Experiences beyond the expected: Dain Saxon on pushing payments further.​

Wpay Payments Experience Lead Dain Saxon speaks about the opportunities within the payment space. He believes we’re riding a new wave of revolution within the payments space 
and that businesses that don’t adapt may be left behind.

How does your role help merchants?

As payments experience lead, my role is to help merchants to see payments not as a necessity but as a highly lucrative mechanism for business growth, tracking customer sentiment, and building advocacy. 

Merchants work hard to attract customers in-store, online, or both. They have made the sale and earned the conversion. The payment experience can be a make-or-break moment for so many reasons, and the last thing they need is to be let down by their checkout. If the overall payment experience creates friction, the likelihood of repeat purchases plummets.

Every aspect, from the different payment methods to the overall payment experience, whether in-store or online, influences your customers’ desire to return or speak positively about your brand. 

Essentially, it’s about moving payments beyond where they are today. I think nothing is ‘broken’ within the space, however, things can always be better.

How do you initiate that conversation 
with merchants? 

When first speaking with merchants, our priority is to shift their view that payments are the end of the customer journey. For us, payments and payment experiences are the beginning of a long-term connection. 

While this can be challenging, through consultation we demonstrate to merchants the results that can be achieved once you change how you see payments. By taking a metric-based approach to the material impact of experience-led changes, we can essentially quantify a business’ return on experience investment.

Every merchant is unique, as are their customers. We deep-dive into their operations to understand their problems and identify untapped opportunities. The goal is to create trust and provide actual, measurable benefits.

What excites you the most about payment experiences?

The exciting part for me is applying retail-first thinking to a vertical that has long been dictated to by the incumbent players or tech limitations. 

This opens up opportunities for innovation and exploration, such as Walmart’s AI enhancements to their Scan & Go technology.

We’ve conducted various test trials, anticipating an era of strong growth with new products and checkout methods that enhance the overall shopping experience. It’s not just about money anymore; it’s about building a better relationship with vendors and customers, going beyond financial transactions to create meaningful connections.

Do you think we’re at the beginning of a new era of innovation for payments? 

I think we’re at the beginning of a new focus on payments. It’s like we’re going from the NOKIA 3310 to the iPhone. From Clippy to generative AI. 

Innovation in this space is accelerating and it needs to be balanced between technology (what’s possible), business (what’s valuable) and customer experience (what’s desirable). Companies not able to strike this balance are at risk of being overtaken.

Traditionally, these processes have been dictated by banks or terminal providers, resulting in a consistent yet dull experience solely centred on moving money. The lack of attention to customer experience has led to common grievances, such as long queues, unnecessary SMS requests for receipts, and those awkward few seconds between tapping your card and seeing “Approved” on the terminal.

To enhance the overall experience, merchants need to invest time and effort into refining these processes. By discovering, acknowledging and addressing customer concerns, businesses can transform the mundane or frustrating payment journey into a positive and branded experience. This shift not only improves customer satisfaction but also distinguishes a business against competitors in the market.

Do you think innovation helps potential clients overcome the problems with Legacy systems? 

If you think about it this way, off-the-shelf products will give you an off-the-shelf experience. It’s essential to understand the intricacies and specific needs of each business. The focus should be on a smooth transition, addressing internal operations and customer workflows for a tailored solution.

To be very clear, innovation for innovation’s sake will only take you so far. It takes research, empathy, a retailer-first mindset, and design thinking to truly understand your customer and be able to either solve problems or create opportunities to make their experience a great one.

Finally, what’s your proudest moment at Wpay?

Personally, winning the award for the Best Customer Experience with the Everyday Pay wallet was a significant validation at Wpay. 

It acknowledged the effort put into customer research, testing, and design refinement. The increasing wallet usage, record numbers, and positive customer feedback further reinforce its success.

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