Embedded fintech is omnichannel retail's next generation
We all remember what it was like to walk into a store, about a decade ago, looking for something we saw online.
Often, I’d ask, “do you have this shirt, the blue one?” and the retailer would respond, “oh that’s only online and online is basically another company. If you want that shirt in blue, you’ll need to order it from the website.”
In 2010, digitization meant that you had a website, you maybe had an app, you were marketing on Facebook, and perhaps those pages all linked to one another. The underlying architecture, however, was not integrated – far from it, in fact.
Today, when I walk into a store to buy that “blue shirt” that I saw online, I expect the retailer to order it at the point of sale and have it shipped to my home using only my email address on file, all powered by an omnichannel experience that has revolutionized retail over the last decade. That is the crux – and the beauty of – embedded fintech. It creates ecosystems and environments where our payments infrastructure functions as the backbone of front-of-house retail, back-of-house inventory, supply chain, and warehousing.
Retail wasn’t the only industry that omnichannel forever changed: from quick-service restaurants to university campuses, the consumer’s experience – and expectations – have completely changed how businesses function and operate. But there is a need and an appetite to push the technology further.
For example, going to an appointment at a doctor’s office in 2020 is much like the retail experience of 2010--poorly connected, lacking digitization, and a vastly outdated customer service model. The processes and the procedures required for a doctor visit often inconvenience our day-to-day lives. But there are rapid advances in technology even in the health care space where office administrators, working alongside their payments partners, are advancing medical administrative technology to integrate scheduling, patient profiles, payments, and insurance provider data to simplify, streamline, and ultimately improve the experience for patients.
In the age of embedded fintech, the health care industry and others such as government and municipal services will follow retail’s lead, streamlining consumer interactions, scheduling, and billing to create a more technology-driven, customer-centric experience that we have grown accustomed to in the retail environment.
Fintech leaders must help business owners and managers dig deeper with digital technology to add convenience, use data to offer consumers preferences they want, and utilize software to streamline the end user experience as much as possible. Creating a unified approach is how embedded fintech will help move the needle even further in 2020 across a wide variety of industries.
While the health care, government, education, restaurant and hospitality fields aren’t the only industries that need simplifying and integrating, they are among some of the first because of their functions in our everyday lives.
The payments industry continues to create new products and services that appeal to complex businesses, and we must continue our efforts to simplify and streamline – in turn making the consumer’s experience at the doctor’s office or local utility office smoother, easier, and maybe a little less expensive.
What’s next for embedded fintech? We’ll have to see, but for now, we remain focused on making the consumer experience better at as many places as possible, from the drive-through window to the doctor’s reception window.