Q&A: Tony Hammond – SVP of Global Product Delivery – FreedomPay
FreedomPay helps retailers across multiple verticals securely embrace the latest card based and digital payment options.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My name is Tony Hammond, and I started with FreedomPay in 2018 as Managing Director for Europe. I now serve as SVP of Global Product Delivery. I help to guide business and market entry strategies worldwide. As a team, we’re responsible for opening our international markets and establishing relationships with retailers, Point of Sale providers and payment acquirers; increasing the adoption of FreedomPay’s integrated commerce platform across various industries.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
At FreedomPay, we have been helping retailers across multiple verticals securely embrace the latest card based and digital payment options, including smartphone wallets and innovative eCommerce payment methods, as well as the growing trend in open banking payments. The company has grown exponentially on the strength of its commerce platform, increasing its presence in key markets to deliver secure payment-processing capabilities and consumer insights to more of our customers around the globe.
FreedomPay’s USP is our advanced, Next Level CommerceTM platform. It is the first PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) solution to offer a full suite of merchant capabilities, including EMV, Contactless, Tokenization, Dynamic Currency choice and real-time data capabilities. In addition, we are an agnostic platform that is integrated with hundreds of selling platforms for EPOS and eCommerce alike. Critically, we also integrate with the majority of the world’s leading acquiring platforms to give merchants access to the most commercially attractive payment processing rates available.
Significantly, FreedomPay’s platform is uniquely designed to place the power of consumer data in the merchant’s hands, ensuring they can make the best business case decisions, guided by world-class, leading-edge data.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
FreedomPay provides a platform for retailers to unify their payments and consumer data across several channels, collating and unifying all their transaction data. This can then be conveniently used for incentivising and rewarding customer loyalty as well as underpinning essential operational activities such as performance reporting, reconciliation, and fraud prevention – all in real time!
Our solution leads the market in delivering real-time interactions to incentivise customer loyalty. Business owners can access consumer-centric digital insights to drive profit and growth in a world of commerce without borders. It is something we invest heavily in, driving further innovation and performance.
For example, in 2020, we launched our best-in-class Business Intelligence solution that transforms retailers’ digital strategy and consumer experience globally. With this technology, retailers can leverage commerce data to analyse sales performance across all sales channels and contextualise consumer purchase patterns within unique, customised consumer segments.
What advantage does it add?
Our clients increasingly demand a secure solution that seamlessly integrates diverse payment methodologies and loyalty on a single, unified platform. FreedomPay is a worldwide leader in this space, spanning the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as well as the Southern hemisphere. As a result, we are uniquely positioned to offer a technology stack that delivers a consistent user and consumer experience across borders.
What does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
Knowing where, when, and what your customers buy; how receptive they are, and to what types of incentive is critical to not only maintaining, but growing, their custom with you.
In a world in which interactions with customers now emanate from multiple channels, CTOs will struggle to keep their facilities relevant and support retailers’ evolving needs and their customers’ changing requirements, without a cohesive strategy that not only embraces traditional EPOS and websites, but also mobile POS, smartphone apps, cashierless stores, self-checkout and kiosks. They must also meet the increased demand for contactless payments made using cards, phones, and wearables.
Many CTOs also recognise that loyalty and customer retention are the new currency of success and are not only crucial to retaining, but to growing revenues amongst their consumer base.
Many successful retailers will be aware of the huge advantages of combining advanced payment and loyalty technology, given the multitude of opportunities it provides to incentivise and reward their customers at every touchpoint. Retailers hope to dig deeper into people’s digital wallets, so how better to realise these opportunities than by using a ‘commerce platform’?
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like?
There is an ever-increasing shift among retailers internationally, both pre- and post-Covid, to focus on technology to get ahead in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving marketplace.
Outdated legacy systems hinder any retailer’s attempts to thrive, adding undesirable friction to the commerce process and hampering innovation and growth.
The payments and loyalty space is now dominated by a ‘race to digitisation’. Retail consumers also place great importance on the flexibility and variety of payment options made available to them at the point of sale. This impacts the perceived quality of their purchase experience.
Do you partner with any other companies?
With robust technical, marketing, co-selling and implementation support, FreedomPay partners with the most successful brands in retail selling technology. We are also very proud to be working with some of the biggest national and international brands in retail, such as Foot Locker.
We power payment and commerce services for a wide range of partners, covering EPOS, Kiosk, Vending, Self-checkout, mPOS, eCommerce, and mCommerce selling platforms. FreedomPay is also the payment facilitator behind a number of leading banks, acquirers, and processors as well as working in partnership with payment innovators, such as Klarna. We are also open to partner where we can offer merchants a choice of the latest technologies, such as 3DS, fraud prevention, and other value added services.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in U.K. retail for 2023 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2022?
The challenges and opportunities facing retailers are one and the same in that retailers need to focus on increased brand loyalty in their consumer relationships. Retailers must engage as never before with consumers to retain their loyalty. The challenge is precisely how to achieve this. Is it through hyper-targeted loyalty programmes, pricing, or leveraging a platform like FreedomPay’s to unlock those data-driven consumer conversations and interactions? If retailers can connect with their customers and establish long-term brand relationships using behavioural insights, the opportunities are immeasurable.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
As the world economy is expected to be buffeted by external factors in the short to medium term, the market will tighten, and competing retailers will attempt to increase their piece of the economic pie.
As a result, it will become clear that successful retailers will be those best able to embrace new platforms and partnerships. Personally, I believe this is where the FreedomPay platform comes into its own. It is where we see that we are helping retailers build loyalty and increase the value of their consumers. This can only occur when they create streamlined, seamless experiences that keep up with the way consumers operate in today’s connected world.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
At FreedomPay, we are constantly innovating and evolving our platform. We are focused on using advanced technology to underpin our continued global expansion. In addition, we are committed to a fully integrated, holistic approach to customer payments and loyalty services across the retail sector and other verticals.
With a continued rollout across ever-expanding markets, and by consolidating our growth in established ones, we will continue to enable retailers to futureproof their payment technologies.
Any final thoughts?
Given what we have experienced over the last two years, it is no surprise that digital payments and commerce are now pivotal to retailers’ operations and business plans. It is now essential for retailers to keep pace with new technologies that add real value.
In delivering a better customer experience, retailers will be required to be in tune with their digital capabilities and fully embrace data-driven commerce.
As the use of cash has declined, we now conduct billions of digital transactions every year. Covid-19 has hastened that change. With the rise in digital payments, the payments industry is now putting control and choice in consumers’ hands, while enhancing digital opportunities for retailers.
To find out how FreedomPay can help your retail operation, click here.