Payments Innovation

Payments Takes The (NFL Football) Field

First Data Enhances Fan Experience

Giving stadium operators a way to make the fan experience better comes down to data and devices — data that can match consumer behavior with relevant offers and incentives and devices that power the software that makes it all flow. First Data EVP Dan Charron joined Karen Webster to discuss the role that Clover plays in doing that for the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

Payments take the football field, but consumers call the plays.

That’s how Dan Charron, EVP and Head of Global Business Solutions for First Data, sees it and how he describes the latest rollout of its commerce technology solution at CenturyLink Field Event Center and CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, aimed at taking the fan experience to the next level.

The implementation, Charron said, is the result of its collaboration with enterprise point-of-sale software company Bypass to deliver a unique payments solution for sports arenas and concert venues. The mash-up of First Data’s Clover family of point-of-sale devices and business management tools with Bypass’ cloud-based software and back-office management tools gives fans a faster concession buying experience with shorter lines and more payment options — all delivered via a new, streamlined aesthetically pleasing POS device.

The goal, Charron explained, is to create a unique experience that can be enjoyed by patrons of a venue no matter where they are. When a fan is attending a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, Charron said First Data can now tell the Seahawks everything that customer has done during their time in the venue — from concessions, to retail purchases, to even purchasing their ticket.

“They can get a holistic view of their fans, which is nirvana for these folks,” he explained.

With this information, a fan can then be offered unique and special experiences that are relevant to them.

"[CenturyLink] is very excited, not just about the platform where they can have that experience but also very excited about the analytics and creating unique fan experiences,” Charron added.


Empowered By Data

But in today’s digitally powered landscape, part of the customer experience isn't just about the payment piece; it's about all the things that lead up to it.

That’s why, Charron noted, the solution not only delivers on the payments piece but also provides the deep analytics and back-office management tools a venue needs to truly understand their fans and their behaviors.

"The aesthetics part is cool because [the POS] looks slick and everybody wants to have cool-looking hardware at modern stadium environments, but the real power is the analytics, the platform and the ability to deliver a holistic experience for the consumer,” he stated.

A venue that has deployed the Bypass and Clover solution can not only see what a fan has been purchasing and doing while attending an event, but they can also utilize other data and information, such as if that fan attends more conference games versus out of conference.

That can evolve into the delivery of a personalized offer that simply says, “We didn’t see you at the last game; here’s a special offer for next time.”

"This isn't just integration on the payment aspect; this is a full-blown platform integration,” Charron said.


The Bigger Picture

The recent venue installation for the Seattle Seahawks is what Charron described as just a piece of a bigger picture for what First Data is doing as a platform company to transform the consumer experience across different segments.

First Data is also helping to change the customer experience in the appointment-based industry, where phones and paper documents can’t keep pace with the digital shift. Charron said that, when people want to make appointments, whether it’s with their doctor or dentist or for a salon or spa, they want to be able to see a schedule, select a time that works for them and get alerts digitally.

Booker, a service commerce solution, was the first third-party app built on the Clover API and provides a semi-integrated solution on top of the Clover platform that enables salons and spas to run their businesses.

"What these software companies want to do is have great software. What they don't want to do is have to deal with security, hardware, payment processing, etc.,” Charron said, noting that this is where First Data comes in.

"People say software is king, and software is going to change the world,” Charron remarked. “Well, software needs to run on something.”

And First Data is working hard to make sure that the “something” that it runs on is Clover.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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