August 27, 2014

How to not wreck the ticket-buying process

To make sure we\’re right on the pulse of the ticketing and events, we like to hear from other innovators in the industry. This post comes from Andrew Thomas, otherwise known as Ticket Tattle, a ticketing consultant with experience spanning almost 20 years. Andrew uses his keen knowledge of all the ticketing platforms out there to advise his customers on what best suits their needs. So, over to Andrew.

Data Efficiencies – Balancing completed baskets with knowing your customers’ shoe sizes

The economic woes of the last 6 years gave us a wake up call in how we need to be efficient, efficient with our money, with other people’s money but more and more now, we are look to be more efficient with our time.

If you take a walk through the tasks of your everyday existence you will see countless examples of where product suppliers and service providers are striving to make our lives easier – one cup tea bags, self reading gas meters, contactless payments and biometric phone unlocking are just some of these.

So we like efficiency, clearly. Why is it, then, that so many events seem to make it increasingly difficult for us to complete the ticket purchase? Surely, if we as consumers can buy quicker, they as promoters can sell more. And the more seamless the transaction, the more likely we are to tweet or positively review the experience to our peers; to be a new strand of advertising for the event, the venue or the promoter. It is essential that we make sure we deliver on this smooth experience.

In my position as a ticketing consultant it is my job to help eliminate the barriers to completed baskets, to help venues increase their consumers’ spend and to generally make the process of buying a ticket as simple as it really is.

Person : Have you got any tickets for the show tomorrow?
Venue : Yes, they are £10 each
Person : Great, I’ll take two. Here’s £20

This is as complicated as ticketing gets! “Oh, hang on!” I hear you cry, we need some customer data, ok, so let’s add;

Venue : Can I just take your email address so we can keep you up to date
Person : Sure, its

There, so we now have a transaction as efficient as we can make, whilst maintaining the flow and collecting what we all now want – the email address – I was very impressed on a recent walkthrough of ticketscript to see this efficiency in the checkout process, along with how it can be added to.

So as we have made it as simple as we can – let’s try and wreck it shall we? To make it so painful the customer feels like they just want to leave.

Imagine we pick up the action after the email hand-over.

Venue : What’s your favourite colour?
Person : Red. Why?
Venue : Do you like Cats?
Person : No, I am more of a dog person? Look, I am in a hurry, can I have my tickets please?
Venue : Marmite, love it? Hate it?
Person : Really! I need those tickets, I am late for a meeting, I don’t have time for this.
Venue : Do you think Oasis will reform this year for a 20th Anniversary concert?
Person : Forget it! (person leaves)

So, I have never asked been asked these questions as part of buying a ticket, nor would I expect to. I have, however, abandoned a basket when the questions keep coming and the transaction is deemed to be wasting my time, don’t get me wrong collecting some data is important, the type of data, how it is presented and how we use it varies from event to event. Let’s look at two questions we could ask.

Question : How do you expect to travel to this event? (Radio button format)
Who would ask it? For a central London theatre, a nice-to-know – but could go to their Environmental impact report, but for an air-show in a green field site essential.
Why Ask it? For planning the park and ride systems or liaising with local train and bus companies on offers and promotions, budgeting for car park revenue perhaps?
Results – better promotions and smoother operations of transport
Customers – will understand the reason you are asking, you want them to have a smooth journey and you are planning for that as you are taking their money.

Question : How many vegetarians are in your party? (Number drop down)
Who would ask it? Anyone with a flexible catering provision
Why Ask it? Is it burger bars all around the festival or will falafel king rule? We need to book the correct caterers for our audience.
Results – With these results you can book vegetarian concessions giving them the number of vegetarians you expect at the event, or staff your own concessions, increasing your revenue.
Customers – Your vegetarian customers will find lots of wholesome edible treats, and talk about how nice it was to see you had asked, planned & delivered.

These two questions are relevant to our event, they have a positive impact on our business and the customer can see why we are asking them and how we are going to use them.

I would implore event organizers to strip back their transaction flows and data asks to the minimum, then only add questions or data collection tools to it if they can meet the following criteria:

Do I NEED this information?
Will I USE this information?

Unless you get two yeses here, the data capture should not get into the purchase pathway. Of course, with an email, we can always go back with a survey POST transaction, but by now we have completed the most important part we have sold the ticket and collected the money. Now, who doesn’t want to do that?

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Andrew Thomas
 is an independent Ticketing and Technology consultant and is based in South Wales in the UK. In a ticketing career spanning almost 20 years, he has worked as Vendor, venue operator and consultant in both Sports and Performing Arts sectors. 

Passionate about achieving maximum results through minimum spend and effort, he believes technology is a tool and not a necessity. Never afraid to push the contentious proposition to ignite debate he loves to help organisations get the most from technology and their ticketing operations. Get in touch via

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