Cashless: Key factors for a successful roll out

Cashless: Key factors for a successful roll out
  1. Open-up and get inspi­ra­tion
  2. Hone your com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your audi­ence
  3. Address­ing con­cerns and train­ing the team
  4. Acquire good habits dur­ing the oper­a­tion
  5. Be care­ful of fake sav­ings

1. Open-up and get inspiration

Roll-out of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem has many mile­stones. Con­sid­er­ing that each event is dif­fer­ent, with its own speci­fici­ties, it is crit­i­cal to get inspi­ra­tion from oth­ers to fuel your reflec­tion and select only the best.

Numer­ous events have now gone cash­less and each one had their own way to do so, depend­ing on the scope, the type of audi­ence, the imple­men­ta­tion, the back­ground, the val­ues of the com­pa­ny, etc. Numer­ous good ideas are there for the tak­ing while oth­ers are to be avoid­ed at all cost.

Net­work­ing, ask­ing col­leagues for their feed­back and advice is the best start to any cash­less project. Event man­agers hav­ing already used a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem are best placed to talk about it.

2. Hone your communication with your audience

As for any impor­tant change, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key when cash­less pay­ment is imple­ment­ed. The rea­sons must be explained as well as the ben­e­fits and most of all, how it works.

Pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion should ide­al­ly start two months ahead of the event. For your first com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the top­ic, you should pro­vide your audi­ence with an overview of how the sys­tem works: card or wrist­band, acti­va­tion fees or not, online top-up or not, time­line to ask for refunds, even a map of the site with the use­ful areas (info desks, kiosks, bars and restau­rants, NFC part­ner booths, etc.).

You also need to make the audi­ence want to use it by stat­ing the direct ben­e­fits they will enjoy. The peo­ple who top-up online before the event will receive their pre-loaded card or wrist­band at the entrance and will there­fore skip the bank­ing kiosks.

To moti­vate atten­dees to cre­ate a cash­less account ahead of time, it is pos­si­ble to set up an incen­tive. For instance, £5 will be offered to the first 1,000 top-ups. How­ev­er, the argu­ment of reduced wait­ing times is often enough to moti­vate your audi­ence.

The refund process is also a source of con­cern. It is impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate clear­ly on the refund method from the start. Obvi­ous­ly, this also needs to be sim­ple and quick. If refunds are com­plex (e.g. Manda­to­ry cre­ation of a Pay­Pal account, deposit on third part web­site, very short time­lines, etc.) this will be per­ceived as an obsta­cle.

Final­ly, you should not hes­i­tate to com­mu­ni­cate on the reli­a­bil­i­ty and the safe­ty of the sys­tem. Some atten­dees are con­cerned about theft. You should there­fore explain that it is pos­si­ble to block the cash­less device to avoid a fraud­u­lent use, or that the wrist­band low­ers the risk of loss as com­pared to a bank card, etc.

3. Addressing concerns and training the team

It can hap­pen that some mem­bers of the organ­i­sa­tion are reluc­tant to the intro­duc­tion of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem, for a vari­ety of rea­sons: fear of new tech­nolo­gies, lack of inter­est, change of work­ing habits, invest­ment per­ceived as unjus­ti­fied, fear for their job, etc.

Actu­al­ly, it is often due to poor knowl­edge and lack of infor­ma­tion. These con­cerns can eas­i­ly be addressed by train­ing your team and explain­ing how the device oper­ates.

Set­ting up sev­er­al train­ing ses­sions ahead of the event is often good prac­tice at all lev­els of the organ­i­sa­tion. Use of point of sale sys­tems is quite sim­ple but it is impor­tant to explain it to the mem­bers of staff so that they are reas­sured ahead of their shift on the day.

In the same way, train­ings must be car­ried out with man­age­ment teams so that they can become famil­iar with the inter­face. That way, your users can ask their ques­tions in a calm envi­ron­ment ahead of time. Do not wait for the day of the event to answer their ques­tions.

It is in fact inter­est­ing to observe that, quite often, detrac­tors become ambas­sadors of the cash­less pay­ment sys­tem after the event.

4. Acquire good habits during the operation

Plan­ning and inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion are two pil­lars of suc­cess in the imple­men­ta­tion of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem.

The imple­men­ta­tion of the devices must be real­is­tic and sys­tem­at­ic. Rolling out hun­dreds of devices in a few min­utes is unre­al­is­tic, it is advised to set up a pick-up point (or “store”). Sim­i­lar to the pick-up of walkie-talkies, each team man­ag­er picks up his/her team’s devices and brings them back at the end of each day. This enables account­abil­i­ty of the teams, and to ensure that the devices are on site at the right moment. It also cre­ates a loca­tion where the staff can meet the sys­tem providers in case of con­cerns or ques­tions.

Inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion is also an impor­tant ele­ment. It is not uncom­mon to edit pro­ce­dure or to slight­ly change the device ini­tial­ly planned ahead of time. For every­thing to go as smooth­ly as pos­si­ble, unit man­agers should auto­mat­i­cal­ly warn the rest of the organ­i­sa­tion of any change. For instance, if the cash­less devices are hand­ed out at the entrance and that for a few min­utes the entrance staff did not hand out NFC devices to atten­dees, the bar staff needs to be made aware as well as the kiosks so that they can react appro­pri­ate­ly.

5. Be careful of fake savings

Sav­ings are often per­ceived as pos­i­tive but be care­ful not to put your­self in a dan­ger­ous posi­tion.

We have seen this before, roll-out of cash­less pay­ment sys­tem implies some indi­rect invest­ment such as the imple­men­ta­tion of a Wi-fi net­work and maybe imple­men­ta­tion of new infra­struc­tures for bank­ing kiosks, and per­haps entrances.

While most cash­less pay­ment providers allow for offline use of their solu­tion, it is often at the expense of the user expe­ri­ence, and doing with­out it can be a poor cal­cu­la­tion at the end of the day. Because with­out Inter­net, there can be no online top-ups or pur­chase track­ing in the event’s app for atten­dees, no sales track­ing in real time for the event man­ag­er, etc. The lack of net­work also means big­ger queues at kiosks, and low­er safe­ty. Over­all, offline the vital func­tions are work­ing but you’re depriv­ing your­self of the best ben­e­fits of cash­less.

The same applies to the size of the kiosks and entrances. Be care­ful not to have too small a vision, espe­cial­ly for a first edi­tion. Sav­ing on a few peo­ple or a few meters of infra­struc­ture at the expense of the user expe­ri­ence is often a bad move and a bad bet for the future.

To go fur­ther and find out more about cash­less sys­tems, down­load our free white paper here.

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Cashless — much more than a payment solution

Payment is but a small part of the possible uses that “cashless” enables. Its main interest lays in building a complete eco-system. Integrating cashless to your event requires involvement of your entire organization, it enables you to not only manage your organisation but also develop new areas such as access control, management of specific audiences and partner activations for a richer user-experience.

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