The Western Union Company has signed an agreement with British retailer WHSmith to activate its Western Union Money Transfer services via Western Union’s self-service kiosks.
This service will be available in 300 of WHSmith’s high street stores and allows customers to enter their transaction details at the kiosks and pay for their transaction at a self-checkout.
On the motivation behind this move, Massimiliano Alvisini, Regional Vice President (Northern Europe) at Western Union, said: "What we are aiming to do is move into a new class of trade and attract new customers, including mainstream customers, to our service. We see an opportunity as there is much more need now for people to move money cross-border. Western Union is the company in the best position to do that."
He continued: "With WHSmith, we have a great opportunity with our innovative technology. People are precious with time, they don’t want to queue. We have deployed the technology so people can go to a kiosk where they can stage the transaction with all their details. This is key for us as it positions us with one of the best and most popular brands on the high street and we can reach out to most of our mainstream customers.
"A lot of our success here will be driven by customer acquisition so we want to enlarge that. Obviously, this is connected with financial return and number of transactions. The key point here is entering a new class of trade with new technology attracting a new class of customer and making this service more accessible to customers."
One of the reasons for this collaboration is to make Western Union a more omnichannel option, rather than just being retail, branch-based brand. This includes a big push of digital channels.
Alvisini said: "Western Union has a strategy in place to give our customers the opportunity to cross-border any payment. Today, customers want to be able to make cross-border payments without restriction. Western Union wants to be at the forefront of that, in the position that all of these channels are available for the customer so they can choose the best option for them.
"Our digital channels are some of the fastest growing parts of our business. Already, 6% of our company revenue is from digital. We have a strong digital presence in 25 countries already, including the UK, and it is growing in high double digits."