TopicsCustomer stories Optimize payments Omnichannel experiences Unified commerce Giving In-person payments Online payments Retail
The stadium floor shakes. The deafening roars of 75,000 passionate fans reverberate through the aisles. Moments later, the pristine pitch and the iconic red and white stands come into view. Goosebumps. Kickoff. There’s no doubt about it: FC Bayern Munich stands tall as a shining beacon of German soccer - captivating fans worldwide with their unmatched sporting prowess.
Embedded in FC Bayern Munich’s mission statement is a resounding commitment: "Think of the fans, think for the fans, and think like a fan." Their unwavering focus is on creating an unparalleled fan experience. It’s this relentless pursuit of excellence that has forged a dynamic partnership between FC Bayern Munich and Adyen.
The outcome? An innovative payment solution that not only elevates the fan experience but also fuels the club's ambitious growth plans, both online and in stores.
We sat down with Dr. Michael Diederich, Executive Vice Chairman & Chief Financial Officer, and Peter Romics, Director Merchandising & Licensing, Authorized Officer, to delve into the pivotal role of payments for FC Bayern Munich and their successful collaboration with Adyen.
High complexity on and off the pitch
FC Bayern Munich consistently ranks among the elite in the soccer world. For years, the club has secured their position among the top 10 most valuable brands in the soccer industry.
But beyond the thrilling matches, FC Bayern Munich offers an array of experiences, from tours of the Allianz Arena to museum visits. Whether in the bustling world of ecommerce or within their on-site stores, fans can choose from a vast selection of merchandise, from jerseys to gourmet food to kitchen appliances. The company's own streaming platform, FC Bayern TV PLUS, is also available as a subscription.
FC Bayern is not merely a soccer club; it operates as a comprehensive ticketing provider, a lifestyle brand, an omnichannel retailer, and a streaming platform. However, this diverse portfolio also brings unique challenges, particularly in payment processing.
"In the past, we worked with several different payment partners," Peter Romics tells us. "And that had a complexity that we were keen to break down."
In their search for a new payments partner, FC Bayern prioritized key criteria: a unified global partner for seamless online and on-site payment processing, high-performance terminals with mobile payment capabilities, and a steadfast commitment to innovation, scalability, and efficiency. Ultimately, Adyen emerged as the perfect fit.
Michael Diederich says, “Our partnership is so significant because we have found a partner that develops the topic of payments together with us - and does so very flexibly, quickly and precisely.”
Staying on the ball with payments
Football means experience, tradition, and passion. This is precisely what distinguishes FC Bayern from traditional retail companies. "Our customers are our fans; therefore, we have a much more emotional connection than with other retailers," says Peter Romics.
Mobile payment experiences
At the end of 2020, the club opened FC Bayern World in Munich's city center, directly on Marienplatz, alongside its store in the Allianz Arena.
"We wanted a location where you can experience our FC Bayern brand 24/7. Hence the integration of a boutique hotel, two restaurants, and a penthouse for meetings on the roof, next to our 1000m2 flagship store," says Peter Romics. "The integration of our partners and digitalization play an important role.
Part of this digital transformation involves enhancing the in-store checkout process, with a keen focus on mobile payment experiences. “We have therefore opted for the AMS1 mobile terminal for special events or match days."
"The AMS1 devices grant us the flexibility to expand our checkout locations as needed, accommodating up to 20 or even 30 checkouts simultaneously. Our staff can swiftly conduct cashless transactions using these handheld mobile devices," adds Peter Romics.
Every second counts
To get an up-close experience of FC Bayern, a visit to the Allianz Arena is a must. On match days, 75,000 fervent fans flock to the stadium to cheer on their beloved team, resulting in a bustling rush at food stands, drink counters, and the fan store. Effective visitor management is the key to avoiding frustration and maximizing sales amidst these surges.
"For us, it's all about speed. Speed in normal day-to-day business, but it’s even more important on match days," explains Peter Romics. "No one wants to have to wait in line longer than necessary."
To increase speed at the Allianz Arena, FC Bayern decided to work with catering company DO & CO to overhaul their cash register systems.
Michael Diederich adds, “We executed this transformation seamlessly during a weekend when we were unveiling our new striker. Remarkably, the transition went unnoticed by our customers. Furthermore, Adyen processed individual transactions a full second and a half to two seconds faster than our previous systems.”
This seemingly minor difference assumes monumental significance on game days. Peter Romics explains, "Those precious two seconds translate into an improved customer experience, allowing our fans to return to the pitch faster."
Local payments, global growth
While FC Bayern's roots are firmly planted in Munich, their reach extends beyond geographical boundaries, embracing fans worldwide through their online presence. "Our expansion strategy in the e-commerce sector is strongly focused on internationalization. Our goal is to deliver our FC Bayern products to over 200 countries by mid-2024," says Peter Romics.
With the rapidly growing global fan base also came the realization that localization of the checkout process was necessary. "We used to have the common payment methods in place. Now we make sure that the preferred local payment methods are possible," explains Peter Romics.
The expansion of payment methods improves the fan experience and results in some valuable benefits for FC Bayern Munich. "This is important because it creates trust for our fans, makes the purchasing process easier, and reduces purchase cancellations on our side, thus increasing sales," explains Peter Romics. "For our Chinese fans, for example, we can now offer Alipay, which makes it much easier for them to purchase our jerseys and other items."
A cross-channel fan experience
While each sales channel presents their unique requirements and characteristics, one aspect must remain consistent: the familiar 'Mia san Mia' spirit of FC Bayern Munich.
"The fan wants an experience that goes beyond just shopping," Michael Diederich explains. "The seamless process between ordering, delivery and payment is quite significant."
In practice, however, unifying the various sales channels can quickly become a challenge. To streamline operations and simplify this complexity, FC Bayern strategically implemented Adyen's Unified Commerce solution.
Behind every payment is a fan
While FC Bayern has established itself as a true omnichannel entity, before partnering with Adyen, these various sales channels operated independently, resulting in unnecessary complexities and a lack of access to valuable insights. Michael Diederich shares how the landscape has transformed.
"With Unified Commerce, all payment processes are consolidated onto a single platform, offering an immensely exciting and valuable tool for us as partners. We can now observe diverse behavior patterns, exercise greater control over our systems, and gain insights into usage capacities across the board. That makes Unified Commerce a very special tool."
Fast donation support
A good partnership works when there is common ground. In addition to the common focus on innovation, FC Bayern Munich and Adyen have a shared interest in social issues.
Consequently, the decision to incorporate Adyen Giving into their collaboration was swift. Adyen Giving empowers companies to include a donation appeal following a purchase, streamlining reconciliation and reporting processes by separating the purchase from the donation.
"With Adyen Giving, our fans have the opportunity to do something good when purchasing a product," said Michael Diederich. "Coupled with the fact that 100% of the donation amount ends up with the dedicated organization because Adyen takes over the costs for the processing, this is something very special. We are very happy about this partnership tool because it fits ideally with the fact that we, as FC Bayern Munich, also want to make a difference in social responsibility."
Adyen has been the official payment solution partner of FC Bayern Munich since 2023. The partnership sets new payment standards in football and supports the club's global growth.
"At FC Bayern, we want to be the best, not only on the pitch but also off it. We have the highest expectations of ourselves, so we need innovative partners. That's why we chose Adyen. We appreciate that we have successfully implemented our goals quickly," says Peter Romics.