Will it prevent “touts”, that remains to be seen. Rival for RFID at venues, probably yes, especially since they are considering adding wallets using this technology to let patrons pay for goods at the venues.
Will it prevent “touts”, that remains to be seen. Rival for RFID at venues, probably yes, especially since they are considering adding wallets using this technology to let patrons pay for goods at the venues.
The Ticketing Technology Forum is over and attendees of the Forum talked over a number of topics. The ticketing industry keeps evolving and we have to figure out what to expect in the next 10 years. Around 400 delegates from 28 countries showed up for this European networking event.
Speakers from the event talked about how customers buy experience and how it is much more than the tickets. Smart ticketing companies do their best to make that happen.
How does dynamic pricing affect businesses?
This was also the main discussion on how this is the key to manage revenues. The only way to develop pricing strategy is to experiment a bit and gather very precise data on revenue streams.
Invest wisely on mobile strategy because smartphones have triumphed over desktops and are now the preferred consumer device.
Here at Softjourn, we’ve been seeing increased demand for mobile apps and mobile-responsive websites, so it’s really high time for all ticket sellers to make the leap into mobile sales!
Smartphone apps+RFID wristbands+dynamic pricing: the perfect formula for success in ticket sales.
Why? Because people in the industry love the challenge, the change. Every day is different, different people, different events. Nothing is ever the same. The industry is continually evolving; box offices are going away, the emphasis is more and more on the customer. Customers want recognition, an emotional connection to the events they are attending, the building has become less important than the event. They also want the experience to be seamless. Supporting this continually evolving industry is technology that is also continually changing.
At the recent InTix conference in Anaheim, one of the talked about technologies was RFID. Certainly not new, but one that has been growing in its usage for all sorts of entertainment and events. Following on with the objective of making the patron experience easy. RFID wristbands are being used to let patrons pay for meals, gain access to their rooms, buy snacks, pay for video games at resorts and more.
Given that the InTix conference was at Disneyland, a great example of the use of RFID wristbands is Disney resorts themselves. At Disney resorts the wristbands are being used to eliminate pain points for customers¹. Now every customer can feel like a VIP. Not so long ago you scanned the bar code on a physical ticket or badge to let ticket takers understand the level of the person they are working with, now this information can be read from their RFID wristband.
Every Customer is a VIP
RFID wristbands, contain a RFID chip and a radio, which is able to transmit a radio signal that can be picked up by receivers and devices such as a tablet or phone and alert hostesses, ticket takers or others, to information like who you are, where you are sitting, how many should be in your party, and any number of other details a patron has willingly made available to the event organizer. RFID can also be used as “tap” technology. In the case of Disney, by tapping your wristband, you can get in to the right ride line, or gain access to your room. But radio receiver usage is also being utilized.
For example, as soon as you walk in to a restaurant at Disney, from a few feet away, the hostess will receive an alert on her tablet or iphone app and will already know your name. There is part of that VIP feeling you will get! Upon entering you can choose your own table for you and your family. If you preordered your meal, the kitchen also received an alert, as soon as you entered, to get going on your food. When your food is ready, the server will know exactly where you are located, not by someone entering in to the restaurant system your table location, but rather by the system triangulating your location by picking up the signal from your wristbands and having the system automatically enter your table number in to the application. Giving new meaning to, “sit wherever you want” we will still find you!
The key to providing patrons with a customized experience is how much do you know about your patrons. How much data have they provided you with? But as attendees at a music festival, or visitors at a museum, how much do we want the event producers or venue owners to know about us? Do we want to give more information or not? Well it seems we are very willing to give information about ourselves when it enhances our experience, especially in ways that we do not expect.
The College Football Hall of Fame (CFBHALL) is a prime example of how facilities are changing the event user experience. Not only does it have highly interactive multimedia exhibits, but CFBHALL is also using RFID technology to create a very personalized visitor experience. One that it seems both college football fans and non-fans enjoy².
With an attraction like a museum, one issue is repeatability. How do you get visitors back in again? Constantly changing exhibits to keep it fresh and get people back in the door is certainly one option, but a very costly one. At CFBHALL, visitors can go there many times and never have the same experience. It may be debatable what is more costly to implement; RFID, with the media designs and software behind it and the hardware, versus building new physical exhibits. But no one can argue the number of “combinations” that would be available with a personalized RFID enabled exhibit.
What makes the Hall of Fame museum personalized? By asking users for a few pieces of information, including “which college football team do you support?”, the exhibits create a customized experience for each visitor. Interestingly enough the museum thought that if they got 20% of visitors to register themselves upon entry, they would be doing well. But in reality 96% of the people are registering when they come in to the museum (pre-registration is also now available).
As a visitor goes through the museum, from exhibit to exhibit, they are recognized, they will even be greeted with a, “Hello Bob!” The more information a visitor provides, the more personalized the experience. If you register not only the college football team that you support, but also your football team’s biggest rivalry you can see that information be used within various exhibits. For example in the newsroom. In that exhibit a visitor can be filmed giving the news that their favorite team has won the big game over their long standing rival. This video (and others that can be captured throughout the museum) are uploaded to a microsite that the user can then share with their friends. Certainly visitors can make their own videos and share them via their smartphones, but by having the museum do this capturing, they do not have to interrupt their experience in order to make the video. They can enjoy the experience, and get a higher quality video that they can share later. There is also a benefit to the museum in that they will know who is sharing what and where.
According to Robert E. Bready, Manager of Fan Experience at the College Football Hall of Fame, who spoke in January at the 2016 Intix conference in Anaheim, initially the downfall of having so many people register their ids when they came in to the museum was that there was a big backup getting people in the door. So many people wanted to register. In order to compensate for that the museum added in the ability to preregister your unique id before arriving to the museum, as well as added roving registration takers with tablets to help get visitors in to their experience faster.
Data point gathering can also help avert bottlenecks such as long lines for getting in to exhibits, long lines for bathrooms, for concessions and more. By gathering these types of data points event organizers can better manage potential bottle neck areas, help reduce those long lines, and even know if a patron has stood in line too long and help turn that negative experience in to a positive one by sending coupons for drinks, or making suggestions of where to go where there is less of a line. Using the data gathered can make a better experience for everyone.
Sponsorship and Funding
Another by-product of tracking all of those data points; how much time a visitor or patron is spending in a particular location, how long they are viewing an exhibit, how many people come through a particular exhibit, etc., is that this data can be used to help price sponsorship and advertising dollars.
If using RFID can create such a special experience for a museum dedicated to College Football, a sport which already had a huge and avid fan base, and can create an experience that is both exciting and entertaining for both fans and non-fans, what can it do for other museums which may not have that built in fan base? Such as natural history museums or science museums. The places that parents want to take their kids, and where they want their kids to learn something from but from the kid’s point of view, may not be the most exciting. What could implementing this technology do for those kind of museums or National Parks? If you can put kids in to the middle of the signing of the declaration of independence, or in to life as a prisoner at Alcatraz, and more. Funding for this is another matter of course, but tracking more what visitors are actually doing at these locations may help bring in those needed dollars. In any case using this tech is certainly the future of many museums and educational venues, not just the well-funded ones.
Cross-over to the Payment World
Gaining steam over the last few years has been the use of RFID wristbands at music festivals³. It makes for a faster pass thru at the gate, helps eliminate fraud at the gate by eliminating paper tickets, makes it easier to see who belongs and who doesn’t by using hard to duplicate wrist banks, as well as it makes it easier to leave cash behind.
Lollapalooza began using its Lolla Cashless in 2014?, but other festivals have been experimenting with RFID to eliminate cash for years. As long as users opt-in before going to the festival and enter their credit card information they can use their RFID wristbands to pay for food and drink at the festival, helping to grease this friction point, i.e. food and beverage lines (ala Disney as well). Gust Pay, has been used at other festivals to let festival goers load money quickly via their mobile apps to their wristband and use that for payment for food and swag throughout the festival?. This methodology lets the users control their spend easier by requiring the user to make the decision to add x amount of money to their account associated with the wristband, versus having the wristband account connected directly to your bank account.
What can we expect to see more of in the future, is the use by event organizers and producers, of RFID receivers to pick up the location of attendees and push to them messages and emails as they move around events. To let patrons know what is available nearby. To push to them coupons for food or memorabilia that can be purchased nearby, or base the messages on purchase that the patron has already made and push to them messages about relatable purchases that can be made. i.e., if you like
that t-shirt, you are going to love this one which is available over here and here is a coupon for 15% off if you buy it today.
A byproduct of the additional data that is gathered to make RFID work smoothly is that now event producers, event owners, those in charge of fan experience, etc., now have much more data on their patrons. Big data is nothing new either, but the mounds of data now available make it perfect for a separate discussion on how this data can be used. Another related topic around the recurring theme of data collection and more data collection, is how intrusive this may seem to patrons. Part of this data is of course given freely by users, but part of the data provided can be considered, quasi-given freely. The data about where you are located, how long you spend at a particular location, etc., is more or less granted to the event owner because you bought the ticket. But what about technologies such as facial recognition. Simply by attending an event, are you agreeing to have your face scanned? Do you want to give that data away? How will events be using this information in the future? Also another interesting topic to explore in a future discussion.
Summary on RFID
No technology discussion is ever complete without looking at the benefits of using this tech, for the different types of users. Benefits will vary based on the type of event or venue of course, but there is a lot of crossover. A good summary list is as follows.
Benefits for the producers, for the venue:
– Start to build that connection and excitement for an event by sending a RFID wristband, this connection was lost with the advent of online ticket purchasing,
– Memorabilia that fans use to show their loyalty and thereby promote your events and your brand,
– Reduce bottlenecks at the gate,
– Gather data points on peak entry hours, number of people lining up at concessions and other points throughout the venue. The number of data points is endless. This data can be used for better management of events as well as for pricing things like sponsorship,
– Reduce bottlenecks at product sale points (food and beverage and SWAG), byproducts are selling more goods and better tracking of stock,
– Better security, reduce ticket fraud
Benefits to visitors/patrons:
– Start to get excited and involved in an event before it even starts, start social sharing,
– No need to bring cash,
– Less worry about losing a wristband over the course of multi-day events, versus using a paper ticket,
– Get in fast, faster service at product points,
– Cool memorabilia,
– Personalized experience.
The rhythm of modern life seems to get faster and faster all the time. That means we have less time for real shopping. Rather than spending hours wandering around overheated malls or in queues to check out, many of us prefer to buy, not even via our desktops as much anymore, but via mobile, leaving behind the days when we searched in our bags or our pockets for our wallets. Statistics are striking: in 2018, mobile commerce sales is expected to top $293 billion according to Forrester research¹, seventy-one percent of all ecommerce. Isn’t that solid evidence that mobile commerce is conquering the market?
It seems easy enough: consumers who make purchases via mobile just enter their credit card data and complete the transaction. But it becomes less easy if you switch from the role of consumer to that of a mobile app owner who is faced with the decision of which payment system to choose.
There are so many options, depending on whether you are selling digital goods or real goods, what mobile platform you use, and what percentage commission you’ll be charged by your chosen payment system for each transaction. At Softjourn we have recognized the need to help sort out the options for our clients.
To begin with, one thing determines the rest: what type of products you offer on the market, whether digital (like videos, e-books, music, streaming media and so on) or real (tangible goods). That’s a key question since it will influence the mechanism you choose for selling your goods.
When you offer an iOS app selling digital goods such as ebooks, you have no choice: you must use Apple’s payment system, in which case Apple also takes a 30% commission on every purchase your customer makes. The situation is different when we talk about real products that you sell through your iOS app. In this case, you can integrate with third party payment systems (we’ll talk more about those systems a bit later).
What about Android? Google Play doesn’t put such stringent restrictions on its apps, so we are lucky to be able to choose whether to use Google Play’s payment service (30% commission) or to integrate with any other payment system compatible with Android devices. Sound messy? Maybe the infographic below will help to visualize!
There are quite a few payment systems to choose from and their number is growing. For now, let’s just consider some of the most popular and robust ones that will enable your iOS or Android app to process payments in a secure transaction environment.
“Shop around the world”
If you’ve ever purchased anything on eBay, or any number of other ecommerce sites, then you’re probably familiar with PayPal and know how simple it is. Here are its main features:
Location: It’s one of the world’s most widely used payment systems as it handles as many as 26 currencies across more than 190 countries.
Fees: The commission PayPal charges depends on three factors: the nature of transaction, the amount of money that PayPal processes for you each month, and whether your transaction crosses international borders or requires currency conversion. In most cases, PayPal charges 2.9% (plus 30 cents per transaction) of the amount of money your customer pays. There may be some discounts as volume goes up. No monthly or setup fee required.
Security: Why do so many people use PayPal around the world? Simply because PayPal has a reputation of the most secure and trusted payment system and one that does not disclose credit card information online
“Accept payments anytime, anywhere”
Here’s a fun fact: Stripe gave Twitter its “Buy” button² and now it’s working with Facebook to power that social network. If these recognized brands use it, there must be a lot of good reasons for that. Stripe’s main goal is to take away the headache of accepting credit cards online. It takes care of security so you can spend more time running your business instead of worrying what goes on behind the scene. Like PayPal, it’s easy to use and global. However, if fast access to your funds matters for you, keep in mind that Stripe takes a full 7 days to send you the money, whereas PayPal usually takes only 1 business day.
Location: Stripe supports 139 currencies and operates in 23 countries, so you can create charges in any currency and the services automatically handle converting the funds for a 2% exchange rate fee.
Fees: Like PayPal, Stripe has transparent pricing: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction without any monthly or setup fees.
Security: Security is another name for Stripe, since the credit card data that your customers enter into your payment form are never sent to your server. As a result, you don’t handle any sensitive data on your servers and can sleep safe and sound at night without worrying about hacker attacks on your clients’ private information.
“Receive money and spend it instantly”
An option available only for Android app owners is to receive payments via Google Wallet, which is also known for its proven security. It comes with 24/7 monitoring and covers all verified unauthorized transactions. It allows two options: in-app billing (for digital goods) and instant buy for Android (real goods and services) and all purchases are held via MasterCard`s Zero Liability protection system.
Location: Google Wallet is available for merchants in over 160 countries, however mobile app for sending and receiving money is available only in US yet.
Fees: Google Wallet doesn`t charge a fee but it works with the primary payment processors (like Visa, MasterCard etc) that charge industry-standard fees.
Security: The credit card number of the buyer is never exposed to merchants due to the technology called Host Card Emulation (HCE), which functions like a Secure Element chip but lives virtually in the cloud.
“Start selling more, saving time and money”
Authorize.net is a trusted payment solution for mobile and online payments, owned by CyberSource, which in its turn is owned by Visa. It also offers 24/7 fraud support and a bunch of additional options, like recurring billing, fraud detection, information management etc.
Location: Authorize.net allows you to accept international transactions from customers worldwide, but there is one nuance: your business must be based in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe or Australia³.
Fees: In comparison to other gateways, this one is a little more expensive. It will charge you 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction the same as the first two gateways, but here you`ll also have to pay a $25 monthly fee and a $49 setup fee.
Security: This gateway has fraud detection suite which allows to identify, manage and prevent suspicious and potentially fraudulent transactions and it is one of the most trusted and well recognized payment gateway that many consumers know they can trust.
“Grow your sales through a better buying experience”
Probably you are surprised that we didn`t mention this gateway earlier, but we saved it for the last and, of course, not the least. As Amazon released its own app store for Kindle Fire devices, it has also introduced Amazon Payments where customers can login to your website with their Amazon account credentials and pay for their purchase using the information stored in their Amazon account. As a result, the buying experience is very positive and your customers spend less time on purchases.
Location: Currently only sellers with a bank account in the US, UK or a country within the Eurozone are eligible to receive money through Amazon Payments.
Fees: Each domestic US transaction will cost 2.9% + 30 cents unless you process more than $3,000 per month – in this case you`ll have a discount kindly offered by Amazon.
Security: Amazon Payments never record any customer credentials in any database, cookie or browser session, they just pass them through to the user`s bank to verify the account. As soon as it is verified, the credentials are no longer availble preventing any fraud attacks.
In short, there is no single “best fit” payment gateway for all apps and the many different options available allow for choosing the one that really best fits the purchasers and the app owner. To check out what in-app purchasing can look like, check out Softjourn’s demo app showing in-app purchases of venue tickets at the door. If you still feel uncertain about what payment system would integrate perfectly with your app, drop us a line or call us and we’ll help you make your decision!
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