Merchants should invest in key capabilities to position for the future. The first is big data. They need to start developing a big data strategy and develop a roadmap for the next 10 years. Big data will give merchants the opportunity to serve the increasingly powerful customer and enhance the retail store experience in order to create a truly omnichannel experience. The good news is that merchants don’t need to depend on in-house capabilities; there are third parties that can help making big data a reality for merchants big or small.

The second is POI and digital payments. Merchants need to assess the current usage of cash and develop a plan to reduce it. Perhaps the best way is to think about the end-to-end customer experience and assess what digital payments make business sense and how they may be integrated. There are more digital payments choices than ever before and they are only increasing, merchants are likely to find a solution that fits their needs.

Third, think about global expansion. In this digital world of AliBaba and eBay and digital payments like payments cards and AliPay, becoming global is much easier for all merchants big or small.

Online will be critical so invest in related capabilities. But go a step further, by thinking about it in the overall context of the omnichannel customer by focusing on a seamless experience across all channels.

We will see significantly less cash over the next ten years. Use of technology and big data will be more prevalent and will not be limited to large merchants or some industries.  Merchants will have to become more nimble and agile and continuously adapt their business as the environment has not been more dynamic before. Finally, new innovative players will continue to emerge across a range of functions including commerce, digital payments, big data and marketing; these will create both opportunities and threats for incumbent players.

Sources

[1] MasterCard Advisors Analysis, 2014

[2] Wall Street Journal, 2014

[3]Finextra,2014

[4] McKinsey, 2014