PrePaid Card Expo

It has, unfortunately, been a while since I’ve blogged.  I’ve been writing…frequently, almost excessively…but not writing intended for web consumption.  There are some extraordinarily exciting things happening at IP Commerce that I will be able to share in the upcoming week, or so. 

In the interim, one of the benefits of a bit of time away from the blog is that I have a frightening amount of content queued for discussion and rumination.

Before I dive in, I wanted to take an opportunity to advise you of an upcoming event.

The next few days are the PrePaid Card Expo in Las Vegas.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting sessions is one in which Chip Kahn, the CEO of IP Commerce will be presenting. 

Adapting Your Card Payments System to Dovetail With the Latest Alternative Web-based Payment Platforms
Chip Kahn, CEO, IP Commerce
Rene Pelegero, Senior Director of Industry Relations & Strategy, PayPal

The presentation abstract is as follows:

While prepaid cards are gaining traction in the physical world, many businesses and consumers have turned to the Web to make and receive payments. While these payment methods might not have a card component, both consumers and businesses need to understand how these services work.

In particular, there is a focus on. . .

  • Understanding how customers choose which online payment systems to use, and how to incorporate them into your customer interface
  • Managing the economics of web payments systems to ensure efficient transactions
  • Discover new opportunities for integrating prepaid card products with new web payment systems
  • Strategies for selecting the appropriate payment vehicles for your business to improve the customer experience

It is worth noting that this session is intentionally educational in focus rather than a simple sales pitch.  Understanding of opportunity is one of the key steps in the process of driving true depth of engagement.

To me, this presentation is an excellent example that the choice of commerce integration is no longer an "either, or."  For the software company, it is no longer sufficient to determine what offering has the most market share when determining which payment tenders to integrate and offer to your customer base.  Instead, the importance of meeting customer’s needs dictates a measure of flexibility in offering.  The commerce industry has been plagued by a "one size fits all" mentality…this thought process is challenged by an ever demanding customer base who are used to software fulfillment modalities. 

Take, for example, Adobe Acrobat.  When attempting to open a .pdf online, I’m prompted that I require additional software and am taken to a download location.  At that point, the process is as simple as a (relatively) lightweight installation.  *poof*  The document I need opens.

This paradigm is becoming increasingly prevalent (it is, arguably, already widespread).  And yet, in the commerce industry, there is a mindset that customers are best served by physical devices (atoms) and not through software (bits).  Frankly, this is because the standard software integration is prohibitively costly and time-consuming.  Enter the world of web-based platforms.  By minimizing the friction of integration, these solutions can allow reach to markets that are both underserved and highly "sticky."

As said above, I will speak more in the upcoming weeks about this topic and other items of note within IP Commerce.  Meanwhile, if you are planning to attend the PrePaid Card Expo (or are already there) please feel free to reach out to me via comment or the "contact me" link above.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques?
The comment form is below. . .
(Seat 11E DEN to LAS)

March 4, 2008

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