Commerce has always been defined as the interchange of goods and services for money. It still is, but the way commerce is conducted is in the middle of sweeping change. Merchants that anticipate these changes and prepare for them will win; others will struggle to survive.

Cash was invented in the 7th century and since then, broadly speaking, it has been the most common way to pay for the transfer of goods and services. Market places and shops have always been useful as central points to find products we need.  Shopkeepers have always played an important part in choosing the right transaction, providing valuable information about products and services and facilitating choice.  Over the last decade however these transaction stalwarts are being challenged because the retail payment process is undergoing a transformation.  As electronic payments get easier, is there a need for coins and notes? As the Internet gives the corner shop a global footprint, how will retailers respond to and support their new customers? And, logistics and supply chain issues aside, which payment options will ensure secure and efficient transactions?

  • Dave McCormick

    As a director of a b2b company I am interested in a different aspect of payments to how payments develop in the b2c space.

    The issue we face is how difficult it has become for small companies to do business with large companies who increasingly extend payment terms, make it hard to get on the approved supplier list and seemingly struggle internally to be able to navigate around their own payments systems.

    Much of the UK Government focus on SMEs is on increasing ease of access to debt rather than ensuring that cash flows so that delays in cashflow do not cause business failure. At a SME event last year I asked Vince Cable what his view was on this issue and he replied that he was doing everything to improve access to loans.

    Is this a global issue? – Do SMES want to grow based on debt or just ensure that growth is funded by cash flow?

    Also will the trend of big business putting pressure on suppliers of products to “pay” to be an approved supplier for physical goods extend to provision of services or will the attempt to limit mistreating of suppliers start to shift the balance back towards SMES?
    See the link for an example of this in the supermarket/supplier space

  • Tim Jones

    Some other views of the future of payments?

    Ahead of the first UK payments event on Wednesday, here are a number of other views from the past year or so on how potential changes could unfold:

    The Payments Council in the UK engaged with ex BT futures expert Ian Pearson in 2012 for this view –

    McKinsey have several perspectives including this from last year on global payments growth trends –

    And this one from a couple of years ago looks at how the landscape is changing due to regulation and new competitors – The future of payments – McKinsey & Company

    This view from Banking Tech takes an inside out perspective anticipate greater change on the horizon –

    And lastly, this Forbes piece looks at it more from a consumer / business impact –

    Looking forward to a rich discussion on the 11th Feb as we add more varied points into the mix