Retailers Payment Forum Offers Insight into the Future of Payments in SA

The First Annual Retailers Payment Forum was held in Cape Town last week. Hosted by Calleo, a South African based payments consultancy and research firm, the event covered international and local trends in payments technology and showcased the challenges and opportunities for South African retailers.

Attended by many of South Africa’s top retail groups including Woolworths, Foschini, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Clicks and Cape Union Mart, the afternoon kicked off with a presentation from Mark Beresford, Director, Head of Retailer Payments Practice, Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC). Beresford outlined some of the upcoming international trends in retail technology. He particularly emphasised the convergence of online and in store shopping and how the adoption of new technologies by consumers makes “cross channel” commerce a reality.

Beresford touched on the vast array of new technologies that have entered the retail payments space, such as mPOS, mobile wallets and “Click and Collect”, which is growing from a nascent feature to a mainstay regular offering in Europe and by 2018 it is expected to bring in between €20bn and €25bn for retailers.

Beresford explained that it is important for retailers to be aware of these technologies because “as technology costs have fallen and technology has been placed into the hands of consumers there has been a gradual shift of power and influence from the bank to the consumer.” People have more control then ever over how and when they pay for something and retailers bust be able to capitalise on these trends.

The second presentation of the day was the MyGate Payment Index figures for 2013, which were presented by Glen Ross from MyGate. The figures and statistics covered in MyGate’s Payment Index are taken from billions of Rands worth of transactions processed via MyGate’s payment gateway for thousands of South African merchants.

In their presentation MyGate gave the attendees an overview of what is happening in the online retail sector in South Africa. They presented that, while online shopping is still not particularly mature, the total online spend in South Africa in 2014 is estimated at R5.5 billion. They also noted an increase in online purchases happening through mobile phones with 30% of all mobile devices with internet connectivity (phones and tablets) being used to make online purchases.

The final presentation was by Mike Scott from Eccentric Payment Systems. Scott covered some of the main areas South African retailers have to consider when looking at payments. These areas included: value added services, accepting multiple payment types, security and compliance, integration, infrastructure, and omni-channel retailing.

This was followed by a discussion session facilitated by Andrew Dean, Managing Director of Calleo, who raised the question of whether there was enough discussion between payment solution providers and retailers around common challenges in the local payments industry. Attendees then shared their own insights and opinions on issues and challenges in the retail payments sector. As one attendee said the event was a “good opportunity to network and discuss shared challenges across the various industries”

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