Visa today announced the launch of its new Visa Checkout service, designed to simplify the online shopping experience for consumers by removing "friction" such as billing, payment, card, etc. input for every digital transaction.
One of Visa’s initial launch partners is Pizza Hut. During a webcast event Wednesday, Pizza Hut’s Chief Digital Officer Baron Concors joined Visa CEO Charlie Scharf, Visa SVP of Digital Solutions Sam Shrauger, US Bank CIO Dominic Venture, Staples’ EVP Faisal Masud and United Airlines’ Tom O’Toole to discuss how the new service will potentially integrate into their respective business models.
Scharf also talked extensively about the necessity of the service, as consumers increasingly demand more "simplicity and speed of the swipe in the online world."
"Commerce is just beginning to move from the physical stores to the PCs, tablets and mobile devices and it’s not going to stop. These devices have replaced cameras, calculators, books and more and they will drive payments from plastic to digital," he said. "Our job is to enable this change in a way that is simple and secure."
The executives claimed that 47 percent of all ecommerce volume comes through a Visa card, and that the company connects "over 14,000 financial institutions with over 36 million merchants, and that doesn’t include an estimated 5 million POS points of acceptance that exist."
"The scale is enormous," Scharf said. The objective with the new Visa Checkout service is to achieve that scale and create better buying experiences for consumers, merchants and FIs.
How the process works
The Visa Checkout process allows consumers to pay for their goods (including food orders) online with a simplified checkout process. Consumers enter their information (billing, payment, card information, expiration information, etc.) one time, add a user name and password and can then forgo that data entry whenever they see a Visa Checkout acceptance logo.
Shrauger said the system brings the online shopping experience closer to the in-person shopping experience, and may lead to significantly reduced abandoned carts that tend to haunt digital retail.
"If you think about an active payment in a story, it’s a swipe and a signature, or maybe just a swipe and then you walk away. That is the most frictionless payment experience I think many of us could hope for," he said. "But what hasn’t happened in the online and mobile worlds is that same degree of simplicity and that’s what we’re focused on."
Consumers, he added, don’t want to spend their time paying or downloading mobile wallets even, regardless of whether or not they’re doing it in person or on a small screen, where the friction is "magnified."
Such friction has led to cart abandonment rates as high as 68 percent in traditional ecommerce environments, Shrauger said, and as high as 96 percent on mobile devices.
"That pain and difficulty drives lost sales and a bad customer experience," he said. "What we’ve done is ensured an absolute simplicity of the payment experience; added an ease of integration for merchants, and optimized the digital representation of the card that our cardholders love in the physical world."
Pizza Hut jumps on board early
Pizza Hut is one of the first merchant partners planning on using the service, along with the online retailers mentioned above and a few others. A Visa Checkout button will be prominently displayed on Pizza Hut’s online and mobile ordering sites, so consumers can start their purchase at the beginning of the ordering process.
Visa execs said this removes the complexity of having to enter all of their data. An image of their FI card also appears on the page, so cardholders can choose whether or not to use that specific card.
"Cardholders know their card and they understand which card they’re going to pull out and use for their checkout and the thought that they would see the card sitting in front of them on the page at the beginning is something that’s very natural to them to think ‘that’s exactly the way I wanted to pay and that’s how I’m going to pay,’" Schrauger said.
He adds that the process is entirely in the context of the merchant’s site, and no customers are redirected away from pizzahut.com.
"Getting through the payment is the most important thing for the consumer and any friction that’s introduced into that process drives dropoff. If we took somebody away from a different site to make their purchase, that is friction," he said, adding that Visa Checkout is a 10-second process and "that’s exactly what you’d expect in a physical world."
Concors said the company’s partnership stems from its focus on making the digital ordering experience as easy as possible.
"A lot of times we hear talk about a mobile-first world. I think in my mind it’s a consumer-first world. People are becoming addicted to their mobile devices and it’s becoming very apparent that this is the way they want to do business," he said. "Consumers will always evolve to whatever is easiest."
Concors said this evolution is the reason mobile is now the dominant channel of Pizza Hut’s digital business, growing more than 4,000 percent throughout the last three years.
"(Mobile) is the centerpiece of our digital strategy and we need to know how we can make it easy and seamless because people aren’t coming to our site to see what we do. They know what Pizza Hut does," he said. "They’re coming because they have a very specific need and that is to get that pizza in front of them as soon as possible. We see Visa Checkout as being another option to make it easy and seamless and secure for them to accomplish that."
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.