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Cashing In on Contactless Sporting Events

There are many benefits to adopting a cashless payment system that enables spectators to use RFID cards to pay for food, beverages and other items. Here's what you need to know.
By Steve Beecroft
The club could manage this type of scheme directly, or it could appoint a specialist organization to manage it while the club retains overall control. If, however, the club outsources the entire cashless process to a third party, then almost all of the financial benefits disappear, along with the direct relationship with the supporter. Although outsourcing the whole cashless process does fit with a business case built around streamlining operations to just core functions, the club gives up control over the scheme's operation and rules to the third-party supplier. What's more, depending on the contract terms, the sharing of transactional data may also be less than ideal. Transactional data is extremely important for providing the club with the ability to dynamically create personalized promotions and offers to its supporters via customer relationship management (CRM). If data is not available on demand, then selling those surplus XXXL team shirts will be more of a blunderbuss, rather than sniper, approach.

On the face of it, giving away so much control to a third party may not seem to be the best approach. In reality, however, what is best depends on the club's requirements. If the club's view is that it is in the business of playing football, and that the operational cost of a cashless solution within its stadium is a necessary evil, then outsourcing the complete scheme is exactly the right thing to do. However, if its aim is to be able to efficiently manage and nurture the relationship with its supporters, while generating additional income from intelligent but uncomplicated use of the transactional data, then outsourcing the entire cashless scheme would be madness.

The decision to go cashless either completely, or in just one section of a stadium, is not an easy one to make, and must be done only after properly analyzing the club's overall objectives and other considerations, such as contractual arrangements with caterers and other suppliers. Then, and only then, can an informed decision be made for a best-fitting solution, and for how it should be implemented to ensure that the highest rate of customer delight and take-up is achieved.

Cashless Stadia—What Are the Benefits?
Regardless of whether the club chooses to retain control of its cashless scheme, or to outsource it to a third party, what cannot be disputed are the common benefits.

No cash handling. There will be no cash transactions within the stadium on match days, no cashing up and no more security-van collections.

Faster throughput. Because a cashless transaction can be up to 60 percent faster than cash and three times faster than credit and debit transactions, the queues at the catering kiosks move much more quickly.

Improved hygiene. The catering staff will not be handling cash—just food—thereby not only removing any related hygiene issues, but also enabling fewer employees to deliver a faster, more efficient service.

More flexible pricing. There is no reason to keep prices to the nearest dollar or pound, so this enables an item's price to be increased by a small amount to improve revenue, or decreased slightly to boost demand.

Improved data. The transaction data via the point-of-sale (POS) terminals can tell who bought what, when and where. Such information can be utilized in personalized promotions when processed through a customer relationship management (CRM) software application.

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