Sport arenas must find new strategies to meet these omnichannel demands without sacrificing efficiency.
Bill Schlough, the team's Senior Vice President and CIO, spoke with List23 about how the team has managed the rapid transitions from non-mobile payments to all-mobile payments to the current hybrid state of payments at Giants stadium Oracle Park's concessions stands over the past few years.
The team had to contend with the state of California earlier in the epidemic, which required stadiums to only make direct own-device ordering and payments rather than ordering and paying at concessions stands.
“We were not prepared for it, and it was a real challenge,” he says. Pre-COVID, we had mobile ordering, but less than 1% of our fans were actually using it, and then you went from less than 1% overnight to 100%,” he adds.
However, in retrospect, he recalls that once everyone was used to that new routine, it improved efficiency, enabling employees to concentrate on fulfilling orders rather than taking them. Now, consumers expect omnichannel convenience, both allowing them to order remotely or pay at the concessions stand.
Schlough said that the combination of these channels is "a lot harder" than all-mobile or completely non-mobile, and that the team is "still learning in this hybrid world." In fact, the Giants are hoping to boost mobile payment adoption.
Plus, the company has had to be more specific about securing lines and eliminating payment methods that take longer to process. For example, the company never allowed consumers to pay by dipping their cards since the dip took longer than the swipe, and now the company is finding that "100% contactless" significantly increases throughput.
According to a survey conducted by the January edition List23' Next-Gen Debit Tracker, 42% of respondents preferred using credit cards, while 36% preferred contactless solutions. Mobile wallets were the most popular, followed by touchless card payments (44%) and QR codes (25%).
Get the tracker: Banks Must Do More to Meet the Demands of Debit Card Users for Contactless Payment
At the start of this year's season, the Giants introduced a new point of sale (POS) system from the stadium's name Oracle, the Oracle MICROS Simphony Cloud POS, in a bid to facilitate quicker mobile ordering, enhanced digital signage, and more comprehensive analytics and data access.
These statistics allow the stadium to see which items sell best at which times of the game, allowing vendors to be proactive in making menu decisions and stock levels.
“We've been processing transactions through our old point of sale system for years,” Schlough said. “It's been like a holy grail for us that our business analytics teams have been looking for for years.”