By Roberto Pesce on 3/28/18 4:28 PM
If you work on the ticketing industry you probably used third parties such as discounting platforms to boost your online sales. If you did it, know that you’re not alone. This strategy is widely adopted and actually boosts your sales right away, giving you the feeling that your sales are going well… But this is not quite true.
Although this strategy creates a quick increase in sales, its cost can be very high. It compromises your positioning and opens space for your competition. Let me explain.
Third parties usually require you to sell tickets under aggressive discount policies, what is already pretty dangerous. People psychologically use price as a proxy to determine quality so, if you abuse on discounts, your brand will be affected - and sometimes this line can be really thin.
If this is not enough for you, there is also another point: customer experience. When you use third party platforms to sell your tickets you’re just giving your clients away to very rich and powerful companies that spend Billions of Euros to make your clients purchase on their pages.
Can you imagine it? Your brand being associated to adjectives like ‘cheap’, ‘low value’, or ‘alternative’, and your product being sold as a commodity? Long story short, although it’s tempting to increase sales with third parties, you don’t want to hurt your brand and revenue in the future, right? So be wise and don’t get dependent on them.
You're probably asking now, but what about the title? If you are already using third parties, these are some red lights that can indicate that you've become dependent on them:
1. The biggest chunk of your online sales are not coming from your own website/app
This is easy. Doesn’t matter how much you sell, you should have the biggest numbers coming from your direct online channel. If this is not happening you should, at least, understand what is going on. And chances are that something is really going wrong. Take the sales report, analyze your Analytics account, or ask to your sales manager, but figure out the percentage of sales coming from each different channel, and make sure that your direct sales are comfortably bigger than your third-party sales.
2. % of commissions paid over sales have increased for two quarters in a row
Sales commissions increase your reach with no upfront costs, but when your commissions increase more than your sales it’s not a good signal. It’s always important to understand if this is not hurting your revenue in the short-term, and how it will impact on your long-term. Third parties are always aiming to convert your clients on their pages so, if you don’t pay attention, soon, your clients will stop purchasing from your direct channel and you'll be paying commissions on top of discounted tickets.
3. You have a restrict (or no) access to your customers’ data
Your customers are your most important asset. If you feel that you should have more data about them and that some important information is just ‘locked’ with third parties, this is a very strong signal that you’ve became dangerously dependent on them. You need to be able to communicate, engage and strengthen your relationship with your clients and if there is something in between you and your clients you should get rid of it. Make sure you have access to all information you need about your clients, and use it with wiseness.
Third parties are not bad, they are just trying to do their job as best as possible. The tricky part is about balancing direct sales and third party sales never choose them as your first online strategy. Invest in your direct sales, instead, strengthen your relationship with your clients and building memorable experiences that will live in their minds forever.