Ahead of this year’s Money 20/20 Europe, Finextra asked Sreelekha Sankar, CTO, PagoNxt Merchant Solutions, to respond to key questions tied to the event’s panel titled ‘How verticalisation can become a competitive advantage.’
How does verticalisation help businesses handle payments across a variety of industries?
At PagoNxt Merchant Solutions, we have expertise in different verticals ranging from universities to transport and mobility. We recognise that each vertical is different. Our extensive knowledge of specific verticals enables us to offer insight and expertise to our partners using terminology that they understand. This helps us to ensure alignment with our partners on how they can best serve their customers achieve success.
Ergo, verticalisation positions PagoNxt and our partners on an equal footing, with a mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s industries. This allows us to offer merchants qualified payments advice that’s tailored to their specific industry.
No single vertical should be treated the same as another, and by providing unique payment services that allow merchants to serve customers in different verticals, we are offering payment products that are best suited to specific workflows. Our technology offers a high level of customisation possibilities, which allows us to seamlessly offer tailor-made solutions per vertical.
We understand the challenge of having customers in different industries and markets, and this is why we have developed payment services and solutions that allow the businesses that we partner with to offer specialised payment capabilities to their diverse customer base. Thanks to our global presence we also have support and servicing teams located in the local markets making it possible to offer verticalised support models depending on the market and industry.
Why is verticalisation so important?
Being a payments company, we recognise the value of verticalisation in terms of the role that we play in supporting businesses in different sectors to adapt to uncertainty and maximise their chances of sales success. Moreover, this has a direct link in terms of how we innovate to best serve customers in different verticals and in understanding how our products can benefit businesses in more than one sector.
As a payments company that is looking to be a global leader in the payments space, we recognise that in order to maintain a market share and to successfully expand into new markets, innovation is key. As we continue to challenge ourselves to overcome complex challenges that our customers and merchants face in a variety of different sectors, our verticalisation is not only deepening our knowledge of different industries but the different problems that our merchants face too.
Such insight allows us to come back to the drawing board and to innovate to overcome some of the most pressing payments challenges faced by a variety of different businesses in different sectors. At PagoNxt Merchant Solutions, we don’t see value in one product being applied to all merchants. Each merchant should feel listened to, understood and catered to, and verticalisation allows us to offer our partners in specific industries tailored services and solutions to meet their specific needs, with innovation that they won’t find elsewhere.
An additional advantage of our verticalisation is that we are able to identify the common denominators between different verticals, recognising shared needs between businesses in different sectors. This allows us to best understand how specific services and solutions can benefit businesses across different verticals, which increases our efficiency, reduces redundancy and shortens the time it takes for us to take products to market.
What are the challenges that come with trying to perfect verticalisation? How does PagoNxt go about resolving these?
There is no silver bullet to successful verticalisation. With merchants in a variety of different sectors this necessitates rapid understanding of sector nuances and complexities, which can prove challenging. No one vertical is the same, and while there may be parallels between them, each sector should be treated in isolation to develop unique solutions for merchants within these sectors that they won’t find elsewhere.
I find two main challenges:
- The first one is that this level of innovation and understanding of different verticals takes time. It takes time to understand our merchants’ needs, how we can help them, to roll out our product or service and to examine the positive impact that it’s had. How do we overcome this challenge? We have one of the most experienced teams that work across different verticals. Our team is constantly upgrading their knowledge by speaking with clients, prospects, and rethinking how best to solve challenges in specific sectors.
- The second challenge I see, is to reach equilibrium between serving everyone and designing niche solutions for niche verticals. At PagoNxt, we have found that perfect balance in being a fintech which is supported by a large bank. We have the knowledge and understanding necessary for us to cater to specific verticals, and at the same time we have payments solutions for every business and customer need.
What makes PagoNxt an important voice in the payments sector?
We are like no other payments company out there. We combine the best of a traditional bank and that of a fintech company, but we are unique in all that we do. Our services and solutions have been developed by combining banking and financial expertise with a team of experts in the technology and payments space. PagoNxt has managed to merge the two fields seamlessly to develop innovative payments services and solutions that cannot be found elsewhere.
While our specialised team combines banking and technological expertise, we also rely upon a team of sectoral experts who share insight that is used to inform our product development and innovation. For example, we have staff that are experts in education, mobility and transport, hospitality, retail and consumer goods, and e-commerce marketplaces. Such expertise and experience allows us to serve businesses across multiple verticals, and with each new vertical that we work within, we are expanding our knowledge and understanding of the payment landscape within some of the world’s largest industries.
As such, this gives us a unique voice, and authority to comment on the latest trends and developments, as we look to be a leader in the global payments space. We have been one of the first payments companies to embrace cloud-naiveness, and we are continuing to expand across Europe at pace.
I should also mention our success in Latin America where we are a leader in e-commerce in Brazil, one of the most competitive countries globally in the payments space, and with strong operations in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay too. Latin America is a totally different world, and we have been able to understand our merchants needs there and provide successful solutions.
As such, we have unrivalled insight that should inspire new and emerging fintechs but also guide our more established peers. We have proven how successful the convergence of a traditional bank and an innovative fintech company can be, working in different geographies for different verticals.
How is PagoNxt setting trends across the payments community?
Our innovations are leading the next generation of payments companies around the world.
- We have embraced cloud-nativeness, and we expect to see more payments companies follow suit in the future, as it has enabled us to roll out new products and services faster than ever before.
- Moreover, our international growth strategy is setting further trends across the payments community, with Europe being a focus for us at the moment, as well as maintaining our level of success across Latin America. We are recognising more payments companies looking to expand into these regions and at the same time we have the expertise to advise European merchants on their expansion into Latin America and the other way around.
- As an industry, we are now on the cusp of seeing more traditional banks partner with fintech companies in a bid to best serve merchants and customers around the world. Our success is influencing other traditional banks and encouraging many to outsource to fintech and payments companies in a bid to offer innovative new services that haven’t previously been possible.
Sreelekha Sankar will be speaking on the panel titled 'How verticalisation can become a competitive advantage' during day two of Money 20/20 Europe.