A journey in ProcessOut's flight journal

The Telescope project! Sharing is Caring!

by Gregoire Delpit on

The Telescope project = Build an intelligent payment analyst using machine learning & feed it with millions of transactions.

At ProcessOut we help SaaS & eCommerce improve their payment flow. Whether we talk about payment fees or failed transactions, our objective is to drive those down. To demonstrate how this can be achieved and help online merchants optimise their payment flow we’ve released a free audit & monitoring tool for payments named Telescope. Here is the story behind Telescope.

Telescope was designed and built while we were at Techstars NYC. We were working on our Smart Router for payments (have a look here for more info). As we were looking for feedback we found that lots of companies were not aware that payment could be strongly optimised.

The need for a virtual payment assistant

Online payment is a complex ecosystem with lots of parties implied, complex processes and above all gibberish terms. Integrating and setting up a payment provider is not always a simple play. Payments are a very sensitive subject. Depending of the way you integrate your PSP (payment service provider) and depending of the info you will request from your users more or less payments will fail. It is specially sensitive if you want to handle recurring transactions or accept payment outside of the US or Europe, even with Stripe or Braintree.

For these reasons we felt that it could be great for online merchants to have kind of a payment assistant which could monitor their payment flow, show them how the system performs and provide actionable insights to improve it. Telescope was born.

When AI meets payments

To build it we used part of the tech already built for our smart routing system. The analysis and benchmark system are the same. The difference is that our Smart Routing system then dynamically routes a transaction to the most relevant PSP while Telescope won’t, it just observes. We built a recommendation system on top to help the user interact with the system.

The first version of Telescope was launched on January 2017 and beta tested with 5 users. End of February after a strong reshape of the dashboard we opened it to 15 new users. Telescope is now accessible for free to any online merchants.

3 months later here we are. More than 100 merchants are connected to Telescope and use it on a regular basis to monitor and improve their payment flow. Millions of transactions have been analysed and hundreds of recommendations have been made. here are examples:

“During past week, 1,380 transactions failed in the US on {PSP.NAME} for a total of $74,619. From comparable transactions that were successful, it seems that some information is missing. You should collect the AVS from your users in the US.”

“During the past month, 40% of your transactions failed in India. You struggled to collect $156,991. The performance of your current provider {PSP.NAME} is weak in Brazil and it seems there no technical option to improve it. You should consider to route those transactions to a payment provider with high approval ratio in this area. Wanna chat? Contact us!”

Sharing is caring!

To be accurate it’s important to compare what can be compared and we then have to segment data by geography, typology of the merchant, transaction volume, security checks… The more data we have, the more relevant Telescope is. That’s why we decided from Day 1 that Telescope should be free and accessible to any online merchant. The more companies get connected to Telescope the greater it is.

“ProcessOut Telescope is a great solution when it comes to monitoring online payments. It gives a clear view on your payment flow performance and how it can be improved and optimized.” Frédéric Rivain, CTO

To date Telescope is strong in the US, especially on SaaS and in Europe, specially in UK, Germany and France. It’s improving in Spain and Italy and needs to be trained in Latin America and Asia. To date Telescope is strong for companies with sales between $5m and $75m. It needs to be trained for larger companies.

“Telescope's super easy to set up and to use. I like the fact that it works as a watchkeeper detecting payment defects and making smart recommendations. It's like having a payment expert in house.” Hugo Demorge, Co-Founder

Even though there is quite a road ahead of us, Telescope is improving each day and that really satisfies and motivates us as a team. We are confident on our ability to deliver and to “Do More Faster” we need more users. We need you! If you’re already a Telescope user spread the love. If you’re not yet… well here is the link. Hope you will enjoy the onboarding process (less than 1 min and you’re on the road).

Few weeks ago we collected our first user feedback and we were really happy. It boosts us and we have huge ambition for the product. Hope you’re convinced and want to be part of the adventure. Sharing is Caring! Hasta Luego!