The Future of Transactions: The President of NCR Retail on Reinventing the Buying Experience

By Mission

The stores of the future are being built today, and according to David Wilkinson, President & General Manager of NCR Retail, they will not be the types of stores that currently come to mind. We are living in a time that blurs the lines between digital and physical, and retailers are working with NCR to make every experience as seamless as possible. David explains how on this episode of Up Next in Commerce. He tells us how personalized shopping will be brought to the forefront through first-party branded apps that customize the shopping experience for you. And he details how retailers in all industries can start breaking free of the traditional shackles of standard point of sale technology and store designs. Plus, David and I nerd out about how cryptocurrency will be entering the mainstream sooner rather than later, and how retailers can prepare for what that will mean for their payments systems. Enjoy this episode!Main Takeaways:Tech First, Differentiation Later: Retailers in every industry are trying to find ways to differentiate themselves and create memorable experiences for customers. But in order to ensure quality customer experiences, the basics of how your store functions need to be flawless. Focus first on optimizing all point-of-sale technology and other digital or tech offerings so that however the customer wants to transact, they can without friction. Then, when that is running smoothly, you can begin to focus on the peripheral experiences that separate your store or brand from the rest.Freeform Future: Anyone looking to create a store or business today has more freedom than ever before. They are no longer locked into the old ways of doing things. Traditional points of sale can be rethought. The design of a grocery store can be revamped to cater to more personalized experiences. Fast food restaurants can completely forgo inside dining. So many new options are on the table because in 2020, consumers proved to be willing to adapt to all kinds of new experiences.    Going Beyond The Loyalty Program: The days of trading your phone number for a discount code are long gone. These days, if a consumer is giving over personal information, they want something substantial in return. Brands have a chance to create loyalty experiences that are personalized and incentivize activities outside of the store, such as on social media, to give their consumers a unique reason to sign up. Crypto Checkout: Cryptocurrency is more than just a buzzword — it’s likely to begin infiltrating daily life, particularly how people buy and sell goods. Majority of cryptocurrency holders would be willing to pay for their goods with their crypto, and retailers have to start figuring out now how to create systems that would make those transactions possible and secure.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---Transcript:Stephanie:Hello, and welcome back to Up Next In Commerce. I'm your host, Stephanie Postles, CEO at Mission.org. Today on the show, we have David Wilkinson, the president of NCR Retail. David, welcome to the show.David:Thank you, Stephanie. Glad to be here.Stephanie:I'm very excited to have you on. So before we start, I would love it if you could highlight what NCR Retail is for anyone who doesn't know, because you guys do a lot and I want the words to come from your mouth instead of ours.David:Yeah, I appreciate that. There's a lot of, depending on who you ask, a lot of misconceptions about what we are as a company and what we do. We think about it in pretty simple terms, we want to create technology that runs the store. And so when I think about that, that's really the software and services that would be creating the capabilities to do transactions and interact with customers in and around the store environment. People might traditionally think of us as an ATM or a cash register company, it's really quite different, it's a payment software and services company across the three primary businesses that we serve, banking, retail, and hospitality.David:We're experts in how consumers interact with technology for things like self-service or automated transactions, which is critical in what's happening around the world today with labor and reallocation of labor, and really just focused on creating great customer experiences and technology to enhance that.Stephanie:Okay, cool. So what are some of the newest projects that you've been embarking on over the past year or two that maybe you had to quickly roll out where you're like, "Okay, everyone wants touchless payments now, or everyone wants this capability"? What have you had to scramble to keep up with?David:Yeah. When you think about our business, we're in the retail side where 70% of our business is grocery, or in big box, I'll put big box in that, another 15% that would be convenience and fuel retail. And then the rest of the balance of that would be, think about a department and specialty. So there are a handful of different trends, as you know, that occur within each of those industries. I'll start with convenience and fuel for a second, as you described. There was a big race when the pandemic was early, everybody wanted to social distance, nobody wanted touch things that other people were touching, so it created the ability or the need to do things like touchless payments at the pump.David:So we've worked with several convenience and fuel retail companies, Kum & Go was one of them, where we created the ability to do stage transactions on your mobile device and reduce the number of touches that you would have to make to the pumps. So it's got store payment, it would allow you this to queue up the pump, initiate the pump activation through our point of sale application, and then you could get to the pump and you always got to touch the pumps to put the nozzle in the car for those of you that have to pump gas in the 48 states that require that. And then the other, you'd have to touch the pump, but it reduces the touch of the thin pads.David:So we're finding those kinds of applications in convenience and fuel. Convenience and fuel also, we're seeing a big rollout of self-checkout, which is one of our flagship... We are the market leader globally in self-checkout, and when I think about what's happening, we really understand how consumers interact with the technology. The hardware is interesting, the software is really interesting, but the understanding of the workflows, the process flow, how do you avoid unnecessary shrink? How do you avoid unnecessary interventions? We're seeing a lot of now, increased demand in the convenience and fuel space that hasn't traditionally had self-checkout, but makes a perfect fit, small basket size convenience shoppers don't want to stand in the line and want different interactions or maybe a less interaction with a person in that environment.David:So COVID is heightened that. So that's what's happening. Convenience and grocery, it's a similar thing. We saw some weird things happening early days with spatial awareness and everyone was focused on, "We've put plexiglass in the stores, we can't have any kind of human interaction, we've got to queue outside the grocery store before we come in and set appointments in different times." So we did a lot of things. We have a very large professional services team that can do custom applications, and we did a lot of that kind of stuff where we're building queuing apps and other things that probably aren't here to stay, but we'll have some longer-term applicability.David:But what we're seeing really is touchless payments with self-checkout, so paying on the mobile or mobile scan in the isles, and then a broader roll out of self-checkout and then getting deeper debt or more density within the store for self-checkout, meaning more lanes enabled for self-checkout so that customers have that capability. I'll take a breath after this, but then the other piece was ecommerce. Obviously ecommerce is growing. If you look at grocery, you can look at different numbers, but it's multi-hundreds of percent growth off of fairly small numbers. But in ecomm, that's being a large part up to anywhere between 15 and probably 25% of grocery quickly moved to ecommerce.David:So we invested, bought a company that has an ecomm engine to turn that experience back over to the retailer so they can have an app, a retailer branded application, allow you to do the list management, recipe management, order online pickup in the store, and then has a picking optimization app on the back end for the retailer. So those are some things that we're working on and deploying that would include payments, but it's a lot going on. Innovation has been compressed into a short amount of time with COVID. I think we're seeing that in a lot of different industries and probably none more impactful than retail.Stephanie:So kind of what things do you think won't stick now that we're a year plus past, and a lot of times when change is happening quick, people are like, "Let's just try everything and do everything new." Some things like ordering groceries online, it feels like it's here to stay, people are debating like, will the percentage fall back again? I think maybe it has this 2020, but then maybe the pie grew. So the numbers, I'm not really sure, but what things are here to stay and which ones were just like a fad and we tried it out and now it's like, no, we actually don't need that.David:Yeah, it's a good question. That's a question we get a lot. I'll start with the easy ones that are fun to joke about in light of the seriousness of the pandemic, but like plexiglass and a sticker on the store that you have to queue six feet or 12 feet or however many feet apart. Those are the things that I think will start to fall down a little bit. We learned that hoarding and stockpiling toilet paper was not a cure for anything. So I think some of those kind of applications or behaviors will go away. What we did find though in the joke in the toilet paper is really about the supply chain. And what we found is that brand loyalty across the consumer base shifted pretty significantly, that you no longer were loyal to a single brand, you were loyal to a brand that had what you wanted and we saw a supply chain shortage.David:And that may have introduced shoppers to where they were traditionally brand loyal for whatever reason, the ability to shop around. One of the trends that will see continue is retailers want more and more data about their consumers so that they can offer personalized experiences, and we all crave that. The social shopping phenomenon is here. And we see it in Asia is more prolific than in the US, but some form of that will start to take hold in the US. And so understanding the customers more deeply is a trend that's here to stay. I think you said online grocery shopping, even while we saw hypergrowth, 85% of the shopping was done in the store, so we think some blend of that will stick around.David:I've seen the same stats that say, "Hey, we've reached the peak of growth, it's going to plateau, maybe decline and then bump back up." So I think online shopping, if you think about it as a consumer, so personally if you think about it, the ability for me to create a list based on past purchases or find a recipe and click on a recipe and add those ingredients to my list or to my basket, have somebody pick those items but I still want to pick out fresh vegetables, fresh flowers, meats, whatever it may be, the things I want to look at, touch and feel, how do we create this hybrid shopping environment where I can do the, we'll call it the center of the store shop, dry other things, and allow me to do the edge of the store, the fresh foods and other things, I think there's there's a hybrid model that makes a lot of sense.David:Now, that's a big change because none of the retailers... We didn't design stores that way, we designed stores to, like I just said, center stores, all this stuff, the outsides are all fresh foods, all the checkout stands are right at the front, congregated. I think this notion of pervasive and flexible checkout will start to take hold. I think those are the trends, convenience, less touch, more choice, and knowing your consumers better are the things that we'll start to see that will stick and we'll see those trends either flatten and start to grow again, or just flatten, but become a bigger percentage of the overall.Stephanie:Yeah. It's funny you mentioned about like what things I want to pick out versus what things other people can. I mentioned this a couple episodes back like, I don't care about picking out the flowers, the cereal, that's all fine get what's there, but no one will ever pick out the avocados the way that I want them or the type of fruit that I want. So why isn't half the store just in inventory, just grab it out of inventory for me, and the other half, it actually want to be and see and touch and smell, that's the part that you can actually interact with. So we're thinking alike, which I like.David:Yeah. You're spot on. Are you a cantaloupe thumper?Stephanie:I am, yep. And the watermelon, I want the perfect little dark yellow spot on it. And my avocados, I hope it didn't get plucked from there and mold growing around the STEM. I'm very particular. And I always think when I order from Whole Foods, I'm like, "Should I write these in notes?" No, because they're going to think I'm crazy if like, "Pick out the avocado just like this, and look for this with your watermelon or cantaloupe."David:Yeah. But think about the opportunity there with what you described. So the application that we have allows us to do a lot of customer specific notes. And then if you have control, if you're the grocer and you have control of your experience, so forget about third-party intermediary picking apps. I'll use Instacart as an example Instacart, sends an Instacart shopper into the store, you may or may not have the same shopper. And the Instacart person doesn't may or may not care, I'll say on a relative scale, cares less about the brand itself where you're shopping. But if the retailer had control of that and knew that you, Stephanie, were a high value customer, you love to buy avocados and that was a real differentiator for you.David:If I knew that about when you shop, you could create an experience that you would actually enjoy buying all the products online, perhaps, or maybe they have an avocado cam specifically for you, but those are the connected experiences that we think getting more and more technology in the stores to deliver those experiences is going to be key.Stephanie:Yep. I think that also summarizes the next couple years, because this past year, year and a half or so, people were willing to try, try online ordering, try going through self-checkout, try all the new things. But then now I think we're in a phase where brands need to actually deliver. We were okay with hiccups as consumers for a while there, but now you go in and if self-checkout is not working, I know some stores I know I'm like, "I'm not even going to try it because every time that little light goes off, if I don't put my thing in the right area and I have to wait and whatever it may be." I remember the brands that it doesn't work with and I don't do it anymore, versus certain stores, I know every time I go in and out and it works perfectly.Stephanie:So I think now is the time when brands have to deliver and figure out, "How do we actually deliver that experience to them because they've been willing to be in beta for a little while now, and now we're popping out of that and we're ready for just like a good experience."David:Agree, agree. And to deliver that, if you think about where retail technology had been, anybody that's been in and around retail technology understands that the way we deploy technology in a retail store is antiquated, fairly antiquated. And the experiences that you described are ones that would say, "I have to have modern capabilities. I can't afford to rip and replace everything." And we're taking this run the store approach where we want to deliver outcomes to you. So as a retailer, we want to deliver all those outcomes that you just described. And the more technology you deploy into the store, as you said, the more it has to be available and working. And that sounds basic, but it it's not as basic as you would think. It's not as common sense as you think across the piece.David:Because I can't put a paper sign or a bag over a kiosk and say, "Hey, this isn't available," it has to be available because that's the way that we're interacting and transacting. And so when I look at that, I think we're investing to deliver at scale all the technology in the store. So think about like the dial tone where it just works. The ability for a consumer to come into your store, identify themselves, stand an item, get a total basket, or start a transaction online and finish it in the store, tender it, take payment. That's what we want to deliver to the store as an outcome, as a service. And then the store then, or the retailer brand can focus on, "How do I differentiate my brand? What experiences can I create? Can I create a store within a store or venues within my store? Or what am I trying to do?"David:Because that's really where the store will start to compete. The base technology is not where the store is going to compete, the technology has to be a foundation for creation of new experiences that will be enabled by technology, and a lot of it, we don't what will it be? I don't know. Most of them are likely to be consumer led technologies as they're bringing their own tech into the store, and we have to learn how to deal with it. That's what we're focused on, is getting down to a foundational level, providing that modern architecture without a rip and replace building the bridge, and allowing them to be cloud ready, cloud enabled to take advantage of all the cool things that are happening and all the investment that's going into all these interesting applications that are all consumer facing or social shopping or whatever you want to call it.Stephanie:Yep. That's, to me, the life cycle of technology, when it starts to work is when it's seamless behind the scenes, that's when you know you've made it to then start building on top of it. You don't even notice it's there. What do you see retail experiences looking like going forward to actually have an experience there? what are you seeing brands doing right now that's really cool? What should that look like?David:Yeah. Think about the experience, think about an online shopping experience overall and why you like it. I will say online shopping is horrible, online buying is a good experience. Shopping online, I have to know what I'm looking for, I don't get to see the selection. Maybe I know a little too much about how the content gets served up to me, but I'm not seeing the full selection or assortment I made. There may be something I like that they don't think I like. So there's all these things that happen. But why you think online buying is such a good experience is because you know who I am. I walk in, "walk in" to your store, and I say, "I'm David Wilkinson. I am here."David:Also, I'll give you permission to see everything I bought, and then you have the ability to say, "Oh, based on everything you bought, these are other things you might like," and serve all that, a package it in a way that makes it a good experience, put it in a cart, and then I also have given you a form of payment that I've told you that you can keep and use for anything that I shop in your store for digitally. And then I transact and then you deliver it to my home frictionlessly. Now, take that and say, "How do you create a great shopping experience?" Take a lot of those attributes of online buying and then physical as you described.David:Let me grab the avocado and make sure it's just soft enough but not too soft, let me thump my watermelon, let me look at the meat, let me look at the flowers. Let me take in the full cereal aisle to see what's going on. I love chocolate, but I don't know if I want milk or dark, but I want to experience that in the store, but allow me to see... If I put a box of Rice Krispies in my shopping cart you might ask me, "Do you want marshmallows?" Because maybe you want rice crispy treats, as a cross sell up. So, deliver that to me dynamically in the aisle on a mobile app.David:You've got my store payment form. I've got all these scanning items in my cart, real-time building that basket real time, and then allowing me to pick up some things that I had you pre-picked for me, that I ordered online, or I may just do pervasive checkout where I'm using computer vision RFID or some other form of sensory fusion to create a basket that always knows what I bought. So the notion of creating that online experience, but with all the goodness of what you could create as a brick and mortar retailer in the store and removing that friction is what the experience of the future looks like. We're not that far from that. That's not a, "Oh my gosh, that's a 10-year vision." We could deliver that tomorrow. It's a matter of breaking down some of the traditional thinking and some of the traditional barriers that occur within retail technology today and then getting the consumer engagement that would drive that.David:So that's the way I see the experience of the future, is a nice blend of all the convenience of online with the greatness of an experience in a store.Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. I think that's also why it's important to take a step back from your industry and look around at like what other tech companies are possibly doing and seeing how other things are being created and being experienced, because I think when you're thinking, this is what the store is, and here's my capabilities, it's hard to think outside the box. Whereas just when you were talking, I'm like, "Wow, how cool would it be to... " People go there to experience things, they go shopping to experience things, and maybe people still want to see shelves, but do you actually need a shelf? Can it be a virtual shelf? Can it be a mix of AR or VR where you just look and you can see all the new brands popping up, you can still feel like you're experiencing it.Stephanie:And then you just tap a bunch and you can have a little bit of both while also the productivity of like your car getting filled on the back end behind the scenes and you're ready to go, because you might not need to see the different types of bone broth on the shelf, but you won't actually see them, but you don't need to be collecting them yourself. And I think yeah, always thinking outside your industry is a way to start feeling that out and seeing new innovations and then rethinking the entire way that retail operates right now.David:Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think it's a lot fun. And you think about those experiences that you have to create and the state of the labor market, it requires more labor in the stores to deliver a lot of those experiences. And we're in a labor crisis where labor rates are going up, unemployment was at a low, but now it's hard to read the unemployment stats because it's more of a willingness or want to work at this point and more labor hours required in the store. I think technology will be the key in getting some of that back. I love the AR, VR. Allow me to build a list outside of the store, whether I'm going to buy clothing, go to a convenience store or to a grocery store.David:You could have a list and shop through your mobile device in the store and it points out where you go and it could point out other like items. There are so many fun things that we're going to be able to unlock with technology and data and the consumer willingness to opt into that if you're creating value for them.Stephanie:Yeah. I sometimes also like to look at the startups who don't have barriers to enter the markets, the ones that can just start a little guide shop type of maybe grocery store or whatever it may be and they're like, "I'm going to implement this store in like a tech-first approach. And it's going to be small, but it's going to be like this." Do you see anything like that right now where you're like, "Whoa, these companies are doing things in a very different way and it could either fail or be really cool"? And you don't have to name names if you don't want to.David:Yeah, we're seeing it on both. We do obviously a lot of research around what's happening on the tech side of retail, and I'll collage together a couple of sources and I'll tell you that there's $100 billion of investment going into retail tech startup is proclaimed to be retail tech startup. Forget about anything that might be on the periphery of that around could be any AI or ML or inventory. It could be some other things. So there's a lot of money and there's a lot of really interesting things happening. Yes, we're seeing that anywhere from retrofitting in-store lighting to create a platform for AI where you can do camera and tracking and you can do facial recognition or gait recognition, store tracking and close the loop with a point of sale system.David:Really interesting things happening there. On the other side, there are a lot of startup retailers. If you and I just sat in a room and brainstorm and said, what do we want to build as a store? We wouldn't be forced to this paradigm of what a convenience store or especially specialty retail store or a grocery store look like today. Why do I need a fixed point of sale? Why do I need these other things? And so we're working with a small startup out of South Carolina that's creating this concept of drive up grocery. They're looking around watching the pandemic, fast food and quick service restaurants do a great job, buy online, pickup in store. No inside shopping. And so we're helping them with the tech. We're going to run all the tech for these stores where they effectively have a dark store that they either order on an app or they drive up and you order on a tablet and they have to pick it quickly, so they have to know inventory.David:So I look at these things and it's fun to watch. They have no barriers, they have no paradigm that they're trying to break. They're just charging forward with a need in the market and how they're going to approach it. So, yeah, we see a lot of that. We see a lot of that around computer vision, we see it on the tech side, we see a lot of that around what's happening with a AI and ML. We're starting to see a little bit more of that around payments and alternative payments with things like crypto. So there's just a lot of interesting things that we see happening.Stephanie:I would think the one misconception a lot of people have too is that retail is dying or dead. And a lot of influential people have said that, and maybe they're retracting that statement now, but what I think is cool to watch is the type of retailers that are opening up. You see a lot of discounters opening up right now way more than maybe in the past, which is an interesting trend. And then you see these very luxury, maybe not too luxury, but B2C brands also only focusing on what experience do you get by coming here? So what do you think around those two types of industries opening up more retail locations this year than before?David:We serve those discounters all around the world and that's not just the US trend, we see that happening in all parts of the world. And I think convenience growth is also... I just this moved to convenience, smaller footprint is a big trend, and I really think it's about that last mile and accessibility. And so, all the discounters will tell you their growth numbers are off the charts. The way I think about that is they have a critical need for data because they have to understand, they're not obviously carrying a full assortment in that store, so they have to understand their demographics. They have to understand that past purchase history of that municipality or wherever they're located. And they have to have probably technology solutions to deploy potentially the order in the store.David:So I think there's a good blend there as the retailers are going to find the discounters that they're really all about location and proximity to their customer base and serving a need that people want either in between a big grocery shop or going to the big box retailer, the ability to just do quick top-up trips for certain items, I think is where they're going to make their names. And I think that they're seeing a tremendous success as evidenced by their growth and the industry. The luxury brands are interesting, or even maybe not the luxury brands, but you see other in a lot of sporting and fat sporting fashion, and other things where you have the home fitness craze or the virtual fitness craze is taking hold, but so many of those things are experiential again.David:So instead of a story, you think about just creating an experience center that allows you... We saw that, Apple started that with their Apple stores, they were very experiential, Tesla had done something very similar, no big surprise, the same person helped design and develop those two stores. But when do we think about that, if you look at what Kate Hudson did with her brand and partnering. So there a lot of interesting things that are happening around creating experiences around retail at those higher end, or call it more luxury brand goods, it's a blend of, "Hey, I have this subscription content and a complimentary set of retail items that you have to somehow bring together."David:And that's a hard thing to do online. I think that's what we're seeing. I think you'll see more of those pop up. And I think we're seeing more of the traditional retail, the older school, especially retail, either collapse or consolidate, and you're seeing a lot of those newer experiential brands pop up. So I think it's a trend that will at least be here for the next three to five years.Stephanie:Yeah. I agree. I'd love to start seeing case studies around these people, they came into the store, their experience is golf store, whatever it may be, they played on in this camping set with their kids, and then it attributed to this many sales. That's what I'm hoping to see over these next couple of years. I think the experience is where it's at, but I also know a lot of people do, maybe even myself who would just go in and have a good time and be all right, see you next week. And so it'll be interesting to dig into that data eventually and see, is the ROI there of having a full-on experiential store or is it more from a branding perspective or how do you even view that from a financial person?David:I think you said it, well, you have to be purposeful in how you do that. You can't just say, "I'm going to pop-up a traditional retail model, and it's going to be experiential." To your point, I think you have to set out to say, "I'm going to create this experiential store. It's got a different footprint, a different look and feel, a different set of technology capabilities." Because you may or may not be catering to the client that's going to buy online. If you look at a clothing store like Bonobos, who has a showroom store or showroom store, you don't buy anything. There you go in and you try things on for fit, feel, you can touch and feel everything. They have one of everything and they have a bunch of different sizes.David:And then when you go to order, all they're doing is ordering online and then they've got your account and you can order online. So I think that's a good example of somebody that has done a great job of creating an experience. And then that also solves the returns problem on the flip side of the econ equation.Stephanie:The other thing that I wanted to talk about with loyalty programs, because I think you've talked about this in the past and I know a lot of companies always try it, and I can think about the ones that actually, I remember that worked well for me, Nordstrom Rack is one of them, I think TJX one's sometimes hard to find where my dollars are, but at least I know that they're there. And then other ones that just don't work well, certain grocery stores where I'm like, "Why do I keep putting my number in here? What am I getting from this?" So how do you think about loyalty programs? How should they be created and how will they work over the next couple of years?David:This is going to get back to data and the ability to do personalized shopping. Some of the research that we look at, and I'll look at things that are 50, 60, 70% of consumers are willing to provide data or willing to give data if they get value in return. I know that seems like a loose equation because value is different to your point from the eyes of the beholder, but I think it has to be a more personalized program like you said, if I'm just going to enter a phone number in and that's going to drive a discount off a price, that's just not going to be good enough anymore.Stephanie:What if it's not clear, if you're like, "I put my phone number in, did I get anything?" You're looking at the little register and you're like, "I don't see any discounts, what am I even building up to? I don't get it."David:Or offering you something after the fact like, "Hey, you made these three purchases, here's something off your next visit." I think there's going to be such a competitive marketplace for people creating personalized experiences. Now, think about social, if you're on the clothing side, like you're talking to those high end brands, the ability to plug into social networking and create a loyalty program that either would reward somebody for expanding their network or influencing your products or the ability to buy through social channels when you see I want input from people that I would view as either my peers or people like me, how do they like reading reviews, other things, information's at their fingertips.David:So I think that kind of information with your personal data, with social interaction is going to be key. But again, I think loyalty programs are going to come down to more of what we talked about earlier around the online experience, creating more of that online experience, where I give you permission to create an experience because I don't want the friction. I want you to know who I am, I want you to know what I like, I want you to be able to recommend things that, and I want the best deal at the time of purchase. And I want you to respect my loyalty to your brand in the long term, and then I want to reduce all the friction.David:So to me, that's bigger than a points program or enter your phone number, and I'm going to track your purchases and may or may not give you a discount. That's creating that 360 full view of your consumer and really truly understanding them.Stephanie:Yeah. And I think it's also, it's okay to interact with them more than you think if it's done in a way that's purposeful. I think that's the interesting thing is you see the brands that you don't ever hear from and you're like, "What am I even doing here?" And then you hear from the brands that just give you random offers that maybe never incentivize you to do something. And so I think there's a sweet spot where a lot of brands now are leaning into that the more, becoming a media company, having their own content, creating this all-encompassing experience and figuring out how to do that in a way that actually drives the results, will be the way of the future.Stephanie:But I think still brands are having a little bit of a struggle around trying to figure out like what that looks and what incentivizes people to want to act and interact with your content or your texts or whatever they need.David:Right. And like we said, in Asia, it's probably a little more ahead with some of that social commerce and the gamification of both social and product recommendations and loyalty. So some form of that will take hold here. I was trying to think of an example of who is doing it really well, nothing just pops into my head. So we'll skip that.Stephanie:We can skip that then. Yeah, no worries. For anyone who listens to the show, they know that I love to always try and talk about crypto when I can, for whoever is willing to do that with me. And so I wanted to hear from you since I know you guys are obviously the payments space and you're probably watching what's happening in that realm all the time, I want to hear your thoughts on how crypto is going to impact retail and specifically around payments.David:Yeah. I love to talk about crypto too, so I appreciate you bringing it up. I think that it's obviously a very hot trend, there's a lot of trending news happening around crypto. Some of them good, some of them bad, whether it's the hype that Elon Musk creates around things those Dogecoin or Bitcoin on Saturday Night Live, you can follow the trials and tribulations of that. When you get to the underpinnings of the applicability of that and the desire of people to participate in alternative payment form that has less, we'll call it less fees or less cost or more direct access, or feel they have more control, I think that's where we're seeing a lot of uptake in cryptocurrency.David:I just read some studies this morning that talked about cryptocurrency holders, 51% of crypto holders are very likely to use cryptocurrency at retail if they would accept it. So you think about, okay, how do we accept cryptocurrency in a retail environment? We did a demo pre-COVID, whatever, I think that would have been 2020 January at the National Retail Federation, their big show that they have in New York at the Javits Center every year, we actually had a cryptocurrency demo where we said, "We're going to help serve unbanked or underbanked cash economy. How do they participate in the digital economy?" But we had our cash acceptance, think about a self-checkout that has the ability to accept cash.David:We could take that cash. We partnered with some companies to convert that cash to crypto that would be then stored on a cloud wallet or a mobile wallet, generate a QR code, and then we shared it. It was a short demo line, and then we effectively go to the point of sale and purchase something with cash that we had just turned to crypto, scan a QR code at the point of sale, a very simple execution of a lot of elegant and complex things behind the scenes and new thinking. So I think we will see more and more crypto applications come up in retail. And for us as NCR, whether it's moving from cash, to still some checks, to credit cards, debit cards, tap to pay, Apple Pay, mobile wallets, crypto, we want and need to, based on what our mission is, to be able to serve your payment needs from cash to crypto.David:So we are absolutely investing in both partnerships and organic technology that is around crypto, we think again, whether it's payment or some other disintermediation using the underpinnings of what distributed ledger would bring to just ease of payment and security of payment, and again, value stream of payment. There is a there there, either work to do to define exactly what that means, and then consumer adoption is a bit of a wild card, which of those will take off.Stephanie:Yeah. But I think once again, it highlights when tech goes behind the scenes, there will be a place when we are transacting and we don't even know really what's behind the scenes and operating that. Even for now, thinking about Venmo, what actually goes behind the scenes to make all of that work, I think there will be a place when people go in and transact, and maybe it is utilizing crypto, but you don't really know how it's really working, you just know that it's fast and you don't pay fees on it, and it just happens, and it just works. And same thing around financing, these companies that you need to finance things, there'll be a much easier way to do it, whereas you can enter into it quickly and you can see your contract quickly and get out of it when you need to.Stephanie:And right now it feels like a lot of friction around that still, and especially for developing countries, like you said, who don't have banks to rely on or can't rely on them because it is a little bit volatile or whatever it may be. A ton of opportunity that I see disrupting and getting to a place where you don't even know what's behind the scenes powering essentially everything.David:I think you're right, there's a broader education that has to be done because crypto is not about nefarious criminal activities and I'm a money launder or in some illegal trade that I don't want my cash to be seen by the government. That's not what it is. There a lot of regulations, a lot of usage around KYC and other ways that are protecting those assets there, a lot of backing that's being done, you see things stablecoin. The volatility of the value is obviously a big myth, we joked about at the beginning, it's up and down, up and down. But getting asset back, tokens and stablecoins will start to create the ability to leverage distributed ledger in the way that it was meant to be, where the chain of custody is always known, the assets itself hold their own chain of custody.David:You remove all the intermediaries and all the middle people, clearing houses and other... It's going to free up the world of payment in some way that we'll see that more, call it a democratization of the payments infrastructure that I think will be interesting, that would be part of it.Stephanie:Yeah. I like watching it. And the only time I get a little hesitant is when I see entities creating their own coins or governments being like, "We're going to be issuing crypto however," it's backed against, I'll just make it up the US dollar or gold or whatever, our currency in this country. And that's where I'm like, "Oh, I feel like you're taking idea of decentralized and you're completely doing the wrong thing with it and it's turning back into a centralized function." And that's the only point that makes me hesitant, but also I know that maybe consumers would hear that it's backed by the US dollar and be like, "Oh, that one is a better bet." Whereas if you actually understand where this tech, even maybe people don't know who created it, but where it even started and the ideology behind it, is not to tie it to a centralized in it, but we will see.David:Like do that then you just recreate the payment system. Probably not worth it.Stephanie:No. All right. Well, let's shift over to the Lightning Round. The Lightning Round is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This is where I ask a question and you have a minute or less to answer. Are you ready, David?David:I am ready.Stephanie:All right. Hard one first, what one thing will have the biggest impact on ecommerce in the next year?David:I think I'll call it ubiquity of buying online and picking up or delivery anywhere. And so solving, how do I get it to the home at a cost-effective way? How do I manage returns? Or how do I combine that experience of in-person and online? However we define that or whatever that looks is going to change the face of ecomm or commerce.Stephanie:Yup. If you had a podcast, what would it be about and who would your first guest be?David:Wow, It's going to be totally odd. If I had a podcast, it would be about fitness. And I love to do CrossFit, and so it'd be fitness podcast, and I'd have a CrossFit athlete like Travis Mayer or Mat Frazier or somebody on there.Stephanie:I like it. What are you secretly curious about?David:It's funny, it's not overly secret. I think about what the conversation we just had about cryptocurrency. I'm fascinated by cryptocurrency and the underlying applications of distributed ledger across everything from supply chain to the world of, call it finance or micro lending, or just the stock market. A physical stock certificate is no longer... In distributed ledger worlds, you no longer need a physical stock certificates. So I'm fascinated by that. So maybe more fascinated than secretly intrigued.Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. I always keep thinking about smart contracts and especially going through and buying a home and being like, "Why am I still trying to verify that no one from the 1920s or whatever owns this home, that's ridiculous. Why don't we just put this baby on Ethereum or Cardano and call the Dai." There's so many of this.David:The home knows it hasn't been owned.Stephanie:Yeah. It should know that we don't have, we don't need to ask and pay $3,300 in title insurance to make sure that no one else owns this title. That's crazy.David:It is. I agree with you. I agree with you. So I'm interested in how we unlock all that goodnessStephanie:Yeah. When you want to feel more joy, what do you do?David:I spend time with my wife and my daughter and our dog. So I just hang out with the fam.Stephanie:I like that. And then what one thing do you not understand today that you wish you did?David:Wow. That may be the same answer to what I'm intrigued with the cryptocurrency, but I'll go a different route. I don't understand why I can't hit a golf ball more straight, and I would love to understand that. I would love to understand that.Stephanie:I wish I could help you with that, but I just attempted mini-golf with my three-year-old the other day and it did not go well. And I was like, "I shouldn't be teaching you. I think you're doing better than me." So I hope you figure that out on your own.David:Yeah. I do too. I do too.Stephanie:The last one, what's up next on your reading list or on your podcast queue?David:It’s funny I don't have it with me, but it is a book about, it's not a crypto book, but it is a distributed ledger of financial book. I don't remember the name of it, it's probably not overly interesting.Stephanie:Is it new?David:It is new. It's a 2020, 2021 book. Stephanie:Digital Finance: Security Tokens and Unlocking the Real Potential of Blockchain.David:That is it. That's sitting there waiting to read. And then it's funny, the other book that is next next on my list, and I'm old school so I have real books-David:a book called From Cotton Picker to Store Keeper. It's the story of the Brookshire's grocery company. So a Texas company at Tyler, Texas, but it's just a store. It's a family-run store that has a grocery chain that has survived and continues to thrive and grow. And so it's just an interesting read Stephanie:All right, David. Well, it's been really fun having you on the show. Thanks for sharing all your insights and hanging out with me for a bit. Where can people find out more about NCR retail and yourself?David:Yeah. I would just go to our website, ncr.com and you'll find about us. And then for me, I'm on the old school social media of LinkedIn. We do still a lot of posting through LinkedIn, it just works for us. So you'll see more thereStephanie:I'm on LinkedIn, it's not that old school. Cool. Well, thanks so much for coming on and joining us.David:Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Listen to The Future of Transactions: The President of NCR Retail on Reinventing the Buying Experience now.

Listen to The Future of Transactions: The President of NCR Retail on Reinventing the Buying Experience in full in the Spotify app