Modern Stadium Point-of-sale Is A Technological Marvel

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Modern stadiums and venues are technological marvels, with many access points and miles of networking cables that are installed into the large and complex footprint of the buildings. Since stadiums and venues cater to tens of thousands of fans and process an even larger volume of food, beverage, and merchandise transactions during one event alone, it is important that they have reliable payment solutions. Operation of these complexes requires rugged point of sale equipment and other commerce engine infrastructure to handle a diverse range of transactions and payment types.

New technologies are enhancing and altering fan experiences at stadiums and venues like never before. Across the U.S., stadiums and venues are spending millions of dollars on bringing convenience, safety, and connectivity to their patrons. Ingenico has come up with six areas where stadiums and venues should look into improving their payment technology.

Protection from Credit Card Fraud

Each time an EMV card is used to pay for something in a venue or stadium, the chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be duplicated, altered, or used again to create counterfeit cards. It is no secret that EMV is safer than traditional magnetic stripe cards. Accepting EMV chip cards will help prevent credit card fraud, which helps operators and owners avoid costly chargebacks from the major card brand companies.

Stadiums and venues are no strangers to credit card fraud due to magnetic stripe card data being compromised. The Madison Square Garden Company issued a press release back in November of 2016 that revealed that customer payment information was jeopardized during a nearly year-long time period at five venues owned by their company, including the location of the quarterfinals and semifinals for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship. Findings from that investigation concluded that there was external unauthorized access to MSG’s payment processing system and that a program had been installed that looked for payment card data as the data was being routed through the system for authorization. The press release concluded that, “data contained in the magnetic stripe on the back of the payment cards swiped in person to purchase merchandise and food and beverage items… may have been affected.” It is imperative that stadiums and venues take the threat of credit card fraud seriously and upgrade their systems to be EMV compliant to protect fans’ data.

Mobile Wallet Adoption is on the Rise

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 Source: Ingenico

Any sports fan knows what the dreaded long line for food and drinks looks like. More and more fans that are visiting stadiums and venues are looking for quicker ways to pay for their food and beverages so that they can get back to their seats faster and avoid huge lines. Mobile payments have been increasingly more popular and offer a fast, secure, and convenient way for consumers to pay at stadiums and venues.

Many stadiums and venues across the U.S. have already started rolling out a mobile point-of-sale option so that they can house hundreds of vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise virtually anywhere in the stadium without fans needing to leave their seats or spend a lot of time waiting in lines. The Alabama State University Stadium in Mobile, AL installed more than 30 iPad POS systems back in 2013, streamlining the payment process and boosting more sales with greater ease. Mobile wallets and mobile POS systems enable faster and more secure concessions and merchandise sales, offering savings on space, manpower, and time.

Enhance Fan Experience with In-Seat Ordering

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Wireless smart terminals and mPOS devices help merchants bring payments directly to the consumer at the point of service. Utilizing these solutions helps concession operators to provide better service by bringing food and beverages directly to the fan’s seat and accepting payments there quickly and securely. Oracle, an Integrated Cloud Applications and Platform service, found that 64% of fans said they would “probably use” or “definitely use” in-seat ordering if it was available at their stadium.

Mobile apps are a great way to create an in-seat ordering system. Mobile apps are quickly becoming the most profitable tool to engage fans while creating efficiency at live events. Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California, where the San Francisco 49ers play, has developed an app for use in their stadium that can be used for ticketing and ordering food from guests’ seats. Through mobile apps, a loyalty or membership program is a useful tool to generate revenue and engage fans. Loyalty or membership programs can feature promotions and discounts, which can be redeemed for food, drinks, and retail.

Increase Revenue Opportunities with Advertising and Promotion

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Stadiums and venues are always looking for new and exciting ways to build their bottom line and get fans to spend even more at games. According to Ingenico, “Many of today’s advanced smart terminals are equipped with color screens and displays that can present relevant content to shoppers at the point of sale.” Stadium and venue owners can increase their earning opportunities by utilizing these displays for advertisements and promotions. These advertisement spaces can be sold to outside sponsors or used to upsell while their customers are checking out.

Operators of stadiums and venues already understand the value of advertising and signage, both for communicating basic information and for marketing messages from their paid advertisers. A digital signage system that is integrated into smart terminals can amplify that value by giving stadiums and venues the ability to change their messages at any given moment. Cisco Systems’ general manager Chris White says, “If you can make those messages truly engaging and relevant, that makes that stickiness and the impact so much more. The operating cost of a stadium goes down tremendously if you’re not running around physically replacing posters. And you get to customize the marketing message, whether it’s for a country-western audience or a meat-eating ice hockey fan base.”

Provide Convenience to Customers with Unattended Payment Solutions

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Fans of stadiums and venues want to spend as little amount of time waiting in lines as possible, especially during an exciting event. Operators can eliminate the bulk of those wait times by providing fans with kiosks that can be used to sell merchandise and beverages. Self-service checkout options have shown a 40% reduction in average queue times, with throughput of up to 20%, according to Verifone.

Operators of stadiums and venues can reap many benefits from moving toward providing a self-service option. There will be fewer resources to manage, saving operators the time and cost it takes to hire and manage additional staff. Not only do they save on resources but they store and collect key data that can be used for better understanding what fans favor. This data can also help provide competitive advantages in marketing for stadiums and venues, as well as promote their brand.

Protect Your Customers’ Data with Payment Security

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Data breaches have become more prevalent and have huge cost factors associated with them. As mentioned earlier, stadiums and venues are particularly vulnerable because they service a high volume of transactions. By implementing Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE), tokenization, and semi-integrated payment solutions, operators of stadiums and venues can help protect not only themselves but also their guests against potential data breaches.

According to BizTech, 100,000 cyber threats were discovered on the wireless network at Levi’s Stadium in California during Super Bowl 50. To prevent stadiums and venues from getting hacked, it is important that they assess their vulnerabilities and increase security measures for their most susceptible areas. P2PE technology makes data unreadable so it has little to no value for cyber criminals. P2PE encryption combined with secure devices, applications, and processes that encrypt payment data are the basis for a strong defense against theft.

The Race to Connect: Bringing Fans from their Big Screen TV to the Game Itself

The changing demographic of fans is one the main reasons why stadiums are rushing to update their payment technology and Wi-Fi connectivity. Fans enjoy the convenience of being at home and having everything available to them: snacks, a reliable Internet connection, and the comfort of their home. Beyond the comforts, it is a lot easier and cheaper for fans to watch the big game in their living room. This is why stadium and venue owners need to upgrade their payment technology to create ease and convenience for fans to easily access food, drinks, seat upgrades, and merchandise.

It can be extremely expensive for a family to go out to one of these events together. The connectivity, added services, and apps all aim to improve the fan experience at the stadium and keep people desiring the live setting as opposed to their couch and large screen TV at home. With added features such as unattended payment solutions and in-seat ordering, the fans get an experience at a stadium that they cannot get anywhere else. With social media being as popular as it is, fans will be able to brag in real time to their friends. Fans can connect and ultimately become collaborators.  

The need for connectivity and convenience is increasing. By the year 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices, representing 1.4 mobile devices per capita according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index. Upgrading payment technology is the key to helping sports teams, venues, and stadiums connect to their fans, truly understanding what those fans want, and elevating the experiences that will keep them coming back. From improving wait times in lines to building a loyalty system, enhancing experiences for fans will improve brand awareness and increase revenue for operators. 

Nicole HeadshotAbout the Author

Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.

Images Source: Ingenico

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