Transcript of The PayPod: Episode 16 - How retailers are navigating new economic realities

While COVID-19 has created many struggles for retail businesses across Canada, some managed to quickly pivot by leaning on e-commerce to help them sustain revenues and jobs. While the virus is causing chaos in many industries, it is also driving new technological adoptions and creating new opportunities for growth. Will this mean more support for new methods of payments? Cyrielle Chiron is joined by Marilyn Schaffer, XTM Inc. CEO,  and Wendy MacKinnon, CEO & Founder of Digital Retail Apps, to discuss how retailers and paytech players are adapting to meet the shift in purchasing habits.

Guests: 

  • Marilyn Schaffer, CEO, XTM Inc.
  • Wendy MacKinnon, CEO & Founder, Digital Retail Apps, and Founding Member, Paytechs of Canada

Transcript:

Cyrielle Chiron:
With 80% of sales coming from in-store purchases in 2019, according to public accounting company BDO, retailers across Canada have taken a big hit since the start of the COVID-19 lock down. While online retailers have applied pressure to brick and mortar general stores for several years now, the last few months have proven that eCommerce is a must if they want to survive and thrive. Shopify validated this fact in May actually when they announced a spike in uptake in their online selling platform. Comparing it only to records made on Black Friday in previous years.

Cyrielle Chiron:
So, while some retailers have struggled due to the impact of the pandemic, or they actually have created new channels to thrive, my two guests today will dive into the innovative strategies and operational pivots that are proving effective, including the long term impact these shifts will have on the retail sector and the vendor support.

Cyrielle Chiron:

We will also explore how this so-called new normal will advance and maybe actually expedite payments modernization in Canada. I'm Cyrielle Chiron your host of The PayPod, which talks about all aspects of Canada's ambitious payments for the musician mission and explores the topics that influence payments in Canada and around the world.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Joining me today is Marilyn Schaffer, CEO of Canadian payments company, XTM inc., a go-to innovator and marketer for customized payments ecosystems. XTM's goal is to disrupt traditional banking with a white labeled mobile wallet, branded visa and MasterCard solutions and refined platform. Earlier in their carrier, Marilyn launched the Angry Birds prepaid visa card in Canada. Who also prompted the chief marketing officer of Paid Mobile, and was the senior marketing advisor for Parfait MasterCard, all while working at XTM.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Also, joining us today is Wendy MacKinnon, CEO and founder of Digital Retail Apps and a founding member of Paytechs of Canada. Having successfully launched multiple online and mobile shopping platforms. Wendy's understanding of what consumers want from their modern day shopping experience allows her to guide other organizations and provide Canadians with the best possible payments experience.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Thank you both for joining me today on The PayPod.

Wendy MacKinnon:
Thanks for having us, it's great to be here.

Marilyn Schaffer:
Yes, it is.

Cyrielle Chiron:

Great. So let's talk retail and both of you have great experience working with retail businesses in Canada with exceptional insights. I believe, as I mentioned in your bio before, very tremendous bios about how payments play role in their businesses. So to start the discussion, I think it would be great if both of you share a little bit about the companies you have started and your experience so far. So why don't we start With you, Wendy?

Wendy MacKinnon:
Sure. So this is... Hi, it's great to be on today. It's Wendy MacKinnon and I founded a company called Digital Retail Apps and we created a retail shopping platform called Self Pay, which is a way to shop and pay in app and any physical retail store. I was also one of the founding members of the industry association of Paytechs of Canada to give a voice to all the various and new emerging, exciting new paytech companies who are competing in the new, evolving payments landscape.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Great. And Marilyn, can you tell us a little bit about your company?

Marilyn Schaffer:
Sure. Yeah. I have a background in agency and marketing, and a dream of mine was always to be able to market and sell basically my own product. So when I had an opportunity to jump into that space, I did, and we made an acquisition of a platform that had been built by the major telcos, a wireless mobile wallet that brought us into this space as a contender. And now as the CEO of XTM, we run a very sophisticated payment platform that eliminates cash from a lot of retail environments, including hospitality, and personal care services like salons and barbershops and food delivery entities. So I'm certainly very interested in our topic today about cashless environments and have lots of thoughts on that. Thanks for having me.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Oh, great. This is excellent. I know you both have so much experience and clearly a lot of insights to offer to us today. So let's go into it. So can you share your views on what the overall impact of the pandemic has been to the retail businesses in terms of how they conduct their businesses and how they have to adapt? So why don't we start with you, Marilyn, first?

Marilyn Schaffer:
So I think that what has happened today with the pandemic... I always say two things move people in business. It's fear and greed. And if you can kind of break it all down to those two emotions, you can find a way to get at the heart of the matter, if you will. And so I think before COVID, cash was definitely becoming less favorable. A less favorable way of transacting. When COVID struck, fear sort of got implanted and was implanted into everyone, and the elimination of cash has been accelerated from ecosystems like never before. Just as an example, a reflection of that, our company has grown 550% in the last three months.

Marilyn Schaffer:
So obviously there's a real push to make that happen. And I think that's kind of... That feels very self serving for me to say that. And of course I'm happy the company has grown, and I'm not happy about COVID, but I will say that I think the innovation that the retail industry has shown and their ability to pivot is outstanding. What a group of survivors. Unfortunately, not everyone will make it, but there's been a lot of incredible innovation and survival mode that's come into play and it's super impressive.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, no. That's true. A lot of innovations are appearing and keeping growing. I agree with that. Wendy, do you have any views on this?

Wendy MacKinnon:
I feel like what I've seen is there's really been this acceleration of a shift, not only to cashless retail transactions, but also to contact free or contactless. Shopping both obviously with a huge surge in a shift to online shopping, but also within the physical store. And it's really been a combination of the personal mobile device, our smartphones we carry around with us, enabling this change, and then pandemic accelerating this change. In terms of being able to get the ability to have more contactless or contact free interactions in particular in the physical world because it's gonna save you not only the need to have physical contact with a payment terminal, with an employee, as often as you may wish to reduce that, but also the benefits from before, which were to have any kind of contact for your contactless payment was going to also save you time as a shopper and reduce the friction during the checkout.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And this has just been amplified by the pandemic with an overall desire to spend less time in a physical store and have less interaction within a physical store. And so you start to see a much more wide variety of these different kinds of contact free retail. Whether it's the shift to online, there's more delivery options, there's click and collect, there's also the mobile self checkout, the checkout with me, video shopping. I mean, there's just been a surge in a whole new set of ways to interact. It's really almost a hybrid between online and in store.

Cyrielle Chiron:
That's pretty interesting. I didn't know you could do it with video. That's new to me. Well, that's interesting, that's great. But talking about all those different examples, what have you... What has been some of the most impressive example of ingenuity by retailers during this global health pandemic? What have you seen? Maybe we can start with you Marilyn, have you seen anything that really stood out? So the video was the one thing that Wendy mentioned, is there anything else?

Marilyn Schaffer:
When I talk about resilience, it's not necessarily disruptive innovation in terms of technology, but it's just a way to change human behavior. That's what I found most impressive. And Wendy, I really agree with you about the hybrid. Even from just using myself as a use case, I'm a very tactile person. I like to touch things, I like to feel them, I like to see them. That's just not possible. So, there's a mixture. You do some online and then maybe you go somewhere to actually physically see something. If it's a bigger purchase. It's a mixture of layers that enable you to make a buying decision that maybe you would have done on impulse before in a big box store or at of fashion store or something like that. So I think it's human behavior that has been particularly interesting the way we've rallied and how we've reacted.

Marilyn Schaffer:
And are we ever going to stop shopping? No, people will always continue to buy. It's how they buy and the precautions they take to get there. Even if it's a designer mask, that's a necessity when you get into a public place. People are making that their own after they got through the initial curve of this isn't a choice, you are going to have to do this. All right, well, how can I make this my own? And so payments is one of those ways, too. Some people are just all about cash and that's just not a possibility anymore. So figure out a way to make that happen. To make your purchase happen without cash. So it's human behavior that I think has been particularly interesting through this very, very quick change that we've had to react to.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, I think you're right. The fact that a lot of people reacted very fast and how resilient, as you mentioned, we are and quickly to adapt. That's been very impressive for me to even a lot of retailers or restaurants, it didn't necessarily have a digital presence and they're had to suddenly go on Uber Eats or something like that. So it's pretty impressive on how we are quick to react.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Wendy, do you have any other specific strategies or tactics that you identified that could be critical for success for a retailer?

Wendy MacKinnon:
Yeah, absolutely. So what I have... There's a couple of examples in Canada, and this trend is a little bit more pronounced in the US, so I just want to bring in some of those examples as well. This is in this area of mobile self checkout. So, at one of the Walmart locations in the St. Claire sort of stockyards location, and one of them, there are several others, but one of the locations of Loblaws also near on St. Claire, but this time near Bathurst there have some trials going on for various forms of mobile self-checkout where the idea is the shopper uses their own personal mobile device.

Wendy MacKinnon:
They enter the store, they scan the price tag, or the barcode of the item, they add it to their own personal mobile cart, their digital cart at the same time they're adding it to their physical parts, so completely independently shopping at this point, and then when it's time to pay, you would just pay an app with whichever mobile payment method you would like to use. Your mobile wallet, it could be Apple pay, it could be a credit card, whatever that you would have on file. And then as you're leaving the store, there's a mobile, digital receipt exchange between the individual shopper and the merchant. So that you're then marked, that transaction is then finally being complete. And you exit the store all without having really any interaction, except for that quick sort of digital receipt exchange at the end.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And in the United States, you're seeing, I think Sams' Club since 2016 has done this, and offered this sort of chain-wide to more than 600 of their locations. In the last 12 months, Dollar General, which is sort of similar to our Dollarama here in Canada, has it in more than 700 locations. 7-Eleven in the U S has it in several hundred locations and they're growing. I can't name how many other retailers are doing it, there's just so many. And I think this is really significant change. There is some recent press that showed Sam's Club, as an example, I think before the pandemic, somewhere, maybe 10 to 15% of all of their transactions were going through this mobile self-checkout platform. And their executives have taught that it has more than doubled. Which, if that's true, that would be 20 to 30% of transactions, which is really spectacular in terms of a shift as a result of the pandemic. Because again, you've got the combination of the time savings and the ability to do everything on your personal mobile device. And obviously the contact-free which is a huge trend.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And following with Walmart in Canada, they just announced a huge, more than $3 billion capital investment program, where they're going to be also expanding their, what they call checkout with me, which has also been quite successful in the US, where an individual sales associate will be able to prepare your order in the aisle and add all your items to your cart on the staff device. And then you can have a contact free, tap and go on your payment method.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And I think that this has really been some really significant changes in, really, a relatively short period of time. There's two other quick examples. So there's been a huge uptick, we've all seen, in click and collect across, having certainly started broadly with grocery, the supply and availability. And in the beginning of the pandemic, you were having to wait two weeks or something. And now, of course, it's gotten much less with more expansion of the capability in the stores, but also with a large number of additional players coming into the game to do delivery. So of course you see a huge increase of Instacart in Canada, servicing Walmart and many other locations. You have Voila by Sobeys, you have a new company called Cornershop app, which recently came into Canada and the US. And this is similar to like an Instacart style where it's a personal delivery. And that's a company that was recently acquired by Uber for I think, more than $500 million.

Wendy MacKinnon:
So there's just... It's trying to keep up in this space is exciting because these are just the examples that come to mind of all the different kinds of contactless or contact free options that are coming into the marketplace.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, it really accelerated all the potential that those, I would say small company startup could bring to the table. And also those big retailers that you mentioned to actually innovate to, I mean, not to stay relevant, but to make sure to keep up with the situation, right. Otherwise people would just not come because they're just too scared of this contact. I'm actually very impressed with all the example you mentioned. That's pretty impressive. Actually. I'd like to stay with you for a bit. Wendy, you talk about before that eCommerce. We were talking about, as you said, everything start to move digital, but some retailers rely heavily on in-store customer service. Like big box stores move their entire business online. And you mentioned a couple of examples of how they can deal with that. But they also, some of them, focus on delivery, on curbside pickup as well.

Cyrielle Chiron:
But as the economy opens up, right, they had to make some room in their stores for shoppers again. What successful measures have you seen organization take in order to have provide customers with the shopping experience of their choice? I know you mentioned, you just mentioned a couple of examples, but is there anything that you could share in that when people go back into stores?

Wendy MacKinnon:
Yes. Well, I think one of the things that shoppers are going to start to see is certainly to have some of these additional options that I was just describing of the checkout with me or the mobile phone checkout, and so on. But there's a couple of others, I think, that retailers will start to offer as well. And we see there's almost a resurgence in the previously maligned QR code where there's options for shoppers to use a QR code that represents their method of payment to not even necessarily have to come anywhere close to a payment terminal. They can just display a QR code that represents their payment method and only sends a tokenize version of their payment method to the retailers, so that there's literally no physical touching whatsoever of a payment device or a point of sale device. So that's something I think that's going to also grow.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And I'll just give you another sort of further example of the video shopping. Which, again, it's one of those kind of hybrid where there's a company, a great Canadian company called Tulip Retail, and they recently announced a new part of their platform where they're able to establish a direct video link between an individual shopper and a physical store where they can, the associate in the physical store, is going to show them all the items and so on, and they can just buy and pay online, but they're still physically walking through, well, the associate's physically walking through the store while the shoppers is seeing it on online on the screen, which is kind of just an interesting option for that.

Wendy MacKinnon:
I think one of the things we're also going to see in the fall, which is coming very soon is Apple has recently announced this concept called an app clip. And I think that this is something that didn't get a huge amount of airtime at that June worldwide developer conference. But I think it has a... I really believe it's a game changing offering where any merchant, any physical retailer, now that could be like a hair salon, it could be a shoe store, it could be any kind of merchant would offer a digital code on the front of their door, if you will. Using just the camera on your iPhone, you would scan that and you would not need to download an individual mobile app. Whether it's a platform app, or an individual retailer's app, you would just scan this code. You don't need to sign in, you don't need to create an account, you don't need to add a payment method because it was going to rely on your phone.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Your Apple Pay. Yeah.

Wendy MacKinnon:
It's going to rely on Apple Pay to fund the payment and so on. So what this becomes, and then you could, of course, you can enable this as, just as an example, you can enable the scan and go option where again, you would scan this little code in the front of the store, walk in the store and you scan the items you want to buy. You paying in app with Apple Pay, and of course you could still have this concept of the digital receipt exchange, and off you go. That has taken away a significant amount of friction for a lot of people. I think you're hesitant to download a whole new mobile app to think, "well, am I really going to see the benefit here? Maybe I just want to try it out before I commit to downloading, creating an account, adding payment methods, and so on." And this is something that's going to be available sometime between September, October when the iOS 14 comes out.

Wendy MacKinnon:
And again, you could have it just for whether you're paying a service provider, like a hair salon or any type of physical store. It's going to be extremely easy to create these kinds of app clips. And I think it's going to take away that kind of concern about, well, how do I have to do all this steps to just try out this entirely contact free means of shopping.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, and if every single retailer says their own app, you don't want to end up with hundreds of app on your, on your device, right. So that's... what's the name of it? What did you say? The name of the... i-what? Apple?

Wendy MacKinnon:
Oh, so iOS goes through various upgrades here and there and the next big one is iOS 14 and it's coming out in the fall. So sometime September, October time frame. And the name of this new capability, it's called an app clip. And it's sort of like a QR code. It's a digital image that would be unique to that particular merchant and that particular merchant's location. That would enable you to try out this new mode of shopping and paying completely contact free without having to download an app.

Cyrielle Chiron:
That's very interesting. And that's really going to push QR codes, right? I didn't know that either, so that's good. It's a lot of new examples that you're sharing. Marilyn, is there any ideas or anything that you would share as well and see what could be some successful measures organization can take in order to provide a kind of similar shopping experience?

Marilyn Schaffer:
Sure. And I come at it more from the staff perspective and there's a couple of industries that still use cash, or were still using cash as a main part of their ecosystem. And that was the hospitality in terms of gratuities and also the personal care services. And it's amazing to us, we go in and have dinner. At least we used to go in and have dinner and put our credit card down to pair our bill, and those restaurants typically would have gone at the end of the shift, or maybe twice a week to the bank withdrawn cash and paid out the servers, their gratuities in an envelope with cash.

Marilyn Schaffer:
And we launched late last year and we were definitely getting some traction. But just some of these stats, like for example, the germs that are carried on paper money are reportedly more germs than a household toilet. And that in studying the bacteria on paper currency, it's reported that they can transmit a flu virus. And these viruses can sit on note for up to 17 days. So where we were having a bit of friction, like the store owners loved a cashless solution, it took so much pressure off of their operation staff. The staff kind of, millennials, they kinda liked that wad cash in an envelope. Now it's just a no-brainer. Nobody wants cash. So of course the solution is to provide a digital ecosystem for them. Which we're doing and others are doing, but the time is right for that.

Marilyn Schaffer:
So, so we've seen at least those two industries. The other is major event stadiums. We just signed MLSE. They're completely replacing cash in their stadium to the point where if you walk into a game or a concert and you have cash, they don't want to turn you away because you're a paying customer we're installing reverse ATMs. So you insert your cash into the ATM and it spits out a card. A chip and pin and the card. So cash is definitely not in favor these days. And people are looking for any way possible to replace it in ecosystems.

Cyrielle Chiron:
So that's a good point, right? When you said nobody wants cash and they're looking through to replace. So when everything is going to reopen, do you foresee that this trying to still stay? Or businesses to pivot entirely to make sure they're still accommodate more contactless payments? Or do you still see going back into having...maybe taking cash back again?

Marilyn Schaffer:
Yeah. I would say that it's gone forever. I actually think our lives have changed forever. At least the generation that is the generations that have seen this pandemic. I think cash is antiquated and it really is yesterday. And it was yesterday last year. This year, it's just so yesterday. So I don't see it coming back into our process into our day to day like it was was ever. And with the millennials driving the economy as they get older and more buying power, they never use cash. Cash is just not part of their, and I'm using air quotes "currency."

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, that's a good point. Wendy, do you have any views on that? On the future of cash?

Wendy MacKinnon:
I would I, 100% agree with Marilyn. This is a sea change. And in this case, the tide's not going back out. Because what's happened is there's been more consumers that have, and businesses, that have had the positive experiences of working in a cash less or cash free scenario because it gives you so many more benefits. I mean, not only is it more healthy, it's faster.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Well apparently like so many..

Wendy MacKinnon:
Yes, it saves you time, it's more convenient. There may have just been a lot of people that were, "Well, I'll try that next week or next month." But with the great difficulty we've all experienced in this pandemic, it's, I think it's really given rise to people thinking, "Well, this is maybe the time to try something like this, to see how it can improve my life and make me feel better about my transaction. And, and certainly give me the confidence and to feel more trusting of these kinds of interactions if I don't have to handle the really dirty cash or touch these payment terminals and so on." So I think this is something that will not go back. I think we've just seen this a compression of the change happen in just a couple of months. which most of the business plans would have had happened in over the next two to three years. I think that's something that is definitely here to stay at this pretty accelerated rate.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah. It just make it just faster, as you said, if it was on their road map, it just accelerated the trend kind of forced retailer to say, Hey, now it's the time. Otherwise, you're just not going to have a lot of customers. I'd like to stick with you, Wendy. I'd like to talk about the Retail Council of Canada. They recently released their road to recovery playbook for Canadian retailers. And again, just for the listeners, the paper is available on their website and it's retailcouncil.org. And they listed limited interaction during checkout payments as one of the four key priorities. Do you have any recommendations for how retailers or their businesses can encourage this as they begin to reopen?

Wendy MacKinnon:
Sure, absolutely. So I think one of the touch points for most retailers and merchants to think about is to offer options. To not just have one way to check out. To give your customers an opportunity to try something different. That's going to give them these benefits of, whether it's check out with me in the form of, like a Tulip retail, or other platforms which provide an associate-led checkout experience where you're not having to wait in line to pay. You're able to just tap your phone against their device, and so on. Or whether it's with a mobile shop or self checkout, or whether it's by creating a QR code to form a mobile wallet so that, again, you don't have to interact with a payment terminal.

Wendy MacKinnon:
In all of these cases, I think you need to have at least two options. One may be you can keep the traditional going for some time as people are easing over to a new platform. But being able to offer a second or possibly a third option. I think that we have to be recognized that different people will still be, throughout this period, there will be people that have different comfort levels with how quickly they're going to shift over. They may want to be able to try it out first. And so being able to give lots of signage, some instructions, some incentive to try some of these new, more contact-free methods, I think is something that's going to help a lot of these retailers. And certainly I would say historically, Canada has been rather behind if you compare to the United States, Europe, UK, Asia, with some of these mobile payment methods. And there's certainly been, a thought that they need to start to do this, but now with the effects of the pandemic and the rising shopper expectations for having contact free options. I think we're gonna see a lot of these retailers starting to invest in actually roll out on a broader scale, many of these new kinds of options.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, no, I think, and as you mentioned, Marilyn, these older millennials growing older and getting more purchase power, they would definitely drive these trends. And I like that you both mentioned not only contactless, but contact free. So we're really moving to actually have no contact at all. So that's pretty interesting. I'd like to talk about a recent article that Forbes released and it did discuss the impact that moving towards contactless payment, maybe contact free payments might have on the trust between retailers and consumers. So for example mobile scan and go shopping or a different type of example that both of you mentioned might feel safe for some people, but it can be a little bit too strange for others. While the main idea of setting in a foot inside a physical store at all could be a deal breaker for others. And I know we talked about having the choice. We talked about some trends, but I'd like to discuss the topic a little bit further. So I have a long question here, actually.

Cyrielle Chiron:
So first would be, how do you recommend businesses deal with this new realities? I know we touched a little bit on that already, having the choice. But also, in what ways can the payments ecosystem help alleviate these concerns so that every retailer and shopper can decide for themself what works best for them and neither ends up pushed too far out of their comfort zone.

Marilyn Schaffer:
Well you know, there's an 80-20 rule, right? You can't please all of the people all of the times. So I think that as this shift emerges, there will be some, probably an older generation, that is not comfortable at all with the digital payment ecosystem. But certainly it's happening, and so the movement is there and we need to get on board. In terms of businesses and dealing with these new realities. I think it's imperative that as an entrepreneur you look at the options and you look at the possibilities and don't try and reinvent the wheel. Shopify is a great example of how eCommerce you can even go and reinvent that for yourself. Every time we built an eCommerce site, or you can do a plugin. And the Wendy's company is another example of that. That makes sense. It makes sense to leave the R and D and the development up to the experts. There will be two or three winners will emerge, pick one of those as your technology of choice and go with it.

Marilyn Schaffer:
One of the approaches we're taking on our side, which is more a B to B play because we're on the staff side is we're not exploiting. We're not exploiting this as an opportunity to generate huge revenue. We're actually offering our service free. It's free to the store owners to restaurants, to personal care services. Our main revenue comes from the interchange, which is the fee. The merchant is already has to pay to one of the networks, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, whatever the case is. In our case it's MasterCard. We split the interchange with them and that's how we make money.

Marilyn Schaffer:
So it's low friction. It's easy. We do all the setup. And I would look for something like that. I think that tells you a couple of things as an entrepreneur or a retailer, is that the vendor you're working with is in for the long haul. They're not looking for a quick and dirty type of deal where they can get a bunch of up front money and then not support you in the long run. You definitely want to do a deal with a company that's going to be around for a while. And you want to make sure that it meets all the requirements.

Marilyn Schaffer:
And you might have different requirements than the next person, so whatever fits your requirements. Do your homework and then choose one of the top three, and that's just the way it's going to be. And then I think from a consumer perspective, you're just going to have to get on with the program and we're going to have to help our parents. My kids are gonna have to help me on certain things where I stumble on online and that kinda thing. But we'll all get through it together. That's my feeling.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Well, that's a good point. And I'd like to have your view, Wendy as well. But I'd like to add something else. As you mentioned Marilyn, how do you educate yourself? Because all of this is education.

Marilyn Schaffer:
Yes. Well, there I am. Again, what I have noticed is that I think even before the spring, when all these changes were upon us, there was already then, I would say an incredible amount of change. Both in terms of the different kinds of mobile wallets and mobile payments and new companies entering the space. And if you move forward modernization and so on. These were already in place. And so it's really just been, now I would say an acceleration also of the trends and the companies and the changes that have taken place. I find it's difficult to keep up with, but I think it's something that's really important because all of these new offerings are leading really in the same kind of general direction, which is to offer both a combination of a cash free, but also a much more convenient way of paying in physical retail for our goods and services.

Marilyn Schaffer:
And so I think one of the things also that's important for all of the participants in this marketplace is in fact B to B, but also consumer education around the fact that it's actually much more secure to pay in app or to pay with, using a tokenize method of payment rather than our old fashion kind of plastic cards, either tapping even, or in circle into a a point of sale machine. I think that there is some consumer education that needs to increase and improve so that that's going to help with a concern about, "Well, is this really a safe method of payment? What about my privacy?" Well, it's actually much safer and protects your privacy much better if you're using a tokenize method of digital payment through a mobile wallet or mobile app.

Marilyn Schaffer:
I think something else that's really on the backs of the retailers themselves too, is to provide, whether it's guided trial in-store as they're making this transition, and/or it's all back to the user interface and the user experience to make that digital experience as intuitive, as simple, and as easy as possible to try it out so there's not a lot of friction involved in being able to try out one of these new methods and then sticking with it. Payment changes, I would say fast and slow. It's obviously an industry that's been around for literally hundred of years, more, thousands even. But we have this step-change now. Where, I think you have a moment in time where more people are more open to trying new things if it's going to make them feel more healthy, more safe, more secure. But also save them time and be much more effective and let the amount of time that you are spending in a physical retail store being spent on the more pleasurable aspects of shopping. Even in this situation that we're in where you can have the touch and feel and you can see what it is that you're actually wanting to purchase as opposed to spending all the time worrying about waiting in line and exchange of cash. That clearly is not in our future.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah, it's the waiting in line for me.

Marilyn Schaffer:
Yeah.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Drive me insane. But actually, you have a good point talking about changing being fast and slow. I'd just like to close up actually asking about the changing payment methods. Obviously I cannot not talk about payments modernization. So I'd like to ask both of you, how do you think all the changes of payments that you just mentioned, and some retailers are going through, for some it's more painful than other, and the shift to cashless/cash free, contactless/contact free, how do you think this may expedite payments modernization in Canada?

Wendy MacKinnon:
I feel very strongly about this because it's very much the company that I founded, but also the Paytech Association of Canada that I helped to found, which is really trying to advocate to all the market participants including the regulators. The banks and all the various participants and merchants, and card associations, and everyone that plays in this marketplace to accelerate this move toward open banking and payments modernization. Because we clearly have consumer interest and consumer expectations I think have changed forever. So I think this is not something that can stay at the same pace as it was before the spring. It's something that really, because of the consumer expectations, and frankly, needs for health and security purposes have this move forward at a much more rapid clip than what was the pace up to now. It's just the end of regulators as well as all the market that has since, I think we'll clearly see, just from the results on how shoppers are wanting to pay differently as a result of Covid and also from these other benefits of course that they're getting. I hope to put additional positive pressure on all the participants to move towards modernization. Forward, but a little bit more quickly.

Cyrielle Chiron:
Yeah. What about you, Marilyn? Is there anything you'd like add on this?

Marilyn Schaffer:
I would just say to our very strong entrepreneurial spirit here in Canada, we've got restaurateurs, I'll speak to them, and to personal care services folks, and food deliver. Yes, your world has changed forever, and it changed overnight. It's daunting, and my heart goes out to these folks who may have had years and years of their own money tied up in these dreams. But once you get the big blocks into place, yes everyone has to wear masks. And yes, social distancing is here to stay for the infinite future. Payments is another big block. How to avoid any friction in the payment space. Once all of these are in place, and they are, everyone's getting this together very very quickly, let's go back to the art of cooking and serving and having fun and enjoying your glass of wine together. I hope that these things will just become the tools to enable us to go back to some semblance of the life that we lived before. And payments being a big part of that. The rails exist. It's simple to implement and to get on board. It's really just the human behavior and the human expectations that need to change. And once that's done, we can go back to something similar to what we lived before March 2020.

Cyrielle Chiron:
That was inspiring. That's all we have for today. As always, I have so many other questions, and I really do. Thank you both for your time and definitely your incredible insight and expertise. I didn't' know we had so many innovations and different startups that were launching so many things. That was very insightful. So thank you for your time.

Wendy MacKinnon:
Our pleasure.

Marilyn Schaffer:
Thank you very much.

Cyrielle Chiron:
As the economy begins to open up more and more, retailers are beginning to show signs of life and bouncing back. And retailers begin to open the doors again, it's clear that sentiments around traditional means of payments have changed for good. Being able to learn from those who have had success in shifting as well as those who have suffered, offers crucial learnings for Canadian retailers. It's also an opportunity for the payments system in Canada to demonstrate the importance of modernizing systems, and work to ensure retailers and business owners have the payments method they need to keep up with consumer demand. The need for modernized payment systems, including retailers, has officially fast-tracked, and there is no turning back now. I'd like to once again both Marilyn Schaffer and Wendy MacKinnon for speaking with us today. As always the PayPod is available for download on your favorite podcast app or payments.ca. Join the conversation online using #modern payments and stay tuned as we continue to explore the changing world of payments. Thank you for tuning in.