25 September 2018

by Steve Hanrahan, Business Development Manager, AURES UK

EPOS technology is developing at a rapid pace and customer-facing industries are continually discovering new ways to add value to their operations.

In the cinema sector, where EPOS is deployed in multiple ways for ticket sales, snacks and drinks and sometimes also in cafes and bars, the emergence of sophisticated software platforms has allowed these different operations to be more tightly aligned and therefore managed more efficiently.

We have seen self-service ticketing kiosks become common place in foyers, with intuitive interfaces enabling customers to quickly purchase tickets without having to queue to speak to a sales assistant.

As EPOS equipment and technology continue to evolve, what other solutions can we expect cinema operators to make use of in the future that will further improve service and add value to the business? Let’s take a look at some ideas.

The end of queues

Perhaps the biggest priority for any cinema operator is how to make the customer experience as streamlined and convenient as possible. In particular, they want to minimise time spent queuing to buy tickets, snacks and so on. Especially at peak times, lengthy queues represent a significant pain point which potentially put some cinema-goers off making return visits.

We have mentioned how self-service kiosks have become common place in a bid to ease congestion at staffed ticketing booths. Future developments in kiosk technology could see an end to printed tickets, with digital e-tickets instead sent to a customer’s mobile phone on completion of the transaction. Not only would this shave off a few precious seconds per sale, it would also align on-premises ticket sales with advanced web purchases.

This could be supplemented by super-quick one touch purchasing – simply select the movie you wish to see on screen, scan a mobile payment app on your smartphone via Bluetooth or NFC and get the ticket sent to your device instantly.

There are other more radical developments in the offing, too. Some EPOS software specialists are already offering advanced snack ordering solutions, for example so customers can make purchases ready for collection during the interval and so avoid lengthy queues. Further down the line, we may one day see automated self-checkout in cinema snack shops, with product packaging containing printed RFID codes that are automatically scanned and charged to a customer’s payment app.

Maximising sales opportunities

Many cinema operators are already taking advantage of untethered and mobile EPOS solutions. The main benefit of movable EPOS hardware is flexibility – you can set up sale points wherever you like to meet demand or capitalise on opportunities as they arise.

With Mobile POS terminals like the AURES Swing, for example, staff could walk around the foyer at the busiest times selling tickets and snacks. When required, the Swing can be mounted on a pole or wall, meaning that temporary sales points could be quickly set up, for example to sell snacks outside the doors of auditoriums to make sales as customers head to their seats.