Over 20 years ago Dutch event organisers discovered that cashless events create a better user experience, better security and better revenue. Attendees would buy plastic tokens and effectively create a low-tech closed-loop payment infrastructure. A lot has happened since then.
Thanks to technology and the rise of digital payments, cashless events using RFID are becoming more and more common. When global market leader Glownet first introduced its system over 5 years ago, it was a novelty. 500 events in 38 countries later, Scott Witters, CEO of Glownet, reflects on the revolution the market has seen; “It is amazing to see the growth the market and Glownet has seen over the years. We are incredibly proud to have reached the 500-event milestone. It is a clear sign that adoption is accelerating and I am convinced that cashless events will soon become the standard”. Scott, however also agrees that there are many hurdles still to overcome; “many event promoters and brands still need to be convinced of the opportunities and benefits of cashless”.
Value for users and event organisers
Glownet unites the benefits of cashless platforms around 3 core elements: user experience, loyalty and security. The key metric for any event organiser is, of course, user experience. A great user experience not only creates smiles on people’s faces but is also the primary driver of profitability. A cashless platform improves user experience by eradicating many of the problems that event attendees would otherwise experience. Nothing is worse than standing in line to buy a drink only to realise at the bar that the credit card machine doesn’t work or change is not available. As Scott notes, “a well-executed cashless event has the opportunity to remove the main bottlenecks for users, create a better experience and in turn increase profits. We see spend uplifts of up to 40%, which is quite incredible”. Any event organiser will recognise the complexity of cash handling at every bar and the risks that come with that. All that is removed when using a fully offline-enabled cashless platform like Glownet.
Beyond the event experience
Secondly, a cashless platform offers a massive, and often still untapped potential for user loyalty. It allows brands and promoters to create personal engagement with the user. Users can be offered special discounts (eg. 3 samples free), loyalty rewards and exclusive VIP access at the event. This significantly enhances the event’s capability to create a personal experience.
Furthermore, the data collected at the event, especially when linked with ticketing data, offers organisers and brands a wealth of opportunities. It allows for measuring onsite effectiveness, cross-event promotions and audience profiling. According to Scott, this critical data alone should encourage any festival organiser to use a cashless event platform; “Our partners like Sonar in Barcelona, Howler in South Africa and WeWork Summer Camp in the UK realised that the user experience should go far beyond the 2 days onsite. Thanks to our data intelligence suite these partners are able to create long-lasting profitable relationships with users”.
A safe and secure environment
Finally, Glownet’s cashless platform ensures a safe and secure event environment. Removing cash handling onsite and using military grade encrypted chips has irrefutable security benefits. Additionally, cashless platforms allow organisers to enhance security by setting individual user entitlements. In the most basic form, this allows organisers to set user rights within the RFID-chip. This has significant benefits in access control, preventing underage drinking and capacity management. “An event like the Rugby 7s in New Zealand wouldn’t be allowed to operate without our age-control technology”, according to Scott.
An incredibly exciting moment
When asked whether he sees a risk in payment providers like iZettle entering the space, or
ApplePay joining the game, Scott smiles; “to be frank, there is a huge misconception in the market around tools. A cashless platform like Glownet does not need to compete with these players. We are partners and are developing our services with the same aim. If anything, we are excited with the rapid adoption of Contactless and Mobile payments. This allows users to get comfortable with the tools and we will be accepting them within our platform. However, event organisers will still need a platform to manage user experience, loyalty and security. We believe 500 events is just the start for us and could not be more excited about the future opportunities that technology at live events offers”.