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.

Share this article

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.

Read the article