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Spotlight: Insights from PXP Financial on Innovating Retail Payments

Retail payments are undergoing a rapid transformation. From the widespread adoption of mobile wallets to the emergence of cryptocurrencies, alongside innovations like merchant-initiated payments and buy now pay later options, the entire landscape of consumer experiences and business operations is being reshaped.

It’s an exciting evolution that’s changing the way we interact with money and commerce.

PXP Financial, a payments provider in the retail, hospitality, entertainment, travel and gaming sectors, processes more than €22.7billion annually through a unified gateway.

In this week’s Spotlight, we speak to Chris Gilderson, head of retail and hospitality at PXP Financial, about the dynamic space of retail payments and the disruptive technologies shaping its future.

Tell us about yourself and PXP Financial
Chris Gilderson, head of retail and hospitality at PXP Financial
Chris Gilderson, head of retail and hospitality at PXP Financial

I have been at PXP Financial for more than 25 years and joined straight out of college. Specialising in customer services, operations and onboarding, I have held various roles over the years including head of customer services. As head of hospitality and retail, I lead a close-knit and commercially focused team which supports some of those sectors’ most recognisable brand names.

PXP Financial specialises in delivering end-to-end payment service to clients and partners from wide variety of industries. We provide a single unified payments platform which allows our customers to accept payments online, on mobile and at the point of sale.

The company’s journey began back in the 1980s, and today we have over 200 employees from 25 nationalities working across five offices around the world.

What are the most influential trends shaping the space of retail payments today?

Without a doubt, the adoption of contactless payments stands out as the most defining trend in retail payments today. Even versus just 12 to 18 months ago, adoption has significantly increased.

Adoption in Europe is skyrocketing, for example, in Austria, our statistics show that 96 per cent of last year’s in-store transactions were contactless. The US is lagging behind Europe, but gathering pace. In early 2023, the percentage of contactless transactions in the US was still in the low 30s, however that increased to around 45 per cent by the end of the year. The US has a reputation as a slow adopter of payments innovations, so it will be interesting to see where contactless stands by the end of 2024.

We’ve also seen a phenomenal increase in the variety of devices people can use to make contactless payments. Wearables have entered the mainstream, from jewellery and watches to keyrings and clothing. These offer security thanks to biometric authentication, and also convenience, making payments on the go easier than ever before. This has appeal for a lot of people, for example, commuters who want to pay without any hassle and continue with their journey as swiftly as possible.

How are retailers responding to evolving consumer payment preferences, particularly in-store?

Significant changes are coming, particularly to point of sale technology. We will see retailers testing a number of initiatives and concepts in the coming months and years, and though the changes won’t come overnight, in-store experiences are set to be transformed by payments innovations.

Rather than opening stores with multiple fixed points of sale, we will see retailers increasingly turn to mobile payment apps with connected smart devices. These offer a variety of functionalities from assisted selling, to inventory, to click and collect.

This kind of payments strategy has a range of benefits. Staff have increased mobility and are able to assist customers and make sales seamlessly throughout the store, reducing wait times and enhancing customer service. Retailers also stand to benefit from enhanced data analytics, operational efficiency, and greater agility and adaptability, to name just a few of the perks.

Can you tell us a bit more about your retail customers and how their needs are evolving?

While every company requires a tailored approach, there are definitely some common themes across the board. There is mounting pressure on retailers to be able to swiftly adapt their trading models to support diverse paths to purchase and various channel combinations.

It’s a highly competitive business environment, driven by a combination of factors including advances in technology. Retailers need to stay ahead of changes in consumer behaviour at a time when consumers are more empowered than ever, navigate the rise of e-commerce while optimising their physical stores, and they need the ability to harness data for decision-making.

PXP Financial responds to this need for agility by providing modular and configurable systems, so our retail customers can scale or launch at speed, as well as turn on additional sales channels post-launch. This flexibility and customisability is vital in the fast-changing retail industry.

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