The roar of 80,000 fans waving team colors and cheering for their team is a core social aspect of modern societies. But the health crisis threatens this captivating in-stadium experience. Sports venues must adapt to the new normal. Technological innovations like fan apps and online betting revolutionized sports and improved fan experience in so many ways. But sports fans now demand more. After spending months at home, fans have gotten accustomed to certain luxuries. They expect the same level of convenience in sports venues that they have at home. One new emerging trend is in-seat ordering. In-seat ordering differs greatly from mobile ordering that is a common add on to POS systems. It not only garners additional sponsor revenue streams but also allows simplification of backend operations. In short, with robust in-seat ordering solutions like XcooBee, sports venues have a unique opportunity to reshape fan experience through technological innovation.
What exactly is in-seat ordering?
Nothing is more frustrating for fans than having to leave their seats in the middle of the game. Once-in-a-lifetime moments occur anytime, whether it is football, baseball, tennis, or basketball. If you leave your seat for 10 minutes to fetch a drink, you can miss a home run or the best goal of the season. With in-seat ordering, sports fans don’t have to worry about this nightmarish scenario. This technological innovation delivers food and beverages to fans in their seats. Fans place their orders via an in-seat ordering on their smartphone. Without an app or account needed. Then, they wait for a few minutes for their food and drinks to be delivered to their seat. They are kept up-to-date on the current status of their order and can also be presented additional sponsor messages at this time.
In-seat ordering is not a novel idea. It has been around since 2010 and has evolved over the years to address the challenges facing sporting arenas today. The latest and most innovative platforms like XcooBee take the fan experience to the next level by combining in-seat ordering, sponsorship, and analytics. These platforms also eliminate the need to download and install apps, increasing user acceptance. With in-seat delivery, sports fans only leave their seats to go to the restroom. It eliminates unnecessary interruptions and improves the fan experience on many levels.
What is the difference between In-Seat Experience (ISX) and Point of Sale (POS)
Though a POS system is certainly a good start, it does not help you meet the need of the fan in the 21st century. It is rather like having a horse & buggy vs having access to a modern automobile. In this context we have assembled this table to highlight just a few differences between systems.
Why should your in-stadium food service evolve with technological innovation?
Technology simplifies daily life and makes everything less time-consuming. All businesses must evolve with technology to stay competitive and thrive, including sporting venues. In the old days, sports fans visited the point of sale to purchase their favorite refreshments and snacks. This approach has changed little from the industrial revolution. Anyone who attends live sporting events knows the frustrations of waiting for a cold drink in long queues. For example, 45% of fans regularly abandon lines when faced with this situation. Frustratingly, you can spend more time at the concession stand than on your seat watching the game. All these challenges undermine the fan experience.
Technological innovations in the 21st century like the Internet and smartphones enabled flexible food delivery and pickup services. The advent and quick expansion of food delivery apps redefined the fan expectation. When previously long lines would be considered unavoidable, they are considere today poor user experience. However, app-based approaches still fall short for venues.
Although food delivery apps are efficient for home deliveries, they are not designed to meet the complex needs of sporting arenas. The app-bloat on user devices makes them reluctant to download them. Similarly, the delivery component has be more flexible and more venue specific than “drive” to a home. While a typical food-app-driver may drive 1-3 orders, a venue delivery operator will have to organize 3-10 orders successfully and in quick succession.
Traditional food delivery services can also create congestion because diehard fans will fetch their orders at half-time, time-out, or other breaks in the activity. Thousands of fans in your stadium will flock to concession stands at specific periods, leading to overcrowding and long queues. But sports fans today are more health-conscious and avoid crowded spaces. Your stadium needs innovative foodservice technology to address the challenges created by the health crisis. Thus, one way to stay competitive is to adopt in-seat ordering for your stadium.
Robust in-seat ordering platforms like XcooBee have evolved to meet the unique needs of sports venues. This ensures sports fans stay in their seats, order refreshments at their own pace, and enjoy the game without interruptions. All these factors improve the fan experience. In-seat ordering is the next evolutionary step for food delivery in sports arenas. Sticking to traditional food delivery while your competitors adopt in-seat ordering can undercut your competitive advantage. Leverage this innovation to address new challenges, improve the fan experience, and stay ahead of the pack.
[This article is the first of three exploring the impact of modern systems for fans in sport venues. As they are published we will cross-reference them for you.]