W3C Launches Initiative to Improve the Web for Merchants

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Business forum will address challenges for customer experiences and business needs using Web technologies

https://www.w3.org/ — 21 October 2020 — W3C today launched the Merchant Business Group, an open forum to address challenges for customer experiences and business needs using Web technologies. Merchants, integrators, platform providers, and others will discuss how emerging Web technologies could help address customer experience challenges, and what additional Web capabilities may be necessary. The Merchant BG offers participants an opportunity to learn directly from the organizations building Web experiences about how Web standards trends can affect (and improve) e-commerce.

Worldpay from FIS, Fiserv, Coles Supermarket Group and Connexus are the first organizations to join the new group.

Strengthening the Merchant Voice within W3C

Today a number of merchants, integrators, associations participate in the Web Payments Working Group (WPWG) and other W3C groups.

We want merchants to have a greater voice within W3C to ensure the Web meets their needs. Merchants have told us that they want to be part of the conversation about e-commerce, but with more focus on the challenges that businesses face. In the Merchant BG, we'll be looking at their use cases and the problems they face when selling online.

Nick Telford-Reed, staff contact for the Merchant BG and co-Chair of the WPWG

I’m delighted to be co-chairing the W3C’s Merchant Business Group. The Group’s worthy mission is to improve the Web for both business-to-business (B2B) merchants and business-to-consumer (B2C) merchants. I’m particularly interested in the discussions about emerging tech and the increasing demand of online shopping due to COVID. Currently living in Melbourne, where we have stage 4 lock-down restrictions in place limiting our in-store shopping, means we have to rely very heavily on buying everything online, so this is particularly important and topical. Exploring topics like web checkout, accessible immersive web experiences and improving mobile web commerce experiences will yield some fantastic outcomes.

Melanie O'Brien, Coles Group

The voice of the merchant community is instrumental in shaping the future of our industry. As a global leader in payments technology, FIS is very invested in being an advocate for our merchant clients. We’re delighted to be helping create smarter e-commerce experiences for consumers globally and ensuring that the needs of retailers from around the world are represented at W3C.

John O'Brien, Fellow co-chair from FIS Global

By design, the group will begin work with broad scope of discussion. Over time the group will prioritize from these and other topics:

  • Web checkout experiences, including the value merchants should gain with W3C's Web payments standards;
  • Balancing the needs of accessibility, internationalization, privacy, authentication and user friction in e-commerce;
  • Emerging regulatory requirements and ensuring good customer experience;
  • The evolution of Web advertising;
  • Good practices for reducing online fraud;
  • Enhancements to transaction integrity and assurance;
  • Customer interaction, capture and retention via accessible immersive Web experiences.
  • Improving mobile web commerce experiences.

Scope of Activity

The Merchant Business Group charter describes the group's activities, including:

  • Education about Web technology trends and the impact on merchants, including through discussions with other W3C groups. These activities will include non-technical briefings.
  • Identification of current merchant challenges, best practices for addressing them, and how those practices may change for various reasons (e.g., due to evolving privacy practices).
  • Communication of merchant use cases and requirements to groups within and outside W3C.
  • Coordinating reviews of the work of other W3C groups (e.g., the Web Payments Working Group, Web Authentication Working Group or Immersive Web Working Group).

Join the Merchant Business Group

Although the Merchant Business Group is focused on merchant needs, merchants and non-merchants alike —from around the globe— are invited to join.

A W3C Business Group gives innovators wanting to have an impact on the development of the Web in the near-term, a vendor-neutral forum for collaborating with like-minded stakeholders, including W3C Members and non-Members (who can participate in the Business Group without full W3C Membership).

For more information, including joining, please see the Merchant Business Group homepage.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on ensuring that all foundational Web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security, and privacy. W3C also provides the standards that undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses leveraging the Web, in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the groundbreaking W3C Patent Policy. For its work to make online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, W3C received a 2016 Emmy Award. And for its work to standardize a Full TV Experience on the Web, W3C received a 2019 Emmy Award.

W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.

End Press Release

Media Contact

Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <w3t-pr@w3.org>
+1.617.253.5628 (US, Eastern Time)

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