The theme of this article is Football Clubs however the same benefits of cashless environment connect with other sporting venues including but not limited to racecourse, rugby club, motor racing rounds, basketball club, athletics club etc. In fact the German F1 Grand Prix in Nurnberg in ’09, the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa, the 2012 Olympics in London, 2014 basketball World Cup in The world have plans for cashless facilities and in the case of the German F1Grand Prix have previously implemented a cashless solution. To demonstrate this point google stadia download Sandra Alzetta, Visa Europe Senior VP for consumer market development, said “the aim is for a cashless Olympic Games in London in 2012”.
Nowadays we have seen a tremendous increase in e-payments or what is now been named cashless payments, but what is explanation for this gallop towards removing cash from some environments. Well that is simple….. costs savings, revenue generation and efficiencies.
There have been a number of firms implement cashless something or other including Local Authorities, Government, Schools & Universities, Sports Arenas and more. All have knew significant benefits including modest revenue generation but moreover cost deals and efficiency gains. In fact one local authority may see 60% increase over all efficiencies by providing and entitlement card rather than paper vouchers and cheques.
The potential for generating revenue in most sectors is, as previously mentioned, modest however not so within the stadia environment where the increase in revenue for a well planned and implemented scheme can be significant. When that is added to the benefits of holding the put into the account funds and having immediate access to the transactional data the attraction for football clubs is very clear. But is this just hype or are the financial benefits of cashless stadia truly a reality? They can be if the scheme is a closed scheme where the cashless solution operates only within the ground and club shop, and where club is the custodian of the cashless scheme and the funds put into the account within it. This type of scheme could be managed by the club directly or the club could contract a specialist organisation to manage the scheme on their behalf whilst retaining the overall control.
This process vastly improves a business case based on income and also provides club a direct relationship with the supporter and autonomy over the day to day operation of the cashless scheme including the all important scheme rules, in particular the breakage rules. How the cashless scheme is perceived by the fans will be the critical success factor in terms of customer experience for every Cashless Stadia scheme. So in the closed scheme handled by the club, the fans are truly supporting the club on many fronts not just from the terraces and with the right scheme rules the club is directly responsible for the relationship with the fans.
If, however, the club outsource the whole cashless process to a third party then bulk of the financial benefits disappear along with the direct relationship with the supporter, but this does fit with a business case built around streamlining operations to just core functions. Control over the scheme operation and rules have also been passed to the alternative supplier.
Also depending on the contract terms data sharing may also be less than ideal. Transactional data is extremely important for providing the club with the ability to dynamically create personalised promotions and offers to the fans via CRM. If data is not available on demand then selling those surplus XXXL away shirt in April upgrade . of a blunderbuss rather than sniper approach.
On the face today giving away all this control to a third party is not the best approach, correct? Well that depends on what the club actually have a couple of requirements. If the clubs view is that they are in the business of playing football and becoming successful on the pitch, and the operational cost of a cashless solution on their stadia is a necessary evil, then outsourcing techniques the whole scheme is strictly the right thing to do. However if the aim is to be able to efficiently manage and nurture the relationship with the supporter whilst generating additional income from intelligent but uncomplicated use of the transactional data, then outsourcing techniques the whole cashless scheme would be madness.
Choosing one to go cashless either completely or in just one section of a stadia is not an easy one to make and must be done after properly analysing the clubs overall objectives and other considerations such as the contractual arrangements with other suppliers such as caterers etc. Then and only then can and informed decision be manufactured for a best fit solution and how it must be implemented to ensure the highest rate of customer delight and take up is achieved.