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Festivals offer new opportunities for merchants as “pop-up commerce” grows

Mon Jul 17 07:45:00 EDT 2017

  • UK pop-up commerce industry expected to be worth £3.5bn by 2020*, offering merchants who sell goods and services at events a new and lucrative way to engage entertainment-loving Brits  
  • The quality of experience is key - with festivalgoers keen to enjoy the entertainment they have paid to see, pop-up merchants need to focus on speed of service to prevent lost sales
  • This is especially pertinent when it comes to food and drinks, which account for over a quarter of a festivalgoer’s budget 
  • Barclaycard research shows hungry customers won’t hang around to be served as over a third abandon a queue if the wait is too long
  • Saving 15 seconds per transaction compared to cash, accepting contactless payments can help pop-up merchants serve more customers in less time

The growing popularity of music events and festivals is offering merchants a lucrative opportunity to tap into pop-up commerce – but in a competitive environment where speed is key, businesses hoping to profit from Brits’ love of music will only succeed if they provide a top notch buying experience, finds new research from Barclaycard, the headline sponsor of Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park.

According to the Barclaycard research, food and drink accounts for over a quarter (27 per cent) of a festivalgoer’s budget. But discerning customers expect to be served quickly - while the average queuing time is 19 minutes, the findings show nine minutes is all that’s acceptable, with festivalgoers likely to abandon a purchase if they have to wait any longer.

Over a third (36 per cent) of festivalgoers say they have left a queue because of its length and the same number say they buy less food and drink when it takes too long to get served. Waiting times also affect purchasing decisions, with a quarter (25 per cent) choosing what food and drink to buy based on the length of the queue.

With festivalgoers keen to enjoy the entertainment they have paid to see, pop-up merchants need to focus on speed of service to prevent lost sales. One way to reduce queues is to offer electronic payments, such as contactless, which is significantly faster than processing cash. In fact, the average ‘touch and go’ transaction shaves 15 seconds off the time it takes to pay enabling merchants to serve more customers in less time while also reducing the number of lost sales during busy periods***.

The demand to use contactless is strong, with more than two in five (44 per cent) who buy food and drink with ‘touch and go’ at festivals choosing to because it is quicker than other methods. Almost half (46 per cent) say it stops them worrying about running out of cash.

To help keep the queues down, most merchants at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park accept contactless payments – which Barclaycard introduced to the UK in 2007. Data from 2016’s event also shows the popularity among attendees to pay with the technology, with spending made using ‘touch and go’ up 75 per cent year-on-year.

Sharon Manikon, Managing Director of Customer Solutions at Barclaycard, said:

“With Brits spending more of their disposable income on entertainment and events such as festivals, the opportunity for merchants to tap into this growth through the ‘pop-up commerce’ industry is also apparent. Yet speed of service needs to be front of mind – attendees don’t want to miss out on the entertainment they have paid to see – and as our data shows, they will walk away from a purchase if the queues are too long.

“By offering contactless technology, merchants can not only cut the queues by serving customers more quickly, they can also reduce the costs and security risks associated with handling cash. While most merchants on the high street have made the switch, our research shows that it’s time those operating as pop-ups at festivals considered doing the same.”


For more information please contact Chloe Wilkinson, Senior PR Manager, Barclaycard, on +44 (0) 20 3555 4036 / +44 (0) 7469 031 300 or chloe.wilkinson@barclaycard.co.uk

*Centre for Economics and Business Research, Britain's Pop-Up Retail Economy 2015

**Research carried out with 2007 nationally representative festival goers between June 13th and June 15th 2017. All research was carried out by Opinium Research.

*** According to Barclaycard testing

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2016 we processed over £250bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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