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Ingenico Invests in Omni-Channel with Acquisition of Think&Go NFC

Once primarily known for POS hardware, Ingenico Group greatly increased their eCommerce payment services with the late 2014 acquisition of GlobalCollect, and will now increase their omni-channel service offerings following the acquisition of Think&Go NFC, a French company that owns technology and patents for digital display screens leveraging NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to support payments, coupons and other commerce and marketing features.

On April 11, Ingenico Group announced the acquisition of connected screens provider Think&Go NFC for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 2010, the France-based company focuses on interactive display screens that consumers, and their devices, can interact with. Whether it’s to download a coupon, join a loyalty or rewards program or even make a purchase, the connected display screen works as a marketing tool with video display, but also has multiple points where the consumer can interact with the screen and respond to a call to action via Near Field Communication (NFC) or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons.

Michel Léger, Ingenico’s EVP of Innovation, said this acquisition will give the company “greater opportunity for expansion in the field of connected objects,” further elaborating that the move will help Ingenico execute their strategic plan through 2020, which looks to “strengthen Ingenico Group’s leadership in omni-channel payment acceptance.”

Think&Go NFC have won over 15 payment innovation awards, hold two patents and have 150 display screens commercially deployed. They report that 13 percent of all coupons downloaded via their connected display screens translate to using that coupon with the retailer. The technology primarily relies on NFC, which consumers can interact with using their mobile devices, and many in Europe (where the screens are primarily located) also have NFC contactless cards which can be used directly for making purchases. Including the BLE technology, although not widely used today, is critical for the future (think iBeacons). Vincent Berge, CEO and Founder of Think&Go NFC, said the “screens are designed to keep pace with market trends.” Berge will continue to manage the technology once it is integrated with Ingenico.

Think&Go NFC’s display screens are large, intended for high traffic areas in train or subway stations, shopping malls or even in a retail store. The technology provides merchants new sales opportunities to reach consumers before they even step foot in their store, which can drive sales through convenience and impulse buys. These features are an added value for consumers, who are able to purchase immediately and later pick up in-store, or save a coupon now for later use. Merchants can also encourage up-sales and offer last chance coupons to try converting a sale before the consumer leaves the store (i.e. a display screen by the exit with coupon good for today only).

While Ingenico was probably most known for hardware and services that support payments at the physical point-of-sale, the company has focused acquisitions and investments to grow their services and supports in the Card Not Present channel and is a major player in this space as well. In 2014 the company acquired global eCommerce payment processor GlobalCollect for $1.2 billion, and earlier this year was in talks to purchase WorldPay for possibly as much as $10 billion. After integrating GlobalCollect with their eCommerce services at the beginning of the year , Ingenico is looking to get an early lead in the connected commerce and omni-channel arena with the acquisition of Think&Go NFC and their patents.

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