Mobile Payments Give Convention Vendors a Boost

May 13, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

If you’ve been to a convention lately—especially one that involves a lot of merchandise like an anime or video game convention—then you know first hand that there’s no shortage of opportunities to sell in a comparatively narrow window. This should be a recipe for sales success, but it can also be difficult to draw attention when you’re surrounded by literally dozens of other people trying to do the same thing. For some of the vendor room denizens, though, mobile payments are making a serious difference.

The recent conclusion of Anime Boston provided an excellent demonstration of the impact mobile payments, and mobile point of sale systems, offered for vendors at the event. Vendors in a convention setting have a difficult task; their wares must be readily accessible, and transactions must be quick and easy lest customers abandon purchases. It’s like being in a mall where everybody’s selling roughly the same thing to shoppers in various costumes with tons of distractions that’s only open for three days.

One of the biggest vendors at Anime Boston, for example, was Crunchyroll. You may be familiar with the all-anime streaming service, but it also offers merchandise to its users. Crunchyroll hits 10 different US conventions annually and a dozen international ones, so it understands the impact of sales strategies. While much of its business is in cash, it uses mobile point of sale to take that cash, and also keeps a credit card system handy as well.

Covering the bases is vital, and even Crunchyroll admits it’s seeing requests to take Apple Pay. This is something of the opposite of the Amazon Go situation; it’s tempting to be cash-only here, as it’s faster and depends less on potentially-fragile technology. But when you’re dealing with a crowd who may not be carrying cash for safety or storage reasons, being able to accommodate them is important too.

In the end, it’s all about options. Being able to meet a customer where they are helps ensure that they buy from you, whether you’re as big as Crunchyroll or you’re a one-person operation. Mobile payments allow companies to speed up transactions, gather insights about what customers are—and aren’t—buying, and in the end, gives sellers an edge even when surrounded by distractions.