They say that cash is king. However, since the arrival of the pandemic it is smart pay that has come to reign supreme. With routines changing and people actively trying to limit physical interaction at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, trips to cash machines and the use of cash has been declining.
Reflecting this preference for tapping cards or clicking smart phones, soon after the limit for contactless payments was increased to £45 in April last year, banking trade body UK Finance asked the treasury to increase it again. With the chancellor signaling his agreement in the 2021 March Budget, from later this year consumers will be able to spend up to £100 in a contactless transaction meaning smart ways to pay are clearly here to stay.
While the likes of pubs, coffee shops and cafes have already been 'tapping' into this technology with the gradual relaxation of lockdown measures – indeed the average value of contactless payments rose by 29% in 2020 according to Barclaycard – there are still whole swathes of the hospitality sector who are yet to make the most of smart pay.
Music venues, who may also have to manage additional social distancing restrictions when they emerge from mothballs, will no doubt be keenly interested in Point Of Sale (POS) systems that will allow them to embrace new ways of spending while keeping their doors open.
"As we adapt to the new normal, new considerations have to be made by venue owners around safety and efficiency, to ensure peace of mind for fans, artists and staff alike," John Talbot from POS business Goodtill by SumUp tells Music Week. "While no one wants customers to go thirsty, venues must find a convenient way to safely manage these crowded areas without sacrificing the convenience - and revenue - of concession stands."
A smart POS is clearly good for customers, but adopting it can be equally straightforward for businesses too. The Goodtill solution makes the most of iPad technology to deliver POS software for all kinds of shopping experiences in very different locations. This has helped to make it one of the leading platforms in the UK and Ireland, boasting over 1400 clients while processing £500m worth of transactions annually. Crucially, it counts some of the biggest names in the hospitality sector – including nightclubs, music venues and large events – among its users, meaning Goodtill has solid experience of functioning in situations where decibels and the number of thirsty punters rapidly rise.
Additionally, by utilising iPads, SumUp's system is a slimline, mobile and non-bulky option that can be integrated into the sleekest of establishments, with a range of compatible hardware like card readers, also available.
As we adapt to the new normal, new considerations have to be made by venue owners around safety and efficiency, to ensure peace of mind for fans, artists and staff alike
"Music venues place a lot of emphasis on their brand and look with the industry falling into the creative sphere of hospitality," suggests Talbot. "This is not lost on POS providers as today’s clientele is looking for style, comfort and a certain ‘character’ in their chosen venue. Goodtill’s iPad-based POS delivers not only the slick factor but its compact familiarity also provides a friendlier environment than its bulkier predecessors while keeping venues on top of innovative and stylish trends."
Integration is also available for that other big change encouraged by recent social distancing measures: remote ordering. The Goodtill POS seamlessly connects with their GoodEats mobile ordering platform which offers click and collect and table ordering functionality. "Goodeats is made to help venues stay open, introducing flexibility to operations and future-proofing businesses to hold up against an ever-changing economic climate," explains Talbot.
"Providing a seamlessly integrated platform, Goodeats requires only a simple set-up and can get venues live and taking orders in a matter of minutes – all via a singular, centralised platform. Unsurprisingly, Goodtill has seen rapid growth over the past year, having processed over a million collection and delivery orders providing hundreds of hospitality ventures and venues with the ability to sell to customers safely and remain open during the lockdown. In providing venues with a plethora of solutions to reinvent their checkout process, venue owners can increase their sales by up to 20% by opting for a dedicated click and collect."
Though why stop with just drink and food orders? Goodtill by SumUp offer solutions that can allow punters to arrange to, pay for many more elements of their night out, sometimes from the moment they decide to see their favourite artists live. "If venues can line their POS up with their ticketing systems, the customer’s entire night can be organised and paid for through one single app," argues Talbot. "Tickets, tables, cloakroom, drinks – all on one system."
Yet, while a POS system that allows consumers to pay smartly has clear benefits for customers' convenience and also can offer the kind of flexibility that will help keep doors open during times of social distancing measures – and plenty of venues will already be thinking ahead to the colder months – the right digital payment system can actively help its users too. Staff insight and stocktaking offer a guide to how cash is being spent in a venue, but a system like Goodtill supplies accurate data. Fast.
"On top of significantly faster transaction speeds, allowing venues to fire through more orders than ever before, POS offers sophisticated data collection. Monitoring transactions, what items are selling, what items aren’t, and will keep track of stock levels in real-time," explains Talbot.
"This gives businesses insights unavailable with simple cash-based systems. For example, do customers drink differently depending on what event is on? How is bar spend different between a live band or a club night? Goodtill provides access to greater insight which can be a game-changer to help venues stay competitive. With Goodtill’s POS, venue owners can run off accurate real-time reports on sales, stock, profits, and more, in a flash for better performance oversight."
So while music venues – and the hospitality sector as a whole – might be looking forward to seeing more of its customer in the coming months, less 'contact' money-wise could mean more. "The pandemic has hit music venues hard, but technology can not only play a pivotal role in helping businesses to safely welcome the public back, but it can also set up venues for long term sustainable success," declares Talbot.
So leave your cash in your pockets, and put your hands in the air for a smarter revenue share.