I am a big fan of Amazon. I think it is a brilliant example of making consumers’ lives easier and adding value, especially with their system of recommendations. I’m sure as a business tool it works really well for Amazon – increasing the average ‘basket’
value. But there’s a problem. My wife also shops from my account sometimes, or we buy things for the kids. So I go on to the site and, actually, a lot of the recommendations are of no interest for me personally. (And yes, I have tried ‘fixing’ the recommendation
etc.) It’s so close, yet so far!
But what we can learn from Amazon is the value of data.
Data, used correctly, gives you knowledge. Knowledge, applied in the right way, turns into intelligence. Intelligence, brought together in context, delivers insight.
Getting insight from data is the Holy Grail – it moves beyond knowing what people have done, to knowing why they did it and what they are likely to do in future. THEN you can really start to add value to the customer, and that is what drives loyalty.
That is what I believe we are still missing in the payments world. There is so much information that goes alongside any payment that is vastly underutilized. Don’t start shouting me down – I know there are some key retailers who are good at collecting information
their customers and using that to add value, but far too many don’t do anything. But I don’t think the opportunities lie at the retailer level, whose view is, by its very nature, limited to transactions in their stores or on their services. To really deliver
insight on customers requires much more information than any one retailer would ever be able to get.
So who is in the position to deliver this? What if banks could do it? What if they could consolidate information about all your purchases, online and in different stores? What if they could start looking beyond how much you spent on a transaction, and see
what you bought, and start to understand what that means? Imagine if banks could start to provide information to customers based on all their previous activity, as we see online with Google Adsense, and really start to add value and become an integral tool
for consumers every day.
They say the value of a payment is in the data that surrounds it – wouldn’t it be great if banks could really start to use that data?