A case for payments orchestration – Interview with 14 West

Tuesday 15 February 2022 08:59 CET | Editor: Andra Constantinovici | Interview

Nicole Deludos, Sr. Manager, Global Payments at 14 West and Elliott Langston, Product Owner for Paygate, alongside Spreedly specialists, dive deep into the advantages of employing payments orchestration and how it can be successfully used to boost your payments strategy

Can you give us an overview of 14 West and what does your organisation help customers address?

At the very basic level, 14 West is an administrative service provider for a number of media and publishing companies. We allow our clients to focus on their businesses – copywriting, editorial, research, marketing etc. And it’s our job to handle everything on the backend – accounting, IT, HR, legal services etc.

While we do provide all those administrative services, we don’t particularly like the word ‘administrative’ because we’re also partners and consultants, and we’re constantly forward looking. We aim to anticipate the needs of our clients before they know they want or need them. They look to us to be the industry experts when it comes to the services we provide, so we’re always searching for new and improved ways to help them do their work as efficiently, quickly, cost effective, and compliant as possible.

What are some of the unique payments considerations your team manages within your organisation?

Let me give you a few examples of opportunities we are addressing. We’re in charge of implementing the account updater function. We can now bring in all of our payment providers and use that account data for all of our different processors. We’re really excited to start using Spreedly’s world-wide feature for that, because we can now  update our card data, and receive new expiration dates for card numbers, and closed cards, thus ensuring we always have the most updated card information for our customers. 

In addition, we’re going to start our conversations with Spreedly around network tokens. Currently, we do use tokens, which keep us out of the PCI scope, but we are really excited to be able to be  forward thinking about the network piece that Payments Orchestration can help us address. We also handle the PSD2 and SCA mandates, and we can use our payment orchestration layer to help us with meet those compliance needs. 

Our team handles our chargebacks and fraud mitigation, using outside tools for those pieces, but we are also hoping to incorporate the Spreedly reporting to report back on different pieces. Whereas our team handles those through automation or through physically handling chargeback by chargeback per provider, as each processor has a different process, leading us to have a different code per processor. 

Using payments orchestration has brought forward-thinking to our team. For example, routing allows us to start doing payment optimization, which has been on our road map for years. Currently, as  a world-wide company, we have processors all around the globe that support our different clients. But we can have it all in one interface, which ties it all to one reporting tool as well. We are using reporting from 6-7 different processors, trying to tie up in our backing systems, and of course, that’s never easy. 

Can you elaborate a bit more on how payments orchestration plays into the payments strategy at 14 West?

Some of our clients want to use the newest, fastest, trendiest things that we can possibly have and others prefer to go the old school route, and do their stuff by direct mail; which means we need to make sure that we can still do the things that we have been doing and that we do them well. As we were doing the transition to Spreedly from one of their competitors, we needed to make sure we were still capturing the use cases of our clients: they are doing the things that went well and we didn’t want to change that for them. We also needed to make sure that we use the technology that Spreedly has, as well as things like network tokenization and smart routing, to make sure that we are choosing the best processors to integrate with. 

When we first started this project with Spreedly, we had a lot of opportunity and we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, we had a only a rough idea of what the end picture will look like. At that point, for us, the orchestration piece is what PayGate does: we gathered all the data from our customers and made sure that we can process that payment in the best way possible for them, as well as for us. 

Can you give us some examples of challenges that you faced and where your payments strategy accompanied by Spreedly’s help came into play?

We support a diverse range of clients world-wide and each one has very different priorities. We therefore had to decide where our strategy for payments was going. As some clients want digital wallets and others need direct wallets or visual wallets to serve their customers in different countries, our biggest struggle was making sure that all the teams are aligned with our goals, with the ecommerce and the CRM systems. As we add in more payments orchestration functionality, we questioned ourselves: ‘Is there something that is missing that we need to add to our payments stack, what are we not seeing in our payments ecosystem?’; 'Are there other merchants like us doing something different that we should re-prioritise?’ .

The biggest trouble was making sure we were all aligned, but we’re finally at a place where we know forward thinking and we’re going to be exactly at the place where we need to be with payments. 

Is there any specific way in which the last 2 years has influenced the strategy when it comes to your clients’ behaviour, your clients’ strategies?

I think in the last 2 years with everyone being home, everyone expects their shipping order to be incredibly fast: they expect tracking, they expect order confirmation emails, they expect post-charges done right etc. So we need to align to make sure that all our emails to our customers and communication pieces align directly in regards to  how our payments work. That way, if an order for some reason failed the customers have full transparency  –  knowing that something is  going wrong with their order, knowing how to access it, and how to get a hold of our customer service team. 

We place a lot of orders with other merchants, and when we do,  we’re  watching their behaviour – how I’m placing an order, how the company has treated me as a customer – gaining an understanding of what other merchants might be doing better or worse than us, and adapting our tactics accordingly.  We all know that the Internet has been our future; that’s where orders will be coming from. And our goal is to make our ecommerce very seamless. 

In the last 2 years, we all worked on redeveloping our ecommerce on our websites, how we take orders, our frames, all these pieces with Spreedly, focusing on making sure that our consumer is our priority.

About 14 West

14 West is a business services firm that exists to help protect, guide, and grow businesses and the people behind them. Their services range from human resources and talent to facilities and maintenance to financial strategy and support -  from business intelligence to systems literacy; from legal counsel to communications – and just about anywhere in between.

About Spreedly

We orchestrate payments for the world’s most innovative businesses. Global enterprises and hyper-growth companies grow their digital business faster by relying on our payments platform. Hundreds of customers worldwide secure card data in our PCI-compliant vault and use tokenized card data to enable and optimize nearly USD 20 billion of annual transaction volumes with any payment service.

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: Spreedly, payments orchestration, payment processing, payment processor, chargebacks, tokenization
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: United States
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce