DEVARAJ SOUTHWORTH SPEAKS TO THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL WALLETS AT SXSW INTERACTIVE
On March 13th, Devaraj Southworth, VP of Online and Mobile Partnerships, participated in a SXSW Interactive panel discussion on digital commerce of the future. Aptly titled “From Leather to Smartphone—The Wallet Evolves,” the discussion focused on how digital is driving major change for both consumers and merchants, and why this is a welcome change, given the advantages and future potential.
Devaraj was joined on stage by Don Kingsborough, VP of Retail and Prepaid Payments at PayPal, and Steve Schultz, COO of Pageonce. Moderator Lauren Goode, Senior Editor at the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D, opened the discussion by asking the panelists to share some of their personal spending habits and how their respective companies fit into their financial solutions today, before diving into what we can expect in the near future.
“The digital transition has been a gradual evolution,” Southworth explained. “Serve is unique because it is a network rather than a wallet. It’s not just about a plastic card or mobile apps or even a Web site—we’re moving towards the idea of an ‘account’ in the cloud with an offline capability that can be used today.”
All panelists agreed the major players of the future are those companies that genuinely make things easier for both merchants and consumers. Partnerships and collaboration in this ecosystem will be critical. Opt-in incentives, such as discounts or special offers, will play a major part in the widespread adoption of mobile wallets and NFC payments. “When you know who is actually redeeming offers and how much they are spending, you can be much smarter about tweaking and targeting those offers—and rewarding those users appropriately,” Southworth said.
The panel discussion was only the first stop in what will be a busy week of events, discussions, and collaborations. While in Austin, Southworth took the opportunity to meet with current American Express partners, such as Ticketmaster, to discuss enhancements planned for the coming year. Southworth also offered time to speak with exciting start-ups, as well as larger players, about Serve’s value in the marketplace.
Serve’s participation at SXSW is just the tip of the iceberg for 2012. American Express launched the Sync program on Twitter, and Serve has been integrated to allow users to request and send money from friends and peers within Facebook. This year promises to be big, as users can expect to continue to see new product enhancements, partnership integrations, and even more reasons to transition from leather to digital.
-The Serve Team