Food & drink brands: 5 reasons why you're missing out if you're not at festivals

Wed Jul 05 2017

Forget greasy burgers, endless queues and niche bands, festivals have changed. They’re slick operations and getting slicker. Now’s the time for brands, not just bands, to give consumers what they really want, and that’s great experiences. 

In 2013, the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival in London’s Hyde Park hosted 70 food and drink merchants. In 2014, that number rose to 81, and now, in its fifth year, over 100 merchants are appearing. The bigger picture is one of growth, too. According to The Telegraph and based on eFestivals’ numbers, 574 new festivals have appeared on the calendar since 2007ii. That’s an average of more than 57 new festivals a year. We’ve created an infographic all about the growth in value and popularity of festivals. 

If those figures weren’t reason enough to think about getting involved in the pop-up commerce world at festivals, here are five more. 

If you’re not at festivals…

One: You’re not where your consumers are

Consumers want experiences, not just material things. That means music events, festivals, theatre and the like. In 2015, the total live music audience stood (and sat) at 27.7m people, with festivals alone totting up a whopping £2bn and set to grow to £3.5bn by 2020iii. Your consumers are at festivals, and so are your competitors.

Two: You’re missing out on potential new revenue streams

If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so the saying goes. Pop-up commerce at festivals is a really great way to test new things, poll your customers on what they want and how you’re doing, and reach a broader audience. Did you know that in 2015, 3.7m people attended a festivaliv?

That’s a potential of 3.7m customers – can you really afford to pass up that scale of opportunity? Not only that, but the potentially wide-ranging demographics of those 3.7m means you’re bound to be reaching people you’re not reaching through your permanent locations. And you might just find that how you perform at festivals might start informing how you run your high street or shopping centre locations, or where you open up next.

Three: You’re not diversifying

Diversification in business is a good idea, while standing still really isn’t. Yes it takes planning to sell at festivals, but pick the right ones and you’ll get expert support from people like Brian and his team. Who, at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time, spend months pre-planning, give merchants one-to-one support before, during and after the festival, and ultimately enables merchants and consumers to have great experiences.

Four: You’re missing out on commercial and social brand opportunities

Festivals aren’t just an opportunity to sell your great wares, they can also offer visibility on a mass scale and at events with lots of press coverage and social interaction. A well-branded pitch, plus amazing products, outstanding customer service and some well-planned creative marketing campaigns could lead to column inches and an engaged social following. Take this quiz to see if you’re ready to retail at festivals.

Five: You’re not seeing the full benefit of contactless technology

At festivals, the keys to great vending are fast-moving queues, great customer service and delicious food and drink. Contactless payment technology delivers on the first of those, and helps with the second. Customers don’t want to fork out their hard-earned cash for festival tickets then queue for hours to get a pint or pizza.

Now the contactless limit is set at £30, it’s quick and easy for people to buy a round with a tap, so you can serve more people at peak times (between music acts, for example). At Barclaycard presents British Summer Time, the number of Barclaycard contactless terminals has risen 285% in five years - from 70 in 2013 to 270 in 2017v.

This massive hike proves the widespread adoption of contactless payment technology and the success of contactless in serving thousands of people in short spaces of time.

Speak to us today to find out how we can help your business - 0800 096 8199

Are you sure you have the payment systems in place to take advantage of a new era for retail? We’ve got the data, insight and expertise to set you on the right track for the future.

i  All event figures from Barclaycard.
ii (July 2016)
iii Mintel research, referenced here: (July 2016)
iv (June 2016)
All event figures from Barclaycard.

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