Online Ticketing: Why You Need It and How You Can Use It

By Cristina Ferrandez Sep 21, 2017

In the old days, venues that wanted to maximize ticket sales had to focus on having a high-profile physical presence, and often more than one outlet. From retail locations to kiosks, giving customers lots of ways to purchase tickets was the key to success. It was also expensive and required high training and overhead costs.

Enter the internet.

The web, and more recently the smartphones that are in virtually every American pocket, have changed the way venues maximize ticketing. Now, your customers have 24-hour access to your box office in their pockets!

In fact, almost half of all ticketing agents are using mobile apps for sales. Nearly 25% of all online ticket sales are completed using a mobile device. What's more, Ticketmaster reported that 84 percent of millennial buyers are searching for event information on their phone and 67 percent will complete the purchase on that device.

In other words, online ticketing is no longer optional; it is a must.

Benefits of Online Ticketing

By providing your customers with easy access to events through online ticketing, there will be clear benefits to your bottom line.

First, your customers will have 24-hour access to the events they are seeking. Instead of having to operate within box office hours, your customers can browse and purchase at their leisure. This makes it easy to schedule events, coordinate with other guests and browse for additional events that may be of interest.

When you offer a better customer experience, you are also providing additional value to your guests. The result is loyal customers who return to your website or app again and again, and tell their friends about their great experiences, too!

All these things lead to one very important benefit to you: an Increase in conversions and sales. In other words, when you give people what they want, they will spend more money.

Uses of Online Ticketing

Of course, there's more to online ticketing than simply offering events. When you have purchase-ready customers browsing your website, there are several opportunities for you to take advantage of:

1. Upselling and Cross-Selling

When visitors arrive at your website to purchase tickets to an event, there is a great opportunity to offer expanded options in order to increase the revenue generated from each sale. For example, you can suggest upgraded seating or recommend relevant products such as parking passes or drink tickets. 

The checkout process also provides the perfect opportunity for upselling and cross-selling. When you offer upgrades and recommendations during checkout, your customers will be able to see the added value of your offers. Plus, when you use things like "most popular" tags or include customer ratings with your offers, it generates trust and excitement with buyers!

When you compare this to an in-person box office experience or even a telephone sale, the pace of the transaction often makes it more difficult to present additional options and generate enough interest from buyers. Plus, interruptions and other factors like small children may cause customers to rush through the process.

In contrast, when customers are online, there is nobody waiting impatiently in line behind them, so they are free to explore and consider more options. Plus, stepping away from a transaction momentarily to address distractions will not disrupt the entire process; customers can pick up right where they left off when they are ready. 

Be sure to offer easy and obvious ways for shoppers to share event information with their friends. For example, if a shopper sees an event they are not interested in, but knows someone who would enjoy it, it should be easy to share a link with that person via email or social media. 

2. Take Advantage of Mobile Sales

Did you know that 62% of smartphone users have made a mobile purchase in the last six months? There are more than 10 billion mobile devices currently in use; it's time to put them to work for your bottom line!

When you optimize online ticketing systems for mobile users, you empower customers to order tickets anytime and anywhere. Consider a gathering of friends discussing an upcoming event. Right in that moment, each will be able to get information relating to dates, times and pricing and find what works for the group. 

Then, each can purchase their tickets immediately. There's no need to remember to stop by the box office, call in the morning, or otherwise make arrangements to buy the tickets. The entire transaction, from idea to purchase, was easy and convenient. And every member of the group will know where to turn for their next event!

One last bonus for mobile shoppers is the convenience of e-tickets. While some people will always prefer a paper ticket, most event-goers are happy to skip the hassle of waiting for mailed items and replacing lost or damaged tickets. Plus, it's very gratifying for buyers to make a purchase and immediately have access to the purchase with an electronic ticket.

3. Increase Loyalty Through Customer Accounts

In most cases, you'll want to leave the creation of a customer account an optional step in the purchase process. Not everyone will want to take the time and some prefer the relative privacy of a one-time purchase. Plus, you always want to remain focused on the end goal of selling more tickets. When customer accounts are required, you're simply providing opportunities for customers to bail out of the purchase.

On the other hand, a customer account is the perfect way to build a loyal customer base and encourage return visitors. One idea is to offer the account creation step after a sale has been completed. That way, those that would enjoy the experience can jump right in and others can go on their way with their tickets without further interaction.

Keep in mind that account creation shouldn't be used to collect information from leads. Instead, you want to enhance the experience for current customers. Here are just a few of the ways you can add value for your customers with an account:

  • Purchase Information. Provide a one-stop place for customers to see the details previous transactions.
  • Secure Ticketing. An account will allow customers to log in and retrieve or re-download tickets when necessary.
  • Order Tracking. For customers that choose a paper ticket, they can keep track of shipping and delivery by checking their accounts.
  • Faster Purchases. A secure customer account can also be a place for people to store payment and shipping information. That way, future purchases will be even faster and simpler (bonus: whenever purchasing is simpler, you benefit, too!).
  • Members-Only Benefits. Another way to encourage registration is to offer special discounts or promotions for members. For example, account holders can receive advanced notice or an early purchase window for popular events. Or offer discounted upgrades for members only.

Customer accounts also provide you with an opportunity to encourage future purchases. One idea is to recommend upcoming events based on past purchases. Or to create loyalty programs that allow customers to accumulate points and later redeem them for rewards. These types of programs will also make sure your company stays at the top of customers' minds when it's time for the next event.

An account can also give customers an easy way to leave reviews or share their purchases on social media. That way, happy customers can help you expand your reach to include their friends, family and everyone else in their social networks!

Securing Your Future

More than 10% of ALL retail revenue is attributed to ecommerce, and that number is steadily climbing each year. As more people become comfortable with online shopping and mobile devices become faster, more secure and easier to use, it's impossible to avoid the impact of ecommerce on your business. 

By offering online ticketing options, you're not only providing your company with additional revenue sources while also keeping your customers happy, but you're also securing your place in a future that's increasingly dominated by the internet.

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