Originally presented as a PAYMNENTSfn Fireside Chat, listen as Matt Monahan, VP of Product at Arc Publishing (a division of the Washington Post) discusses how payments differ for platforms versus traditional merchants.  

Have questions that aren't covered here?

Join us in our Slack community and get your questions answered!

Want more?

You can also watch all of our PAYMENTSfn Fireside Chats here.

Rough Transcript (edited for readability):

Peter Mollins:

Great. Hi everyone. Good afternoon. Good morning wherever you might be on. My name is Peter Mollins with Spreedly and welcome to this edition of the PAYMENTSfn fireside chat series.

So before we get started and introduce our guests I just want to make sure that you know about some of the logistics. If you'd like to submit a question, please feel free to do so. You can do that through the Q&A functionality that you should see down at the bottom of your screen. You can also, if you're a member of the PAYMENTSfn Slack community, then you can go to Ask PFN. That's a channel within the Slack space. And you can actually ask a question there as well. The community manager, Lani Simeona will actually be taking those questions and passing them back to me. So we'll be able to direct them back to our guest today.

Now, most people actually watch this the recorded session. So if you have a colleague or friend that you think might value this, just watch for an update in the email and also through the PAYMENTSfn Slack, we'll be sending out an update as far as where you can watch the recording of this session. PAYMENTSfn has grown quite a bit. We had over 1400 people in our conference back in May, and now the community's grown to about 2,500 people that are payments professionals, payments operators. So great exciting thing. And this series really does depend on content from yourselves. And so if you would like to participate in this fireside chat series, contribute a chat, contribute a topic, maybe speak, we'd love to have you. So please also go to AskPFN and raise your hand. We'd love to have you on an upcoming edition. And we do actually have another one coming up in November where we're going to be talking to payments team over at Netflix. So pretty exciting stuff coming up.

So with that, I'll get over to introducing our topic and guest for today. So the topic today is looking at the differences for payments when it comes to platforms. Often we think about payments in terms of merchants that are online, accepting payments, but wanted to take a look at how platforms are different. And we're going to do that today by talking to Matt Monahan, who's the vice president of product over at Arc Publishing, which is a division of Washington Post.

Matt leads product development and strategy for Arc Publishing, which is a cloud-based digital experience platform that helps organizations create and distribute content, drive digital commerce and deliver powerful experiences.

So powers over 1200 sites incredibly and so very excited to have you hear Matt. Matt actually attended Boston University and currently lives in Washington DC. So Matt, welcome to today's session.

Matthew Monahan:

Great. Thanks so much for having me here.

Peter Mollins:

Absolutely. So we'll just jump in and first maybe, can you just give a bit more detail about Arc Publishing that division of Washington Post and what is the market that Arc serve?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, that's great. So Arc, first of all, it was a software as a service digital experience platform, so it's a cloud-based enterprise tool. It grew out of our needs at the Washington Post originally. So about probably now about seven years ago, we started building some of these tools for the Washington Post and it began kind of as their CMS and it still is the CMS of the Washington Post.

And from there we started commercializing it maybe about five or six years ago now. And as we grew it, we sort of built some different components of it. There's a headless CMS that's part of it. There's an experience platform that renders our site and all of our customer sites. And then there's a commerce engine, that's part of it too. Over time we built these different components together they make up a DXP and if you look across our customer base obviously because of who we are, it started primarily focused in the publishing and media space, but over the years, it's broadened out substantially since then.

And so these days we power, as you mentioned, I think now it's actually closer to about 1300 sites around the world. We're in about 25 different countries and we're running the gamut from traditional publishers, digital publishers, large broadcasters with TV stations, radio stations, and then large enterprises use those to run their storefronts and their marketing sites. So it's a pretty broad market now. And obviously when it comes to commerce, what that means is there's a pretty wide range of use cases that we have to accomplish everything from publishers trying to accept payment for digital entitlements, digital entitlements for non-publishing use cases. And then actual commerce use cases and storefronts that get powered on top of Arc.

Peter Mollins:

Great. Yeah, it's fascinating that it came out of Washington Post because you always find with entrepreneurs or even new ideas, when they come out of an actual experience where the company was living and breathing these challenges and then transfer that over to Arc, it gives you a fantastic head start, doesn't it?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, it does. And I mean, obviously we benefited from having one of the world's largest publishers as kind of the initial use case. And so I think our MVP of what we built was probably a little bit bigger than the MVP for what a lot of other publishers would need. Now, of course, as we went outside the publishing space we were kind of presented with the problem, a new, and maybe it looks more the traditional entrepreneurial challenge. But having said that, I mean we've got some pretty large customers, British Petroleum and London runs on top of us, BP, some large broadcast customers too. So it's a pretty diverse set of users.

Peter Mollins:

Great. So the topic that we're talking about today is around platforms in particular, and I think it might be helpful for some folks out there just to understand really what does that mean? What's the difference between merchants and a platform? How do you yourself see that?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, well, so first even just the term platform, I think it's kind of fashionable for a lot of software and a lot of SAS companies in particular to call themselves a platform. And it becomes one of those words that sort of means nothing, but there is kind of a particular meaning to it. And then it's important for us because for us, when we talk about a platform we have inside of Arc about a dozen or so different tools. Running everything from photo asset management, video publishing to obviously commerce and subscriptions. When we talk about a platform though, we're talking about a layer down from that, and the idea of the platform is that it's basically comprised of things like restful APIs, JavaScript SDK. It's a technology layer. And the main idea there is beyond just the tools that we provide, making it possible for our customers, which again they're pretty diverse. They come with a lot of different use cases. We want to be able to enable them to build on top of that platform experiences that are very particular to their businesses.

So platform to me means it's not just tools, it's actually the ability to kind of... It's a foundation that customers can build on top of. Now of course merchants are some of our customers they're running on top of the platform, they're running storefronts, they're running subscription businesses and they're using our platform, APIs as well as our tools to manage those businesses throughout.

Peter Mollins:

Got it. So your team essentially is selling to these media companies who they themselves are selling on media offers and other kinds of content experiences off to the direct end consumer, I guess if you will.

Matthew Monahan:

That's right. And they're running obviously consumer marketplaces on top of us for subscription businesses. We also have customers that are running B2B B2C marketplaces on top of us. So how they kind of use that platform to build it in some cases they're building not just seller portals and seller experiences, but they're also building their own merchant experiences on top of the platform.

Peter Mollins:

Right. It sounds like for some platforms that we've had a chance to talk to on this series, the focus is on abstracting away some of the flexibility or complexity perhaps they might say. It sounds for Arc it's really about providing that range of options that optionality to the merchant or media company or whomever to build and be flexible, I guess.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, that's right. I think we've always approached it from a product perspective as exactly like you say, kind of a spectrum where if you're, let's say a media customer who's coming to us and you want to run a content site on top of our, and be able to accept payment for a digital subscription you can use our tools to do that. You can set up the pricing, the products, any of the campaigns and offers associated with it. You can configure your payment gateways and the ability to accept payments. And you can actually have the entire front end available out of the box for all of that. So not just the content site, but the entire kind of offering campaign workflow that consumers see, the checkout experience that they see.

The great thing about that is you can benefit from some of the user experience lessons that we've learned not just originally from the Washington Post, but from our many other customers we've done these implementations for. On the other end of the spectrum if you've got a type of business that's really it's kind of wildly different from some of the out of the box options that we offer, then you can kind of customize to your heart's content. And that's when you're utilizing some of those platform APIs to do so.

Peter Mollins:

Right. Yeah. We see that a lot ourselves with Spreedly's own customers too, where you have businesses that have their own unique business models and from a payment perspective they have a unique approach as well. And so flexibility for them is absolutely key. They want to be able to come in and replicate or extend some of their business models online. And we certainly have seen that increasingly in the COVID situation where people are moving their businesses online aggressively. And so now they're looking at their business model, do they have to rethink it, or how do they need to adapt in order to support that business model online? So flexibility ends up being just a critical part of that.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, well, obviously from Arc's perspective we're also a Spreedly user as the platform. And so I think there we benefit from that flexibility, it's possible basically for any of our customers to make use of our platform and in turn be making use of Spreedly’s own own platform. And a lot of the setup and configuration process is managed through the same kind of easy to use interface that they're using to create their offers and accept payments and paywalls and things of that nature just in a really seamless way.

Peter Mollins:

That's great. Well, let shift gears a little bit and talk more about the payment side of things. So when you think about this layer of the platform layer that Arc's providing, how does that affect payments? Or can you maybe just walk through what payments looks in a platform world, since we're now dealing with multiple layers.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah. So a customer of ours if they were operating some sort of marketplace on top of Arc they're setting up obviously a few things. They're setting up the products that they're going to be selling, which could be everything from an e-commerce marketplace with physical goods and inventory and thousands of skews to something much simpler, which might just be a handful of skews for digital entitlements. In other words digital subscriptions to content or video content, whatever the case may be.

They've got their products, they set up offers and campaigns inside the tools as well. And so they'll say, okay I want to offer these products at these prices to this audience, and they can segment the audience up and decide exactly how they want to present that offer. You could depend on a lot of different situational things where the audience is coming from, what country they reside in, what kind of browser they're using, what path through the site to navigate, but eventually they get to that offer in that campaign.

And then of course, if they convert they're going to go through a checkout flow. And so from our perspective we want to make it possible for our customers to one, create the exact experience they want for converting those users, checking out and then retaining those subscribers. And then two, our customers need to be able to accept payment in a really frictionless easy way across all the regions where we operate, which is nearly around the entire world.

So when you're setting these things up, you're setting up products, you're setting up campaigns, and then you're also setting up some of the configuration for that checkout experience. And what that means in practice is you can set up a number of different payment gateways through our tool. And obviously one of the great things that Spreedly provides is we don't have to do the work to integrate against all these different gateways individually. Instead the customer can come to us and say, well, here's the gateway that I already work with. I have an account with them. I have a merchant account. And here's the details for that account. Here's my API key with them. And they can actually configure it directly through our tools.

And so that's kind of what that process looks like for them. Now, of course, with Spreedly, we're able to take advantage of a lot of great things like dynamic routing, and we can sort of cascade some of the payment flows. So customers who come to us with multiple different payment gateways or who operate across many different countries, which is a number of our customers it can be handled pretty seamlessly. So that platform aspect of it is basically it's not as if we just work with one gateway or just accepting payments for one merchant. We have to think about thousands of merchants, all accepting payment, wherever they may reside for whatever kind of goods that they're selling.

Peter Mollins:

Right. And when dealing with a thousand different merchants that each of them is going to have their own mix as you were saying. They might have a different one because they're in a different geography or they might have a different set of multiple gateways that they're working with. So again, I guess it comes back again to that notion of flexibility or for yourself or for Arc. That's so important.

Matthew Monahan:

It does. Yeah. I mean, it's funny because even customers with relatively simple use cases, they might have still a variety of different consumers coming to buy from them as a merchant. In other words consumers using different types of cards with different card levels, different bins, all the different kind of aspects that can impact success rate. And then if you're just a little bit more diverse than that, if you've got some of our customers, for instance, operate all across Latin America, where the payment scene is very complex and gateway is frequently experienced downtime, or you have connectivity issues. And so being sophisticated in switching off between those gateways actually becomes kind of a must for doing business there. And so very quickly it makes sense to these customers to be able to kind of be sophisticated about how they accept payment and try to optimize their success rate.

Peter Mollins:

Yeah. That's real interesting as essentially it's a value add that you're giving to your customers. It's not just, don't worry, bring your own payment services and we've got you covered, but rather it's also the ability to then avoid downtime, improves success rates. So essentially you're adding, you're not only making the onboarding of that merchants simpler, but you're also making their ongoing payments experience a lot better.

Matthew Monahan:

That's right. Yeah. And it also makes obviously our own implementation easier so we can roll out those value adding features to our customer. If we want to implement 3D Secure, or if we want to implement account updating for customers, we're not having to do it on a gateway by gateway basis. At least not for most of those things, we're able to leverage free zone platform API is to do it and deliver those features uniformly to any of our customers that are operating on the platform, at least with supporting PSPs and gateways.

Peter Mollins:

That's great. So since you're dealing with 1300 different merchants that are out there in your portfolio. I mentioned you pick up a lot of best practices in terms of payments checkout experience to deliver a great customer experience. While you want to have flexibility often you might have a merchant that perhaps doesn't know what would be a great customer experience or how to tune for that. Do you find that as a platform that you end up bringing that another sort of value add, I guess that you bring is that almost consulted notion of coming to merchants and being able to say here's some best practices for a great checkout experience or a great payments experience.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, that happens in a few different ways. I mean, one is within the product itself, we obviously do have what we call Arc Themes. And those are sort of completed bits of user experience that you can piece together. And they're obviously we build those based on our own kind of experiences and best practices across all of our customers. We've got a great professional services team that knows how to do these implementations and has a ton of experience in different industries doing it. And then we have a pretty good customer network too. So we find that they actually talk to each other pretty frequently and give each other advice based on what they've seen. And we try to facilitate that as much as we can, we do a good customer conference every year, that sort of thing.

But yeah, I mean, the challenge of getting especially the user experience, right, is a tricky one and it's sort of there's a number of almost sort of platitudes or cliches it should be a frictionless checkout experience to actually do that pretty tough. I mean, you should have some really great design people on staff who kind of know good user experience principles and are prepared to apply them. It's everything from literally checking out to what happens if account updater is not working and the person needs to enter details again, how can you prompt them to update their payment method? There's a bunch of pretty complex workflows to think through there. And it does take some hard work. So hopefully you can use some of the stuff we have available out of the box, but if not we do have some good advice that we can apply.

Peter Mollins:

That's great. One of the best practices that I think people are starting to get, particularly media companies are starting to get in line with is around mobile. So mobile community completely different experience, but from a payments perspective, how do you see Arc supporting merchants in the mobile world considering that there's so many subscriptions that you're dealing with? Is there any nuance there from a mobile perspective?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, there is. I mean so obviously the kind of buzzwords there. Apple Pay and Google Pay and some like PayPal for instance. To me the biggest advantage that you have on mobile from my perspective is the integration with biometric authentication hardware, right? In other words, you can use face ID, you can use touch ID, the fact that so many people now have, I wish I had penetration rates available to mention here, but the fact that so many consumers have devices that support those technologies now, I think is a huge boon in, and you've experienced it yourself probably as a consumer, right? When you go to buy something and you get that feeling for a moment or maybe days you're doing more takeout food ordering from home and you have that experience when you're going through. And all of a sudden you're, "Oh great. I don't have to type out my credit card number. I can just double-click on the side and do face ID and it's done." I think that's amazing. I'm sure the numbers are there to back it up in terms of success rate and conversion.

Peter Mollins:

Right. Okay. Terrific. So let's go back to one of the things that you mentioned earlier about the idea of cards being stored and what to do with them, because after all capturing the payment method is just part of it, you're dealing with media companies and others that have big subscription businesses, right. So the importance of having up to date payment methods on file. So what strategies do you recommend there from a payments perspective to keep cards up to date?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, so I think there's both relevant technologies these days, and then there's some user experience tricks that you can do. I think where we are now, just from a technology stack perspective is just amazing compared to five years ago.

So there I'm thinking of between account updater which obviously for folks who aren't familiar, one of the biggest things that can happen success rate for a recurring subscription business model is the user enters their credit card. At some point, their credit card gets stolen, or some sort of fraud occurs, the consumer or the issuer realizes and issues new credit card with the new credit card number in a new pin. And no one thinks to go back to all of these accounts and update them. And so the worst thing that you can have in a subscription business model is you have a consumer that's sort of ready to turn out and part of what's holding them in is the friction of kind of changing and going in there and updating their account.

And so if you can make it so that that can update automatically, you can sort of avoid that problem. And that's exactly what account updater tries to accomplish is basically a new payment gets issued, it updates automatically. The consumer never has to go in and do it again. Network tokens, I think is kind of a related piece of technology. And that's actually something we're doing on our own roadmap right now, obviously utilizing some of the APIs from Spreedly. And that basically just makes it so that instead of having this disconnect between your PCI token and the actual account number, you can have a single token that flows through the entire chain from the merchant all the way back to the bank and the issuer. I think the bottom line there without getting into all those details is that it's a really good time now, there's a lot of different tools that merchants can reach for to make sure that account numbers were always being updated and that your subscribers constantly have a payment method that's up to date.

From a platform perspective between us and then obviously with Spreedly, we're making sure that this stuff is super seamless for our merchants to use, right. They don't have to go through and implement this technology stack themselves. They basically can just flip it on inside the user interface of our tools.

So that's kind of one part, now the other part is eventually sometimes you do need to update a payment method. And so there, I think it probably falls into the first category where we do some advising and consultation with our merchant customers. Trying to help them understand, okay, what's the best way to alert customers when their payment method is expired and how can we do it proactively so that before subscription lapses the consumer can go back there and update it. If it lapses you're much more likely to lose them due to churn.

Peter Mollins:

That's sort of interesting question on the communication side of things, because being a platform you're going to be the ones that first identify that there's... Or I assume you're going to be the ones that first identify that that card is expired, or there's something wrong with that card. But then it's the merchant that has the direct relationship with that end consumer. What do you recommend there from a communication perspective? How should platforms, should it just be either community getting to the merchant, the merchant communicates on, or is that just built into your platform that I did communicate it out?

Matthew Monahan:

It's both. I think it goes back to that idea of we have completed bits of user experience where we've implemented some of these best practices already. The payment method is expired. We can use our event notification interface to say, okay, let's pop an alert for the user at the appropriate time next time they visit the site or through email to let them know that something is happening.

If you want to make use of that as one of our customers, that's great. If you don't, if you want to customize that experience a little bit, you can go a level deeper on the platform and say just gives me direct access to your event notification system. Let me know, whenever you get an event from the gateway or from the gateway aggregator to say, hey, this payment method is no longer effective. And then they can go and issue that notification however they want. To give you an example from some of our customers, maybe they have a native mobile app that doesn't run on top of Arc, that they manage themselves. They can use the notification that we send and then figure out exactly how they want to prompt the user for an update.

Peter Mollins:

Okay, terrific. You mentioned a network tokens and the importance of using them from keeping the hygiene of the store cards. I've also heard a lot about some of the fraud benefits and some of the success rate benefits there. Is that also an area that you think is important for platforms to look at? Is this how number tokens affect those?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, that's true overall, as far as fraud prevention goes between network tokens and then more recently we did a lot of work on 3D Secure. Fraud prevention is pretty important. I think the more that we kind of extend ourselves and promise to our customers that we'll basically take care of most of that work for them, so they can just focus on building their storefront. The more we have to make sure that we're making that true. Right. And keeping up on the latest specifications that the industry is putting out obviously one thing I've always appreciated about Spreedly is they do a great job of kind of publishing the latest industry news and keeping people abreast and then make sure their own platform is ready to support it. Yeah, I mean that probably occupies, I would guess a good 20% of our roadmap on the billing side. Kind of keeping abreast of the latest fraud detection technology.

Peter Mollins:

Okay, great. I just want to come back to something that you mentioned earlier. There were two things I just want to dive into a little bit more one was around the international side of things. And so the fact that Arc is around the world, is that a process where you look for new gateways when you bring on a new customer, or is it more that you're thinking about going into a new market and addressing a new market and you want to sort of make sure the infrastructure is there for you so that you're set?

Matthew Monahan:

It's a little bit of both. As we enter new markets, we can sort of afford to be pretty deliberate about major gateways and PSPs that we have to work with in those markets. At the same time, at this point we're long past being surprised when we've already been in the market for some time. And we discovered some new gateway partners that we've never worked with before. And there's some really, I mean, there's stuff that frankly it's just ignorance on my part. And sometimes some of the team where maybe you haven't worked in a market for that long, you don't understand sort of the local culture and some of the patterns around payments and how people accept them there. To give you an example we're not very used to in the United States gateways that interact finally with a cash payment, but in parts of Latin America, that's really popular where basically there's almost like a physical layer to tokenization where there's cash payment being accepted somewhere, token being exchanged, that gets manually input by the payer. And then that kind of closes the whole loop. And that's sort of part of that payment ecosystem.

So bit by bit, those are things that we've kind of learned the hard way and then implemented within the platform. And the good thing I think about that is a lot of our customers operate across international borders. They're not just operating in one country. So you might be for instance a merchant who's operating out of Spain, but accessing all of Latin America. Those are good lessons for you to know about too, but then you want to be able to take advantage of those integrations without having to go through all the hard work that we did.

Peter Mollins:

That's right. And interesting, because I had a conversation on a previous fireside chat with the co-founder of Rappi, which is a delivery platform in Latin America. And they were talking about the importance of being able to experiment also with these gateways. And so they may go into a new markets and decide, well, there is a new provider or provider we haven't worked with before, let's put 10% in traffic towards them and see that generates different results or interesting results. So just sort of another example where you're not surprised when there's a new service and this is an idea when there is that new one coming in to take advantage of that and see what kind of benefits you can get out of it as a platform.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah. It's like success rate optimization takes on sort of a different meeting in different markets. I think in the United States, it's people tend to think of it kind of traditionally where, okay, what's the percent likelihood that my gateway is going to go down and then what am I going to fall back to after that? Where I think in other markets it's much more dynamic than that. It's going to depend on the gateways themselves. It's also going to depend on network conditions, your ISP. And so they're switching off between gateways and being able to experiment is pretty much constant and it also won't be consistent day-to-day.

So it's made it a lot easier for us freebies APIs to be able to do that thing. Hopefully we can build out inside of our platform and then our customers just don't have to think about it. They have to basically choose which gateways they want to work with, set up the appropriate business relationships and let us handle the technology stack.

Peter Mollins:

Right. Now, is it similar for you when it comes to fraud? So when you're thinking about gateways and the multiplicity of gateways, how do you think about managing for fraud with so many different merchants on the platform?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah. It's a little bit tough. I guess what I should say is it's different than if we had one chosen PSP that we were going to work with and you have a group of merchants that they've flipped together. I mean, for us, each merchant still is their own account. We don't have a single Arc merchant account that we shove them into. So I think we avoid the worst of those types of issues. To me, it has a lot more to do with just making sure that we're keeping pace with the latest industry technology so that our merchants can make use of them. Because we have so much of that technology stack sort of captured within the technology platform that we're providing, it also means that our customers often are dependent on us to make sure these implementation details are taken care of.

And so like I said, 3D Secure was probably the latest thing that we spend a decent amount of time making sure it was implemented properly. And that could just be flipped on inside the platform, took a little bit of work from our team. There may be some customers that it wouldn't have been as important for depending on the type of card that they were accepting. But now it's something that all of our customers can make use of.

Peter Mollins:

Right. I'm curious about how you solicit insight or maybe product direction or product feedback from merchants with 1300 folks out there and you've got it must be very different for a platform or for a merchant. How do you get that?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah. Well, I mean, solicit isn't usually the problem. Typically the problem is prioritize and try to understand what work we can do on the roadmap that's going to be most impactful for the most amount of merchants. It's pretty similar, frankly to the roadmaps that we have to manage for kind of the non-commerce parts of our business, for content, for experiences. We've got a number of customers many of them operate some of the largest businesses that they're tight in their region. They have a ton of opinions, usually very good ones about what they want to do on top of the platform. And most SAS providers were in the position of trying to figure out, okay there's only so many time in each day, only so many people to work on this. How can we make decisions that the best impact for the most amount of our customers?

Peter Mollins:

Great. Now, as you're working through this and imagine it across interesting because when we talk about the idea of soliciting input, also thinking about things that you're just measuring all the time and you've got instrumentation behind there. When I think of instrumentation, I'm thinking about the kinds of payments data that you're collecting. For you when you think about payments data, what's important to you? What do you try to measure KPIs on or as a platform?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, so, I mean, there's both what we try to measure as a platform, and then there's also what we try to expose to our customers and let them work off. As a platform what I'd say is if we were implementing all these gateways individually, there's probably a lot more data that we'd have to be looking at on a frequent basis. Then we'd be looking at success rate by gateway, by payment type, we can start to get into the details of the types of cards that we're accepting. Obviously we're pretty thankful that in choosing Spreedly as a partner between kind of cascading payments and in dynamic routing we've been able to avoid the worst of that. I mean, we still do gather those details, but the fact of the matter is most of that is happening in real time automatically.

Sometimes we take that information about various gateways and do share it back with our clients. So we have that information and sometimes they're asking, hey, we're about to start a business relationship with this gateway. What do you think of them? And we can show them real metrics based on existing customer experience, but a lot of that has been dynamically routed in real-time based on the availability that gateway or how likely it is to accept or decline a payment.

Now, for our merchants, they're looking at pretty traditional stuff, success rate, average order size and volume. They want to know basically how many transactions are we processing? How many per day, how many per hour, what time of day is most effective in getting people to convert. A lot of that data we're feeding back directly to their own data, warehouses, and analytics stack as part of our platform.

And then obviously they're taking that and then they're starting to think through, okay, on the user experience side, what can I do to optimize those KPIs? And it might be that they're running different offers at different times of day or different offers during the middle of the week or on weekends, on different platforms. So that's what we try to share back to them and hopefully keep them focused on the stuff that's going to be driving their user experience decisions. And they don't have to focus as much on just getting the payment gateways and the payment methodology set up.

Peter Mollins:

Right. Okay, great. So last question is more looking towards the future, I guess. When you're thinking about platforms as we're moving ahead, what do you see as some of the challenges or maybe opportunities for platform, where's your crystal ball pointing to, I guess, for the near future?

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah. Well, so again, I think mobile payments are probably, if look at the roadmap for next year, there's a lot of different, I suppose features coming across the industry that we could take advantage of an investor. And I think mobile payments is where right now, if we get to choose between leaving aside maybe the roadmap for some of the fraud detection stuff, otherwise we're really trying to focus on making possible for our merchants to take advantage of the latest and greatest when it comes to mobile checkout.

I see that as the greatest area of opportunity, going back to that point about how do we optimize for the most money use cases across all of our customers. Whether you're a publisher trying to run a digital entitlement business, whether you're a commerce provider, what's for certain is people are going to be trying to do it on a mobile device. And if you can integrate directly with some of the payment methods that use, for instance, biometric authentication, you can increase success rate by a significant amount more than with many other technologies. So that's a lot of what 2021 looks like for us.

Peter Mollins:

Okay. Terrific. Well, I'm going to wrap it up now, but if there's any last questions that anyone would like to ask, feel free to drop them into that Q&A we'll make sure we get them over to Matt before we wrap up. Great attendance today. So really excited to have folks on here. As I mentioned at the beginning, this is an ongoing series. And so we're going to be having next one coming up next month. And we're going to be looking at international payments and the Netflix and level we'll be presenting. So another exciting one coming up as well and want to make sure also that AskPFN is a community. And like I mentioned, about 2,500 people that are involved in that community. So make sure that you invite your friends, colleagues that are interested in payments.

We have a very lively Slack community, a lot of great information coming out and a lot of great webinars like this. And like I said, it's a community. So if you would to participate and be one of the panelists or be interviewed or give a talk, we're very open to that. So just feel free in the Slack to make sure that you drop a note.

All right. So it looks like no further questions, but Matt it's been a true pleasure. I really enjoyed getting to hear about Arc and how platforms in general work with payments. So really appreciate your time.

Matthew Monahan:

Yeah, same here. Thank you so much Peter.

Peter Mollins:

Terrific. And thanks everyone.

Matthew Monahan:

Thanks.