Getting It Right: How Visa is Preparing for the Next Generation of Commerce

The internet has not only altered the way we communicate but it’s also redefined the way we make payments. All of a sudden, anyone with an internet connection has access to a global cyberstore, and people are taking advantage of it.  

“People want to be able to pay everywhere, in any country with any technology that they have available to them. So it forces us as an industry to think about new ways to cater to that need,” said Brian Weiner, Vice President of Product and Strategy at Visa Canada.

According to Weiner, Visa processes 22 per cent of consumer spending worldwide, and is ideally positioned to react to the changes in the payments industry.

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To discuss this and other changes, Visa invited representatives from several disruptive companies to speak at a recent event themed, “the trigger for change.”

“All of the people that are presenting tonight are headline makers with regard to their respective industries. Though they’re not necessarily payments people, the payments industry has a lot to learn from them. And we’re looking for cues from other industries to help us look at ourselves in different ways,” Weiner stated.

The panelists, TouchBistro, PinchVR, Shopify and Faze-In, each shared their experience with creating disruptive technology. The panel was moderated by Amber Mac.

The panelists, partners or potential Visa partners, seemed to share a common goal: to create new shopping experiences. Weiner adds that Visa’s role in the e-commerce ecosystem is to help facilitate those experiences, partly to anticipate and keep pace with how consumers wish to pay and be paid.

According to a pwc report, over 20 per cent of Canadians envision a future where their smartphone is their main purchasing tool, in comparison to 29 per cent globally. The survey was given to 19,000 respondents across 6 continents.

Panelist Milan Baic, the founder and director of the Toronto digital agency Cordon Inc., was invited to speak about his latest endeavour; the virtual reality smartphone case, PinchVR.  

“Unlike other companies, we don’t really think hardware is much of a business model,” says Baic. Rather than ‘get by’ on their software, Baic’s goal is to sell experiences. He says that Visa’s vision for online payments and his vision for a virtual e-commerce experience have the potential to work well together.

“Innovation is taking two ideas that would normally never have a relationship and making something new,” he said.

The event’s keynote speaker was Leonard Brody, serial entrepreneur and author of “The Great Rewrite,” soon to be published in conjunction with Forbes.

Leonard spoke extensively on the relationship between society and the internet, and says that Visa’s vision for new and innovative ways to pay plays into a global shift in communication.

“The internet, inherently in our bones, we know is important. We get that. However, though it’s now part of our everyday lives, the internet is a critical point in human development that’s shaped modern innovation and the standard business model,” Brody noted.

“It is effectively the foundation stone of this rewrite that’s going on. If the house we’re living in is a tear down, this is the foundation stone on which that house is going to be rebuilt,” he added.

More importantly, however, Brody emphasizes that the internet allows society to take control of its own communication as it has never been able to before. Though he states that the world has seen five media revolutions, he argues that they’ve all been government-driven.

“It is the first time in the history of our species where we own our own communication at mass scale, on a global level, for virtually no additional cost to the average disposable income and it’s true pretty much across the planet.”

Brian Weiner concludes that Visa’s global influence puts it in a promising position to deliver on this newly arisen need. For Visa, he says, it’s not about sending out the first press release. It’s about getting it right the first time.

“Our objective is to live up to our brand promise of being everywhere you want to be. It makes sense for us to think in new ways about where people pay and how they want to pay. We’re ideally positioned to be able to deliver on that promise,” he said.

This content is sponsored by Visa Canada.