Change is afoot in the world of payments. As the industry struggles to adapt to the online environment, we are seeing increasingly dramatic shifts in the landscape, from the acquisition of Alaric and Digital Insight by NCR Corporation to the intensifying pressure to incorporate consumer technology and create truly mobile systems.
The key to these seismic shifts in the payment industry is the rise of the Digital Native, as first described by sociologist Marc Prensky. Digital Natives are people born and raised in the connected world, people who assume the right to online citizenship and who demand interconnectedness in all aspects of life. The demands of Digital Natives are driving a global change which affects every form of enterprise, not just the payments industry.
So what can we do to meet the demands of Digital Natives, and what exactly is it that they want?
The answer is both simple and troublingly complex: They want what they want, when they want it. In practice this means that Digital Natives value convenience, control and accessibility over more traditional metrics. The emphasis is on function, meaning that a Digital Native will quickly abandon a product or service they perceive as too slow, too vaguely defined or not useful enough. For businesses, this means that traditional ideas of customer loyalty and habitual usage must be discarded in favour of a more dynamic worldview.
While this change may be disorienting for some, it is actually the shot in the arm that global enterprise needs. For example, in the payment industry, offering Digital Natives the speed, control and flexibility that they demand creates a drive towards new, better products and services, which can also benefit traditional consumers. By following the evolving needs of the Digital Natives, whole sectors can be renewed.