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Perspective: Welcome to the Age of Universal Commerce

There’s no doubt that commerce is undergoing a complete and rapid transformation. From where First Data stands at the crossroads or retail, eCommerce and mCommerce, we see countless opportunities to create a more integrated and personalized consumer experience: smart devices that enable ubiquitous connectivity; virtual applications that create a seamless shopping experience; and an enabling infrastructure that’s open, scalable and secure. New partnerships will power the innovations needed to satisfy growing consumer expectations.

Some of these technologies have been around for a while, but the opportunity to harness the possibilities of enabling consumers to live a completely integrated life has become more relevant and timely than ever before, because something has changed—consumer expectations.

Consumers today expect it all. They want the best deal in the most convenient and personalized way, no matter where they are. They’ve come to expect personalized access to information and products anytime, using any device. They expect a shopping experience that seamlessly crosses online and offline channels. They expect Universal Commerce.

Universal Commerce is emerging because consumers are leveraging technology in ways that change how commerce works. Merchants and financial institutions have to adapt by giving consumers convenient, consistent access to the applications they need regardless of whether they are at home, walking down the street, shopping in their favorite store, or somewhere in between. The building blocks are already in place.

  • Smart devices: including telephones, laptops and tablets, enabled with the latest integrated, cloud-based applications and the most advanced security capabilities.
  • Applications: cloud-based services such as Google Wallet, eGift Social and mVouchers - for a seamless, more personalized customer experience.
  • Secure network infrastructure: Internet, mobile phone carriers and payment processors – with solutions like Trusted Service Manager, to tie everything together.
  • Partnerships: Universal Commerce requires integrating the operations of major players into innovative solutions that appeal to consumers.

For us at First Data, this means taking a leadership role in making this a reality through bundled solutions, innovations and expertise. We’re uniquely positioned to help you take advantage of this revolution in commerce, with solutions designed to enable point-of-sale, online and mobile transactions while providing individualized offers and loyalty programs, all supported by robust information and analytics.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from us about Universal Commerce, and we’d love to hear from you.

Mark Herrington is First Data's Executive Vice President, Global Product Management and Innovation. You can share your thoughts with First Data on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.