Is putting up a CLOSED notice on your website and Facebook page really all you can do? Rather than be paralyzed by fear, focusing on cost-cutting, some companies are going into marketing overdrive. These attractions and FECs are not just showing they are “cleaning their venue”, but actually have quite innovative ways to engage with their guests, prepare for the inevitable return of their fun-hungry, socially-starved guests. Check it out!
Given the current state of affairs with the coronavirus outbreak, the constant flux and uncertainty, organizations and individuals are challenged to prepare for a future that is unknown; the recovery timing is unclear and impossible to predict (but, there is a certainty that this cannot and will not go on forever; the challenge is identifying when this will break, surviving until then, and planning your professional and personal come back). It is without equivocation that a “Challenger Mindset” is required more than ever in order to stay ahead of the change curve.
Facts over Fears. There are times in life when the world moves at lightning speed, but not here and not now… or at least that’s what the media might have you believe. By now most of the world is homebound and/or working from home for the past week, many working from home while home-schooling their kids.
“Those who understand the changes in customer demand and react with speed and enthusiasm will emerge stronger than ever from the crisis.” said Hermann Simon, a business expert in strategy, marketing, and pricing. Take QuarterWorld, a Portland arcade, as an exceptional example of understanding the changes in customer demand and reacting swiftly. They pivoted their business in a mere 24-hours!
It was Helen Keller who famously said, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” And, it’s during these unprecedented times, as we come to terms with the uncertainty of the immediate, that we must all come together (figuratively and proverbially) to soothe, support and comfort one-another through this time. But, can we all agree that we must cease from taking out our anxieties on the almighty blessed toilet paper tissue roll? Be honest; no one needs 144 rolls of toilet paper for a 14-day quarantine. And, if by chance you do, then we can all agree that you should’ve seen a doctor long before the coronavirus outbreak. So, in the face of the ongoing onslaught of media around COVID-19, Embed would like to offer a little levity break (a humour break, if you will) for everyone working from home. And for anyone who might bristle at the idea that there is anything funny during these tough times (a global pandemic is not funny, and no one is inferring that it is), please go back in history – at any and all tough historical time periods you will find that humour, comedy, and the arts were a distraction and coping mechanism for humanity. Below are Embed’s favourite memes from across the internet:
Family entertainment centers are a hub of people of all ages coming to the same venue to have a great time. A large number of people congregating in one environment and high traffic areas creates an unhygienic environment; handprints and fingerprints across all surface areas, including the games, tokens, and money. Generally, this wouldn’t be a point of concern because you clean your FEC before opening, throughout the day, and end of day; however, given the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, the hygiene of your FEC is more critical than ever. COVID-19 can live and survive for days on surface areas and, especially, cash, money and banknotes (tokens and tickets).
Game card readers, just like game cards and RFID wearables, aren’t the future of FECs they’re the present (not the new normal, the old normal). They deliver an unequivocal boost to customer experience, whilst simultaneously assisting businesses in minimizing costs, driving revenue. Period. Not convinced? Read on...
The time for using coins, tokens, and tickets in an FEC have passed. Ongoing technology advancements have created great innovations that have improved many different aspects of FECs. Customers now anticipate arcade debit card systems, FEC kiosks, wireless readers and cashless technology when they enter FECs, meaning it is imperative that your venue meets their expectations.
Marketing is an important part of the business; it's what reaches your customers and raises brand awareness to bring them to your business (there is some truth to the saying "out of sight means out of mind"), and as such, it is critical for you to develop a marketing component of your FEC business plan of how to bring these customers in by raising awareness, running promotions that bring them into your business and keeps them coming back (keeping your brand "top of mind").
There is no debate. Arcade play cards, games cards or amusement cards or whatever else you want to call them, are the alternative to coin and token systems, not only creating a modern feel for arcades or family entertainment centers, but easing the consumer journey. In a technologically progressive world, things that lag behind stand out, and not in a good way. Arcade play cards and its accompanying cashless technology offer basic benefits to your arcade, meeting basic customer expectations. Personalization Consumers' personalize everything. Therefore, personalization of game cards is the norm, it gives your venue's brand uniquely designed cards and ensures customers associate the amusement card or arcade play card with your brand immediately. It also secures the coveted share-of-wallet (or wherever they store their card), they will be reminded of your venue and the experience thereof. This regular exposure to your brand increases top-of-mind familiarity with the brand and the likelihood of repeat visits. An awesome game card design also draws attention from other people and creates word of mouth advocacy (peer to peer). Customer Loyalty and Retention Customer loyalty is an important FEC components and becomes crucial in a competitive market. Family entertainment centers often operate in quite competitive markets, with many different types of businesses fighting for the same customers. Having a collectable game card (something the consumer wants to keep) for a venue is a strong reason for customers to return. Game cards are also loyalty cards, being used to reward return guests. This is a great way to keep customers coming back and getting continuous benefits for doing so. Ease of Transaction Most people use some form of tap and pay mobile device or credit or debit card technology. This means that any business that doesn’t adopt basic cashless technology stands out in a negative light for wasting the consumers' time with outdated processes like tickets and unhygienic coins and game tokens. Immediacy to game play is an inferred expectation of any consumer. The ability for consumers to easily tap their amusement card or arcade play card and start playing games enhances their overall experience and keeps them spending more at your venue (any wasted time is loss of revenue for the FEC). Additionally, it means consumers don't lug around bags of coins and recounting them to check how much they have left; no one has the time or patience for that! Lastly, the game card has the tickets each customer wins embedded in the card (a cost savings for the FEC) and allows customers to keep saving tickets without having to store and track them and lose them. This means customers have the ability to set their sights on a prize and keep coming back until they have enough tickets saved for a grand prize. This is a great way to drive return visits and ongoing revenue generation. Track Your Customers Compared to the traditional coins and token system, the ability to track your customer’s activities with a game card is unrivaled. Through amusement cards or arcade play cards, and the underlying systems that accompany it, you easily identify the spending and consumption patterns of each individual customers. This means you can easily adjust your FEC business plan and marketing strategies and identify what times of the day, week or year you are most busy and when you are not. You’ll have a much better understanding of when to focus your promotion efforts and likely have the ability to contact individual cardholders to keep them coming back. Keeping Your Business Running Coins and tickets are a chronic problem for arcades: unforeseeable hidden operating costs of repairs due to ticket dust and coin jams, not to mention the loss of revenue due to game down time. They severely limit operations and negatively impact business revenue. And the manpower before and after operating hours to collect, track, count coins and tickets is not only costly but exhausting. The whole system is tough on the business and creates a negative consumer perception of your business. Improving FEC Security Coins and tokens in arcades also present an inherent security risk to your business. Nothing can realistically stop customers just walking out with any unused tokens and whilst you can afford to lose a handful, over time a continuous loss of coins creates limitations on your business. Less coins in the rotation will mean that you may run out of coins at some stage, making you spend more time collecting coins out of machines and money on replenishing them. Another issue that may potentially arise is the fact that outside coins can be used in your machines. This isn’t likely to be an issue for most FECs, however if it is, it can be quite damaging and lead to a significant loss in revenue. Getting rid of coins and tokens all together eliminates this issue and greatly improves the overall security of your FEC. Conclusion Game cards are not the future anymore, they are the present. Operating with coins and tickets is becoming too outdated and costly for a family entertainment center to consider. The cost of switching over from coins to cards is outweighed heavily from the cost your business incurs from the loss of customers and machine repairs. And here's the best part, the Embed system pays for itself and generates a 10-20% revenue increase. Contact us today to explore the Embed solution for your business and what the Playwave game cards can do for you as a FEC owner operator.