Day 1 of Money 2020 Europe has officially concluded at the Rai in Amsterdam. It’s a stunning space, perfectly aligned with the theme of the show, Alchemy: money, tech and magic. More than 350 speakers from across the industry will take to six stages sharing wisdom and answering questions on innovation, technology, growth, and disruption. The expansive exhibit and networking hall is reminder that even in the digital era, commerce and business are powered by human interactions.

Main Stage: Small businesses, mobile expansion, and the power of experiences

On the main stage, small businesses were front and centre with speakers offering solutions to address the unique challenges and opportunities associated with this sector. Rhishi Khosla of Oak North Bank shared his founder’s story, how he was inspired to transform lending for small businesses and became the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Multiple speakers discussed the dominance of digital and the relentless expansion of mobile. Attendees learned the importance of delivering experiences that are relevant, personal, and seamless. And that these experiences trump transactions, a key differentiation in our data-driven world. We heard from Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING Bank, about plans for an innovation district in Amsterdam as the city aspires to be the central European location of choice for emerging technology companies.

Attendees were honoured as Ambassador Susan Rice discussed being part of the front line decision-making as the Obama administration dealt with the fallout from the global financial crisis of 2008. Ambassador Rice opened up about the challenge of dealing with uncertainty and the necessity of operating without all the facts. Everyone, whether in government or business, are faced with massive amounts of data, so the real challenge is how to separate the critical from the urgent, and the interesting from the important. There are no easy answers but these insights are powerful tools.

Innovation Stage: Disruption and customer obsession

On the Innovation Catalysis stage Amit Purohit, Head of Go-to-Market for Amazon Pay, challenged a panel of financial services veterans to be customer first. Fielding questions on the imperative responsibility of business to innovate and disrupt. Amit pointed out that Amazon’s history of innovation is a byproduct of our commitment to customer obsession. Amazon's approach to innovation is to start with the customer and work backwards. When asked about KPIs to measure innovation such as monetary return or the number of new products, Amit again returned to the customer – and shared that Amazon measures success in terms of the customer – are we solving a meaningful problem and providing a delightful experience. As a practical matter, since founding more than 20 years ago, Amazon has been using the PR FAQ methodology to encourage everyone, at all levels, to think big and deliver results. 

Industry Stage: The third era of commerce has arrived

Voice commerce is once again a buzz word at Money 2020 and Giulio Montemagno, GM of Europe for Amazon Pay, did not disappoint in his discussion of this emerging medium with Michelle Evans, Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor International. He spoken to the vision of voice as the future of commerce and a belief that it will fundamentally improve the way people interact with technology. Making the complex simple, as the most natural and convenient interface – freeing us from our devices. Consumers are bullish on voice, by the end of 2018 customers had purchased more than 10 million Alexa powered devices which are now able to run 90,000 skills from thousands of developers. In keeping with the theme of the conference, Giulio discussed how Amazon Pay views voice as experiential vs. transactional. The challenge for businesses is not replicating what they do on web or mobile, rather it is to create skills that enhance the customer journey, and delight the customer with convenient, trusted experiences. Here in Europe we’re proud of the skills developed by London Theatre Direct and the British Heart Foundation.

That’s a wrap on day one, now it’s time for the welcome party featuring Taste of Amsterdam. More tomorrow.