A growing necessity, e-commerce and mobile commerce (or m-commerce) are altering our expectations of accessibility, and it’s no longer enough for businesses to rely on consumers visiting default websites for selling and making purchases.
With the age of the techno-savvy comes a demand for companies to use mobile and social technology to provide more possibilities for access to their services and products, and to attract, retain and satisfy customer needs. Social media has been crucial in this process, with ticketing merchants attracting more business from the likes of Twitter and Facebook by connecting with customers on a more personal level.
Social media is opening doors for the online ticketing business, and with it come more opportunities to connect with the target market to create better tailored services. Listening to the consumer voice is crucial to the ticketing business as it determines the online interface, sales and services they offer.
A recent report from the University of Wolverhampton, commissioned by The Ticket Factory (TTF), ascertains how consumers initially find out about events and investigates the factors that influence the purchasing of tickets. A UK-wide sample was used for the survey, focusing on event participation and choice, ticket buying behaviour and demographic information.
TTF aims to offer ‘a compelling alternative to other ticket agents by putting you at the heart of the ticket purchasing journey.’* With so many competitors, this is key to providing high quality customer service and reiterates the need to utilise online platforms.
Online ticketing has created new challenges for businesses as issues such as search engine optimisation, visibility, server capacity and functionality of websites dominate the market. The online payment process is also a fundamental part of the service that is often forgotten, one current issue consistently raised is surcharges placed on customers credit cards buying online.
The government is now looking to ban these ‘hidden’ extras by the end of 2012, with businesses only being allowed to charge for the transaction process. Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the
Treasury, claims: “it’s important that consumers know up front what charges they pay”.** Consumer lobby group Which?, estimates that the real cost of credit card transaction is no more than 2% of the purchase value – though many businesses argue that the supplements cover the cost of administration fees and staff wages.
In order to succeed in the global marketplace, merchants must also understand cultural differences such as currencies, preferred payment methods, languages; and recognise the threats that face their business – whether this means fragmented systems, thinning margins or fraud.
EU action in 2011 cracking down on fraudulent and problematic ticketing websites has aided the online sales of tickets. Following this, a report was published by the European Commission stating that 88% of websites selling tickets for cultural or sporting events checked for breach of EU consumer rules now comply with the EU law, compared to only 40% in 2010.
As the economy rebounds from the recession and consumers start to loosen their purse strings, demand for event tickets purchased online will begin to increase again. Businesses should look at ways to optimise their online selling potential through social media, streamline their payment processes and listen to the consumer voice that ultimately determines the credibility of the service they provide.
*Wale, D; Gelder, G; Robinson, P; Clarke, A; Tongue, N (2012) Ticket Factory Ticket Buying Project: market research in conjunction with NEC Group Ltd **The Guardian online, December 2011
Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre