Oktoberfest — Cards not accepted

How does the Point of Sale looks like at high-frequency events?
Oktoberfest in Munich vs “Oktoberfest” in Sweden.

Oktoberfest with Payworks

Payworks & Partners at the Oktoberfest

This week @Payworks we had our annual Oktoberfest Partner Event, where we gathered an exciting group of innovators, entrepreneurs and decision makers to share experiences, best practices and challenges that they face every day at the Point of Sale. All of them are delivering cutting-edge solutions in different verticals around the world, and all of them are using Pulse to enable card acceptance for their merchants and end-customers. We were talking about the latest Point of Sale technology, about different card acceptance methods, about how the world is going cashless and how paying with cards and connected peripherals is the future! So, imagine how surprised all of them were when they realized that paying with a card, not to mention your smartphone is EXTREMELY bothersome at the Oktoberfest.

Getting a beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich

So, how does this process look like? First important thing to know is that every waitress serves a couple of tables. If you are seated on one of those and you order a nice Maß of beer (that’s 1 liter of Bavarian goodness), you will be asked to pay for it in cash (and leave a nice tip if you want to be served somewhat quickly again). When one says ‘I have no cash’ you are requested to go and withdraw some. Fortunately there are a lot of ATMs around, but unfortunately, ain’t nobody got time for that. If you insist on card payment, which will bring a very unpleasant expression on your waitress’ face, they you will *maybe* be taken to an office, where there is a terminal that you could use — given that it works well. Now, wouldn’t it just make more sense to have a portable card reader connected to, say, a smartphone (which a waitress can carry around) or a tablet (which the waitress uses either way to input the orders)? Of course it does. Then again, it is not done, presumably because of the challenges of such big events… Which brings us to Sweden.

Getting a beer at the Oktoberfest in Sweden

Oktoberfest in Sweden

You can see by the grey sky, that this is an Oktoberfest tent in Sweden

Our good friends from AffarsIT provide their ISUPOS system running on Pulse to one of the largest event organizers in Sweden. And guess what they are organizing? An Oktoberfest tour in 7 cities, 4 days per city with 2000 guests every night! Now, this doesn’t compare to the 7 million visitors in 14 huge tents for more than 2 weeks in Munich, but it’s a great case study for the importance of the expedience of the Point of Sale at high-frequency events.

AffarsIT’s ISUPOS system includes a Miura m010 card reader that powered by Pulse, enables customers to pay with their EMV cards, as well as their contactless cards and mobile wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Imagine, 2000 visitors every night take only a quick few seconds to pay for their drinks or food. Moreover, the waiters and waitresses don’t have to keep money with them or fumble for coins to give back change to the already anxious customer.

All of brings us to two of the most important arguments for improving the Point of Sale.

  1. Customer experience: Customers strongly prefer it when their overall experience is not broken by a tedious payment process (like at the Oktoberfest).
  2. Time saved: Companies prefer it when their employees are using their time to concentrate on activities that satisfy the end-customers’ needs instead of dealing with software that doesn’t offer card payments, or engage in time-consuming manual processes that are way less efficient.

“Payment with card is possible if you sing a song with me!”

Personally, I would hate the customer experience at the Oktoberfest if it wasn’t for the beer that clouds my judgement. So whether in Munich or in Sweden, make sure to get some great Bavarian-brewed beer!

Written by Dijana Dimitrovska, Marketing Manager at Payworks
First published on Medium on 30-09-2016