Q&A: Marcus Williams, Account Manager, Merchant Services at Worldline
For the past year, Marcus has held the role of Account Manager at Worldline and is responsible for a portfolio of customers that sit across the speciality and grocery retail verticals.
Prior to that, he spent five years working at AirPlus International, a card issuer owned by the Lufthansa Group.
From your perspective, what is Worldline’s USP?
One of our main USPs here at Worldline is the local support and expertise we provide alongside our global coverage. We are the largest payment processor in Europe, with over 22 billion acceptance and acquiring transactions processed each year. We have a presence in over 50 countries, as well as a commercial presence in over 170 countries. But what truly sets us apart is our strong local expertise in each of these different regions.
We have a strong track record of acquiring strong businesses, that help us enhance our scale and reach, whilst maintaining local infrastructure and direct presence for our existing customers. For example, we acquired recently Eurobank’s merchant acquiring business, a prominent acquirer in the dynamic Greek market. Acquisitions such as this has enabled us to become the largest merchant acquirer in Continental Europe, whilst at the same time maintaining local services, solutions, payment methods for our merchants across Europe.
What is so special when it comes to Worldline’s approach with working with merchants?
We process a large number of transactions each year and have the capacity to robustly and securely process even more. Having this reliable platform gives all our customers the confidence that their transactions are in safe hands, allowing them to focus on their day-to-day business activities.
Most of my customers are in the retail sector. We all know this industry has been going through some challenging times and arguably still are given the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation. Worldline’s platform allows these clients to focus their efforts and energy onto dealing with these issues, rather than their payments infrastructure.
Can you tell us a little more about the specific advantages given to merchants by collaborating with Worldline?
Choosing the right payments partner is vital for any business. Having a partner that you can trust to support the growth of your business and bring enhancements to your future capabilities is key. Again, the retail sector is experiencing some challenging times, and being able to give our customers the time and energy to focus on their core business strategy, whilst not having to worry about whether their transactions are being processed in a timely manner or whether they have received settlement for these transactions, is critical.
What does the process look like, for a merchant implementing a solution from Worldline?
With any product or service implementation project, we are always keen to begin with a thorough design and discovery session. This allows us to understand our client’s requirements to the finest detail. It allows us to accurately estimate how long the project is likely to take and the costs involved. This is a critical first step because it allows us to deliver fully on the client’s needs and expectations.
What does success look like? How do you measure success?
Success for any implementation project will ultimately be measured on whether the project is delivered on time and on budget.
But also as projects progress, challenges may arise so it is also important to maintain close communication throughout the duration of the project. This ensures that any ‘bumps’ can be managed, and the client’s expectations can be met. This is another reason why we think that undertaking a robust design and discovery phase early on is so important, to minimise the number of bumps.
What about third parties that you partner with? Whether to enhance existing services, or to assist with the development of new ones?
We partner with a number of companies both within payments, and outside of payments. Recently we have partnered with NPCI International which allows us to offer Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay to our European merchants.
Currently customers from India – where NPCI is based – have to pay through international card networks. This partnership with NPCI means we are the first EU acquirer to offer UPI and RuPay. This is a great step forward for our merchants, who can now accept those payment methods, as well as for Indian tourists, who can visit Europe and continue to use payment methods that are familiar to them.
Retail has undergone quite a tumultuous time in the last few years. But beyond 2022, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges that retailers must harness and overcome to succeed?
We all know that it has been difficult for the retail sector in recent years. Following the Covid pandemic and its aftermath, the current cost-of-living crisis is one of the biggest challenges for the sector right now.
But one way for retailers to retain customers in such a challenging environment, is to constantly deliver on value, ensuring that customer journeys and expectations are met. And with the payment landscape constantly evolving, it’s key for them to adapt and keep pace with what customers are expecting.
It’s important for us at Worldline to be consistent in the provision of our services, which will in turn allow our merchants to be consistent in the services they provide to their customers. This means that Worldline needs to keep pace with the latest technological innovations and developments. Over the past few years, this has included self-check-out in grocery retail shops, which has become pretty much standard practice; Amazon walk-out technology is now becoming more and more prominent and more recently, there has been a rise in live streaming ecommerce, i.e. the Live Shopping technology.
How is Worldline evolving and what can we expect to see from you?
We are always looking for new ways to innovate and align with what’s going on in the payments industry. We invest 8% of our annual revenue into R&D because we are constantly looking for ways to drive value through our products and technologies.
Worldline has very recently acquired a majority stake in a Warsaw-based Fintech called SoftPos.eu which converts Android devices into secure payment terminals. That gives merchants the option to accept payments on any existing smartphone, tablet and enterprise devices through a single tap without any need for additional hardware.
Software Point of Sale (SoftPos) is a technology I believe will be very interesting for retailers in the near future. Payments is a constantly evolving industry, so it is vital that we continue to evolve and offer products and services that are both competitive and compelling.
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