Venmo Touch makes the traditional transaction experience one that is enjoyable – even magical – for customers, and helps merchants to drive more transactions.

The mobile checkout process has historically been a clunky experience, and today we have 55% of e-commerce shopping taking place on mobile devices. Although many of these sessions happen on mobile devices, the percentage of shopping sessions that actually convert to a purchase drops precipitously without a mobile optimized shopping and purchasing experience. Braintree is working to solve this problem for both merchants and consumers with Venmo Touch, by eliminating the need to enter payment information.

Thank you Michael!

See Michael speak about Braintree, instant payments, and more at PSFK’s upcoming San Francisco event! More information about PSFK San Francisco can be found here. Tickets can also be purchased below.

PSFK San Francisco - The Future Of Retail


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