By Adam King, CEO, SwipeStation
Contactless payments have come a long way in the past few years. Taking precedence is mobile ordering, a completely contactless, cashless experience. For large venues, the current system for taking money is inefficient, counter-intuitive and expensive. Most venues are at one of the following stages in their ‘till journey’:
- Tills from the middle ages that can only take cash: In a post-pandemic world these are no longer an option.
- Tills with card readers: All they do is take payment, so there’s no way to track stock or sales data – which is vital in a venue with multiple kiosks.
- EPOS with integrated card readers: Designed to be used every day by well trained staff in relatively calm environments, retrofit these systems into a hospitality environment and they actually prove to be the slowest, least efficient and certainly the most expensive option. They are far too complex for casual staff to understand, so servers must arrive early for extra training – adding yet more expense. Even with training, casual staffers are not able to process orders quickly and frequently make mistakes – slowing service down. Even the most technologically advanced venues with the snazziest till systems still have long queues and irate customers. They just don’t talk about it…
Avoiding costly upgrades with a brand new solution
Whether it’s upgrading existing systems or starting from scratch, venues are faced with the depressing choice of software and hardware packages that are extremely expensive.
At a time when they are recovering from a long period of low or non-existent revenue, how do venues sign off on such a technology upgrade? Even if they could afford it, why compromise with a system that wasn’t designed for casual servers or the mad rush to the bar – let alone both at the same time!
Or is there a way to bring an up-to-date ordering experience to the customer without the massive capex expenditure of new card readers, EPOS systems or touch screens?
The solution is within easy reach. Rather than pay for expensive hardware and software, why not utilise the computers that we all carry in our pockets?
The global shift towards mobile ordering
It is forecast that 1.31 billion people will use a mobile ordering app worldwide by 2023. There is no doubt the pandemic has dramatically advanced attitudes towards mobile ordering by a few years in just a few months. People are now using their phones to order just about anything – especially food and drinks. A combination of digitally-savvy consumers, health and safety concerns, and multiple cost benefits has expedited this progress across the hospitality and retail sectors – which can only be a good thing. Even the 13% of the population who don’t use a smart phone are probably attending a match with someone who does. If not, it’s still possible to service them using special assistants.
For those venues still operating tills (or who are facing a costly EPOS renewal), this seismic shift in consumer behaviour is a blessing and should be viewed as an opportunity to skip EPOS completely and jump straight to a cheaper, more efficient payment method. This is an example of a ‘Leapfrog technology’ – where you skip the present and head straight for the future – like forgoing fossil fuels and power lines and jumping straight to renewable energy.
How making a mobile order can increase sales
Hospitality venues need to realise there are more benefits to be gained from forgoing a till upgrade than just the cost of the kit. By removing deliberation, ordering and payment from the service area, efficiency in the kiosk goes through the roof, with servers in click and collect fast lanes able to serve up to three customers a minute – eliminating queues and increasing sales. At the Coventry Building Society Arena, (formerly the Ricoh Arena), for example, mobile ordering Fast Lanes outperformed their neighbouring tills by 24.5%.
Making the jump and breaking the mold is no doubt a daunting prospect, yet becoming a market leader (and experiencing the revenue increase) is guaranteed to be worth the plunge.
What is your next contactless step?
If you are representing a hospitality venue which is looking to integrate contactless and cashless point of sales and payment systems, it’s worth looking into mobile solutions. Even if your phone connectivity is terrible, there are options out there designed for orders to be placed even in airplane mode.
The benefits aren’t just operational and financial. The data generated by mobile ordering is far superior to anything tills can offer – since all purchases refer back to an individual email address. For the first time, operators are able to learn the annual value of a sports fan – as well as send them targeted offers both on and off a match day. Integrating mobile payment services into fan apps only serves to enhance the cashless evolution, transferring away from outdated tills and into a user-friendly, end-to-end spectator experience with just a mobile device in the hands of customers.
Going cashless will just not suffice anymore. Large venues need to offer their customers the best experience possible, especially at this crucial time. Avoiding service areas, implementing in-seat delivery and click & collect options are all methods to keep customers safe, happy and hydrated.
Expectations have drastically evolved and consumers will demand that their venue experiences reflect what they’ve come to know and love in pubs, restaurants and coffee shops – where mobile ordering is optional (if not compulsory) and queues are a thing of the past.