Skip navigation
All Places > In the News > Blog > Authors johnstevens

In the News

7 Posts authored by: johnstevens

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in May 2017.

 

Creating a seamless environment for online commerce requires the harmony of many different factors. Consumers must be able to navigate a company’s website easily, add items to their shopping carts effortlessly, and complete payment without friction. With so much margin for error and so many abandoned shopping carts, winning the eCommerce race can be tough.

 

May’s Developer TrackerTM features an interview with Deck Commerce, a company that’s focused on making the online checkout race a bit more winnable. Deck Commerce partners with global fitness and athletics brands like New Balance, Rawlings, Warrior and others, developing omnichannel software and solutions to keep these companies ahead of their competition.

 

In the interview with Deck Commerce’s Founder, Chris Deck, Deck provides his insight into many of the opportunities and challenges facing omnichannel merchants today. In particular, he says that the key to winning omnichannel is turning the problems that plague many brands into the very tools that help them grow.

 

Before Deck and his colleagues became a software team, they were consultants, helping athletics brands and retailers design omnichannel commerce strategies. During their time as consultants, they realized that many of these retailers and merchants struggled with three common issues: collecting usable data from their legacy back-end systems, managing and leveraging inventory and, finally, managing orders and delivery. The company saw an opportunity to use their knowledge and experience to provide a better solution, so Deck and his team decided to develop their own software. Deck Commerce morphed from a team of consultants to a development group in 2015.

 

To develop personalized solutions increasingly demanded by eCommerce shoppers – for instance customized recommendations and offers— brands need data about their customers and their online habits. Deck says that Deck Commerce software helps brands collect that data by giving them tools to analyze sales in an existing POS solution, delivering information on what items customers are most likely to buy.

 

“So, the first thing we built were the tools to help merchandisers expand their data, have it ready for easy digital consumption in forms they could understand, and then push that data out across the whole enterprise,” he says.

 

The solution also works to change how brands sort and store their inventory. “Ten years ago, businesses were often creating individual warehouses or allocating inventory that was specifically separated for online selling only,” Deck explains.

 

Rather than keeping inventory in an online-specific warehouse awaiting shipment, Deck Commerce works to build inventory management solutions that enable brands and retailers to store a large variety of items in local warehouses around the country, managing each item via an online dashboard. This helps these companies speed up delivery times to compete with Amazon and other popular eCommerce warehouses known for speedy delivery.

 

“You really want to try to leverage your inventory across all your distribution centers, and now, with buy-online-pickup-in-store, even your retail stores,” he says. “So you need an enterprise view of your inventory, spread out across multiple warehouses, so you can know what marketing to push out and where the inventory is to support that.”

 

Deck also emphasizes the importance of managing multiple streams of orders for brands. With the development of online sales and an increase in big-box stores, many brands are selling their products through more channels than ever before. And, to solve for potential logistics headaches for brands, Deck said the company’s software enables merchants to manage shipping, customer service, payments acceptance and other tasks via one portal, so that brands can easily monitor and manage orders as they are filled.

 

“When you’re successful and engaging with customers, you’re getting lots of orders,” he says. “But when lots of orders are coming in, it’s critical to know how to most effectively process that order, whether from an allocation perspective, who is going to ship it and where, servicing customers, settling payments, all of that.”

 

The end result is software and expertise that helps even established brands like New Balance improve eCommerce sales and grow their business. The company, known for its running shoes and other fitness gear, recently announced it would be expanding its eCommerce business to meet increased demand for orders through the New Balance online store.

 

Read the full interview in May’s edition of PYMNTS.com’s Developer Tracker, powered by Vantiv. It also covers other developer-focused news and updates including:

 

  • Are mobile apps becoming less safe?

Some developers may be motivated by an increasing consumer desire for mobile payments, but many are wary of the security of mobile devices and applications in general. Mandeep Khera, chief marketing officer for security technology company Arxan, recently commented on the state of mobile security, saying the risk of app security is growing. To guard against threats to mobile devices, Khera called on financial institutions, retailers and regulators to put more stringent security protocols into place and to stop the “rush-to-release” mentality that can bring products to market before they are fully secured. He also advised consumers to actively ask about companies’ security protocols.

 

  • Biometric-secured mobile payments projected for big growth this year

With so many consumers concerned about the security of mobile payments, it’s no surprise that some analysts are expecting biometric security to create gargantuan growth. Mobile payments using biometrics to authenticate users are forecasted to reach close to $2 billion in 2017, up from $600 million last year, according to new data from Juniper Research. The adoption of biometric payments is being helped by the growth of Apple Pay and other mobile wallets, and the increased availability of fingerprint sensors on smartphones and tablets. The report found that around 60 percent of smartphones are expected to launch with fingerprint sensors this year.

 

  • Vantiv pays for Paymetric

While some partnered to improve software, Vantiv went the acquisition route. The company inked a deal to acquire Paymetric, a portfolio company of Francisco Partners. In a press release, Vantiv said Paymetric automates B2B payments workflows within enterprise systems, including SAP, Oracle, Hybris and Salesforce. Paymetric also tokenizes payments data, enabling secure storage of customer information and history.

 

Download the report.

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in April 2017.

 

Tech-driven commerce might conjure up images of eCommerce giants and large national retailers that offer advanced capabilities like curbside pickup, real-time inventory and mobile point of sale (POS) systems. But what about grocery stores? Considering that consumers visit grocery stores an average of 1.6 times per week, they are a prime place to enhance shopping experiences and leverage some of the benefits that advanced commerce technology can provide.

Amazon and Kroger are making headlines with advancements aimed at speeding up the grocery purchase process. But for smaller grocery stores and specialty food and beverage chains, keeping pace with the resources and technology offered by large chains can be difficult.

 

There are solutions that can help these smaller businesses stay on the cutting edge and compete with the big players in the grocery game. April’s Developer TrackerTM features an interview with Burt Aycock, director of design for ECR Software, a company that develops solutions for smaller grocery and specialty food and beverage merchants. In the interview, Aycock explains how these smaller businesses can use technology to give consumers a taste of the convenience offered by larger chains.

 

According to a recent report, nearly 50 percent of grocery store shoppers both in the U.S. and around the world make decisions about where to shop based on convenience. And some of the biggest players are using self-service technology to make trips to the store faster, more convenient and safer than ever. Aycock says that smaller chains and stores can invest in technology like self-checkout terminals to satisfy consumers looking for more convenience. He goes on to say that online sales systems can give smaller chains a big boost when it comes to competing with larger national names.

 

Aycock’s team at ECR recently released an online shopping module, designed to allow smaller stores the ability to accept online orders that can be picked up in-store by consumers, similar to services being offered by large national chains. “That’s really just another POS lane when it comes down to it,” Aycock says of online sales capabilities, noting that much of the same software and code that powers in-store sales can be used for online channels. “It’s really just about bringing that same sales technology from in-store to the cloud and putting a user-friendly interface on it so that consumers can make their purchases online in a simple fashion.”

 

While consumers may want more convenience and control over their visits to grocery and specialty food stores, they don’t want speed to come at the price of security. “People have a lot of fear and uncertainty about security, so we always look to develop solutions that are obviously stringent and tough but also easy for retailers and consumers to understand and follow through on,” he explains.

 

But that doesn’t mean security should remove simplicity from transactions, either. It’s a hard balance to strike, Aycock says, but consumers expect digital convenience and safety to go hand in hand.

 

In order to offer safe transactions without wasting customers’ time, Aycock says that merchants should look for solutions that combine speed with security. That includes biometric and tokenization features that can be embedded directly into a store’s payments system, such as the OneTouch solution, a biometric fingerprint scanner that tokenizes data while cashiers ring up items.

 

Read the full interview in April’s edition of PYMNTS.com’s Developer Tracker, powered by Vantiv. It also covers other developer-focused news and updates including:

 

  • A cashless Coachella, with help from Square

Organizers of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announced that all vendors will accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay via Square. Coachella also has a digital partnership with American Express this year where the festival’s app will allow Amex members to link their cards for a chance to win rewards during the festival. Other music festivals have used RFID (radio frequency identification) for payments, where users link their payment cards to wristbands. Lollapalooza, for example, has been using RFID technology since 2014.

 

  • TransferWise turns to chatbots

TransferWise customers will now be able to perform banking and financial transactions via their Facebook accounts. The London-based company announced that it developed a chatbot to help users communicate and complete transactions with businesses. The chatbot is designed to send money to and from the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe from Facebook Messenger. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts. Domestic money transfers are already possible on Facebook Messenger, but TransferWise claims that its service will be the first to enable money transfers globally.

 

  • Deutsche Bank offers HCE payments to German customers

Customers of Deutsche Bank in Germany can now make host card emulation–based mobile payments, according to NFC World. Bank executives said in a statement that customers can download the Deutsche Bank mobile app onto their Android smartphones and then use their Mastercard credit or debit cards to make cashless payments worldwide at Mastercard acceptance points. Deutsche Bank has approximately 300,000 customers who have both a Mastercard product and an Android smartphone.

 

Download the report.

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in March 2017.

 

Mobile technology has impacted how people travel in just about every way. From real-time airfare comparisons to mobile boarding passes, and cross-border mobile payments to instant language translation, there’s virtually no part of the travel experience that’s been left untouched. As technological advancements continue making travel more convenient for consumers, software developers are looking for new ways to make traveling as convenient, efficient and secure as possible.

 

March’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Celia Pereiro, the head of payments for travel software solution provider Amadeus. In February 2016, Amadeus launched a B2B wallet that processes digital payments faster between different travel companies, or entities such as an airline and a travel agent or a booking service. The wallet was developed as part of a collaboration between Amadeus, MasterCard, and Ixaris. In addition to the wallet, Amadeus is preparing to debut a new payments service that would make paying for incidental airport services, such as baggage fees and skycap services, easier and more efficient.

 

The growing acceptance of mobile payments in travel industry has, in a way, steered it away from cash. That’s because mobile wallets support a wide range of digital payment options, letting travelers save much-needed physical currency for when they’re on the ground at their destinations. Pereiro sees the shift toward mobile payments to continue gaining momentum and with that, a continual decline in cash usage. “We are working with airlines on on-board payment systems,” she says. “Mobile payments are a big part of that business model.”

 

On the other hand, giving consumers too many payment options can cause confusion and friction. As a result, Periero says, the Amadeus team is working to personalize payment apps for individual travelers. This can empower them to quickly find their preferred digital payment option depending on the type of purchase.

 

Personalization has become increasingly important to Amadeus and other development companies in a wide range of industries, as consumers expect solutions to be catered to their needs and circumstances. “Personalization in payments is becoming a hot topic in travel as more and more people book on mobile devices,” Periero explains. “With that smaller screen-size it is not feasible to offer a long list of possible payment options – people just want to see the best payment option for them for that given payment. And their preferred payment option will change depending on whether they are booking a business trip, [thousands] for their honeymoon or spending $20 on extra baggage at the airport.”

 

While security is a concern to consumers when making any purchase, they are especially concerned about it when traveling, Periero notes. Due to physical security concerns, customers must disclose sensitive personal information when making airline and other travel reservations. While these measures may help keep bad actors from boarding planes, they can also potentially expose customer data to hackers and other cybercriminals.

 

Therefore, Periero says, it’s important that Amadeus and other travel solutions keep sensitive customer information safe. “Data security is one of our highest priorities and drives communications management at every level,” she says. “We work with travel companies to help them extract the sensitive credit card data from their systems and convert it into tokens so that they do not need to hold vulnerable data in their systems.”

 

Data and cybersecurity are also a concern when it comes to a company’s bottom line, Periero notes. By reducing the risk of cyberattacks, companies can inspire consumer confidence. Doing so can be good for customer satisfaction while also helping companies avoid lost revenue due to security breaches, fraud, chargebacks or fines for not complying with security standards. Security concerns will only become more prevalent as consumers increasingly turn to modern electronic payment methods, Periero points out. As consumers travel into a brave new personalized future, the pressure is on software developers to keep pace, offering the personalization and security that modern, digital payments – and their consumers – demand.

 

Read the full interview in March’s edition of PYMNTS.com’s Developer TrackerTM, powered by Vantiv. It also covers other developer-focused news and updates including:

 

  • Urban Airship debuts single-tap loyalty rewards

Urban Airship, the mobile engagement provider, recently unveiled a service that allows loyalty cards to be updated through a single tap with Apple Pay. The company describes the solution as the first of its kind for mobile wallets, which replaces the old method of using loyalty and rewards programs on smartphones. Users can now use Urban Airship to pay and earn loyalty and rewards points all via one app. The company will also be supporting other value-added services through Apple Pay.

  • Warehouse Mobile Solutions unveils inventory management app

Need to keep track of warehouse inventory? There’s an app for that. Warehouse Mobile Solutions recently released WarehouseOS, a new mobile solution for tracking and monitoring inventory. The app is designed to help make fulfillment and delivery as seamless as possible. It offers a simple interface that allows users to quickly view, track and report inventory data. It also claims to have cut the time required to fulfill orders in half. The app is aimed at helping businesses transition to delivering products directly to consumers via online orders.

 

Download the report.

On a never-ending endeavor to be your preferred payments partner, Vantiv reached two milestones in March—our 5th year as a public company and becoming the leading merchant acquirer in the U.S., processing more payment transactions than anyone. Whether for you, with you or through you, it’s a journey of everyday spend that we’re on with you, every day. 

 

See milestones

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in February 2017.

 

According to an estimate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 500 million smartphone users are actively using a health care–related application. The FDA also projects that more than 1.5 billion smartphone users will have downloaded a mobile health app by 2018.

 

While these apps may allow users to take better care of their personal health, they often lack the personalization that health care typically requires.

 

Gilad Meiri, founder and CEO of Neura, and his team are working to change that. This month, the company debuted a new software-as-a-service development kit that’s designed to help medical and health care app builders make their software more personalized. February’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Meiri in which he discusses personalization in health care software and how it can help improve outcomes for patients and providers alike.

 

While there is a wide range of apps that claim to help patients track their treatment and prescription plans, a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that most apps do not do enough to affect a patient’s behavior and would benefit from a more personalized approach. As a result, the study concludes these apps do not have a true impact on adherence to medical plans.

 

Meiri says that Neura’s new software development kit is designed to combat this exact problem. The software adapts to user needs, he explains, monitoring their behavior and using it to help patients build better, healthier habits.

 

He notes that the software allows app builders to use this behavioral data to send alerts to users when they are most likely to act on the notification and, as a result, increase adherence to treatment plans and improve health outcomes.

 

“This is an impactful place for us to be. People who aren’t able to follow their doctor’s prescription plan can significantly compromise their health or preventative care treatment,” Meiri says. “Medication management apps and medical devices enabled by Neura adapt to the user’s day and help the user do what they need to do, right when they need to do it.”

Neura learns when to remind users to take prescriptions or engage in treatment by finding out more about a patient’s behavior and patterns, Meiri says.

 

The service uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to discover what a user does in the real world, by tracking movements along with biometric indicators, similar to devices like fitness trackers. However, Meiri says that he and his team have improved on popular wearable devices that measure whether a user is taking part in a healthy activity — like working out — based on data from technological devices. This includes information from devices like accelerometers, which measures how fast a person is moving and can determine if they are going for a jog or bike ride, or a heart rate monitor, which can tell if a user’s heart is working harder than normal.

 

But these indicators have a major flaw, Meiri says.

 

“Right now, most apps and devices can tell you if you are doing something but not why you are doing it,” he explains. “They cannot determine if you’re moving faster and your heart rate is increasing because you’re going for a jog and working out or if it’s because you’re running to catch the train or catch the bus. So they don’t know if you’re really engaging in a healthy activity or just doing something as a result of circumstance.”

 

The software combines multiple data streams that can be collected by a smartphone app or a wearable medical device to learn about a user’s daily activity, such as when they typically wake up or go to sleep, leave for work and return home, where and what they eat, and when they typically work out.

 

Meiri explains that, over time, devices and apps that use Neura’s software can determine, for example, when a patient arrives at the gym or another location where they typically work out or exercise. The software can then be used for reminders like prompting a diabetic to check his or her glucose levels before working out, increasing the odds that a user will follow through with treatment. With benefits for consumers, providers and developers, keep an eye on increased personalization coming to health care apps, now and in the near future.

 

Read the full interview in February’s edition of PYMNTS.com’s Developer TrackerTM, powered by Vantiv. It also covers other developer-focused news and updates including:

 

  • castAR taps Broadleaf Commerce for developer marketplace

castAR seems to be turning over a new leaf. The company recently selected Broadleaf Commerce to help build a new marketplace for developers. The marketplace will allow developers to upload and develop projects from any location. According to a release, castAR turned to Broadleaf Commerce due to its framework, which the company plans to leverage for this new marketplace. “Augmented reality will fundamentally change how people play and work together, and we’re excited to be working to bring this technology to consumers in 2017. We looked at several customizable Java frameworks and found that Broadleaf was best-suited.”

 

  • Vantiv, CardFlight collaborate on EMV mobility

Have EMV reader, will travel. Payment processing service and technology solution provider Vantiv recently announced the debut of a mobile EMV POS solution, based on a partnership with mPOS provider CardFlight. Under terms of a new agreement between the two companies, Vantiv will offer CardFlight’s SwipeSimple mPOS solution, which includes an EMV-enabled mobile chip card reader and a mobile app for iOS and Android devices to its merchants. The solution offers additional features, including back-office reporting portals and other business tools. "EMV and mobile are two of the important trends for financial institution customers, who offer payments solutions for their business customers," Kelly Beatty, SVP and general manager of merchant solutions for financial institutions at Vantiv, said in a press release. "CardFlight's mobile POS solution is a natural fit, and their ability to co-brand the solution for our customers is a key differentiator."

 

Download the report.

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in the developer space. Here's an overview of the Developer TrackerTM published in December 2016.

 

Paying rent with personal checks made sense not too long ago, before new payment methods started to change consumer expectations. But these days many renters, especially younger ones typically in the market for apartment rentals, want and expect more options.

 

A survey from the Federal Reserve reported that the number of checks in circulation declined by more than 50 percent from 2000 to 2012 as card payments and new payment methods more than tripled. Despite that, according to the same research from the Fed, checks still reign supreme when it comes to paying rent. But new players, like mobile rent-paying app YapStone, want to change the playing field.

 

The company is looking to answer renters’ requests for another way to pay by offering the most ubiquitous solution possible — one that accepts a wide range of payment types, according to Bruce Dragt, YapStone’s senior vice president of product. December’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Dragt discussing the payment platform and what he sees as a rent revolution.

 

Checks have been around for a long time, but they can be expensive and time-consuming for property management companies to process. Dragt explains that YapStone is looking to replace checks with more modern forms of payments such as credit/debit cards and mobile wallets. The company’s solution accepts not just modern methods like card and mobile payments, but also ACH Payment processing, international payments and other acceptance methods. Renters with roommates can also share or split payments across multiple accounts.

 

“We provide as many mechanisms as possible for renters to pay their rent so that it can be as simple and easy as possible for everyone to use the solution to make a payment,” Dragt says. “We also provide integration, backing and tools for the property management companies, so they can update their records and keep track of who has and has not paid.”

 

But the solution is not just designed for making payments on a full-time home. YapStone can be used to facilitate short-term rentals, such as a week at a beach house or a cottage on the slopes. The company has even powered payment processing for HomeAway, a popular vacation rental app and website, for over 10 years.

 

Most recently, the company announced a new integration and collaboration with Vantiv that will allow YapStone to offer single-touch payment acceptance for Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet. Dragt said that the partnership was part of the company’s effort to add integrations for new payment methods as they become more widely used.

 

“The ability to add new payment methods to our platform is really important,” Dragt explains. “The operating model that we use to support all these different payment ecosystems and to add new payment types is to make it very simple and seamless for our end client. So we want to make it available to the consumer as quickly as possible without disrupting the core operating environment for property managers.”

 

Given the changing state of rental payments, perhaps it won’t be too long before checks are given a permanent eviction notice.

 

Here’s a snapshot of other notable developer-focused news items:

  • According to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts, mobile payments awareness reached all-time highs in the US. More than 40 percent of respondents said they were familiar with four different mobile payment capabilities. Despite this awareness, no more than 32 percent of consumers had performed any mobile payments action.
  • Apple recently announced it will partner with the Blackhawk Network to integrate gift and loyalty cards into its mobile payment system. Blackhawk will allow Apple Pay users to make payments using prepaid gift cards and to earn and use rewards/loyalty points from participating merchants.
  • Google recently launched its Android Pay mobile wallet in Ireland. The nation has been a fairly early adopter of mobile payments, with half of consumers using contactless payments, including 1.9 million customers a week.
  • Amazon unveiled its new grocery store design, Amazon Go. The store allows customers to enter the store using a paired smartphone app, pick up their items and exit the store without waiting in line or visiting a cashier. The app works with a variety of sensors to detect what shoppers have selected and charges their Amazon accounts for the items they take home.

Download the report

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in November 2016.

 

Small business accelerators are becoming crucial drivers of the US economy. Estimates suggest that 700 accelerators are now operating across the country and the need for accelerators continues to grow. Why are they becoming so popular? Because startups often need the resources – such as capital, equipment, and expertise – that these organization provide to stay afloat in a competitive marketplace. November’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Joe Munk, program manager at the Portland State University Startup Accelerator in Oregon to discuss accelerators, the benefits they offer, and his predictions for the future.

 

“We only have one lab, so there are always at least four or five companies working down there, kind of overlapping,” Munk says. “In fact, I think that the real benefit of being part of an accelerator is just the fact that you can bounce ideas off your neighbors or successful companies we work with in the space.” He says that the opportunities for collaboration and learning that accelerators offer are among their key benefits.

 

At Portland State’s accelerator, and at many similar organizations around the country, firms have access to a host of resources they might not otherwise. Munk explains that he and his team provide companies with rapid prototyping facilities that include high-priced technology like 3D printers and laser cutters. This allows startups to use state-of-the-art technology without huge expenditures and keep pace with larger, better funded competitors.

 

Startups in the accelerator can also meet with CEOs and investment firms to learn what made them successful, ask for advice, and possibly secure investments. “Accelerators provide a lot of mentoring,” Munk says. “We bring in experts on various topics and do office hours, where they can sit in an office with our companies and answer their questions. We also give them access to capital by facilitating connections to venture capital funds and local angel investors.”

 

While Munk emphasizes the practical knowledge that can be gained from meeting with investors and successful companies, he notes that the biggest resource that the 30-plus businesses and 200 employees have at the accelerator is access to one another. He predicts that the influence of accelerators will continue to grow as software and other technology become even more important parts of the economy. “It’s starting to come to the forefront,” he says. “I’m excited to see where it goes.”

 

Here’s a snapshot of other notable developer-focused news items:

 

  • Mobile payments are a “daily activity” for many Chinese consumers, according to new research from Strategy Analytics. Seventy-five percent of mobile payment users report that they spend via a mobile wallet every day.
  • Meterfeeder recently debuted a new app that allows drivers to pay parking meters via their smartphones. The app can also be paired with other components, including a ticket printer, to allow parking officers to enforce limits and fines.
  • Electronics manufacturer LG and Paymentwall recently partnered to bring payments to the company’s line of smart TV apps. The move, which will allow smart TV app developers to accept payments directly from the television, is designed to help developers monetize their products and sell to a wider audience.
  • Online lending startup Affirm recently raised $100 million in debt from financial services provider Morgan Stanley. The startup, founded by PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, recently tripled the number of loans it issued in the past year and now holds hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of loans.

 

Download the report