5 best practices for your online ticket shop
Implementing an online ticketing system.
Implementing an online ticketing system can be challenging. That’s probably the first thing we can agree on.
But it’s also less costly and time-consuming than developing it yourself. And that's a fact. It’s not only about the selection of technology or software that you choose to use, but that it involves very diverse disciplines and stakeholders within your company, such as sales, marketing, operations and IT. Resources which you don’t necessarily count with to dedicate them fully to your online ticketing.
Implementing a smart and comprehensive ticketing software to your business can help you with the heavy-lifting so you can spend more time focusing on what really matters in the leisure industry: your guests and their experience.
The only thing left for you to do is learn how to manage and configure it to your business’ advantage to meet your strategic goals and needs.
So in this post we are sharing five best practices for your online ticket shop that will help you convert more visitors into paying customers and start seeing improved results right away.
1. Ensure an optimal user experience.
If happy customers and delightful experiences are what you strive for offline, why should it be any different within your online landscape?
If you take a look into how we behave as shoppers on a day to day basis, you will notice that we have our laptops and smartphones at an arm's reach twenty-four seven. We surf the internet anytime, anywhere. So the fact that online ticketing systems are growing in popularity, both in terms of engagement and functionality, shouldn’t come as a surprise. This leaves you with no other option than to ensure an optimal and frictionless user experience for all of those who end up in your online ticket shop, or prepare for them to bounce away.
But how exactly can you do that?
Stand out, be seen
To begin with, make sure that the visitors that come to your website can easily find what they are looking for. Don’t make it difficult for them to find your ticket shop. We have seen way too many websites where we’ve had to go down a rabbit-hole to find their check-out and buy tickets. Avoid that. Instead, play around with placing the following elements on your homepage and events page:
- Place prominent CTAs (call-to-actions)
- Trigger Buttons
If you want to know more about how to effectively use these marketing tools read '4 online marketing tools that will boost your online ticket sales'.
Reduce obstacles and friction:
Once you’ve grabbed their attention and you have them in your checkout, make the purchase or reservation process as quick, straightforward and painless as possible.
- Ask only for the information that is absolutely necessary. While dealing with COVID-19, you will most likely have to gather some of your customers’ personal info. (such as name, address, e-mail or credit card number) in order to comply with regulations and make tracking possible - but this doesn’t mean you need to ask for every single detail. Keep it to the minimum; your customers will thank you. Furthermore, if you can pre-fill fields for those who have already made an order in the past, even better. Remember, time is a precious asset, and simplified and straightforward transactions are more appreciated than ever.
- Refine your UX design and make sure the process is as intuitive as it can be. Your content should be concise and to the point, your buttons bold and clear, and your forms easy to fill out. If your check-out is slightly more complex or involves more steps, consider using a so-called breadcrumb component by which the user can have a full overview of the number of steps within the process up until the final payment or confirmation.
Allow different online payment methods that can apply to a wide range of users, so that they don’t have to deal with the frustration of “I came all the way here only not to be able to finish my purchase? Ugh!”.
These days online is the preferred method of payment, and a safe and convenient way of booking rooms, tickets, services and tours directly through an application or website. An online booking system that offers a secure payment portal will improve your business performance and minimise no-shows.
2. Get visual.
Often images speak louder than words do and can play a big part in improving your online ticket sales and driving conversion. However, when used wrong, they can be a double-edged sword that leads to confusion and mistrust.
Your checkout should integrate as seamlessly as possible within your website, since the contrary could make your customers feel as if they have left your environment and been redirected elsewhere.
Additionally, the visuals and imagery you use on your checkout should have consistency and breathe your brand’s identity, which is why at Convious we allow our partners to fully customise and personalise their checkout widget so it seamlessly integrates with their brand’s look and feel.
- If you have a big list of offered products/services on your check-out’s screen and want to enhance them with visuals, make sure you create narrow image banners that won’t take up too much screen space. That way, you will be able to showcase a bigger part of your offering without the user having to scroll down.
- Try to avoid adding text on your image banners if you have a multi-language check-out, since unlike text, they are not translatable.
- Make sure you use high-quality images, but that they aren’t too heavy so they slow down your checkout’s loading time.
- Don’t overdo it. Try to keep your images clear and preferably, minimalistic. Avoid overcrowded collages and screamy images that will only distract the users’ from the goal: buying from you.
In the end, whether it’s Convious or another online ticketing platform you are using, it’s all about telling the story behind the product or services you are offering and creating hype and excitement around the experience that your visitor is about to purchase.
3. Promote sales and re-engage audiences through e-mail.
A good online ticketing software should have auto-generated confirmation emails that are automatically sent once tickets have been purchased. Confirmation emails satisfy our cognitive need of order fulfilment.
It tells the customer “Okay, the purchase worked. You’re in our system. Here are your tickets. It’s official now!”.
As a best practice, your confirmation email should include the following essential information:
- Name of the venue and directions.
- Name of the products purchased, and the amount.
- Order number.
- Event date and time (when tickets are dated).
- Expiry date (when tickets are undated).
- Customer Service contact email.
- A clear CTA button to download the tickets or a barcode/QR-code embedded within the email itself.
Lastly, and in line with what we just mentioned on the previous point, confirmation emails should also contain strong visual cues that the customers can easily associate with the experience they just bought tickets for. Such a visually stimulating end to their order is a best practice for lucrative and recurrent business.
However, the communication with your customer should not end just yet. You should strive to achieve a seamless omni-channel and digital customer journey before, during, and after your customer’s visit. This will empower you to build a stronger relationship with them and therefore increase your customer loyalty.
Have you also thought about emails as a powerful tool for re-marketing and to re-engage your customers?
- Cart abandonment email campaigns:
Goal: Winning back customers who left your sales funnel for whatever reason (maybe they got distracted, they forgot, their wi-fi crashed, they weren’t ready…).
Here are some best practices:
- Send multiple follow up emails.
- Increase your open rate with an irresistible subject line.
- Remind them which items they’ve left behind, be specific.
- You can even use an incentive (like a discount or deal) to tempt shoppers back.
- Pre-event emails and up-sells/cross-sell emails:
Goal: Promoting your event or experience, making sure your customer is ready and has all the important information at hand, and while you’re at it… why not tempt them to complement their purchase with some cross and up-selling?
Include things like Google Maps directions, remind them their selected time-slot and other relevant information such as equipment or adequate clothing if applicable, and add a customisable section where you can add product or service recommendations that would go hand-in-hand with the experience or product they have already purchased.
- Post-event emails:
Goal: Receiving feedback and increasing customer recurrence. Don’t forget about your customer once they’ve walked out your venue’s door! Instead, seek all the potential involved in building a long-lasting relationship.
Include a satisfaction survey (where you can ask your guests to rate their visit or leave comments that will help you improve their experience), or promote future events and experiences (and maybe try to re-engage them by offering them some sort of incentive such as a discount code or an additional service).
4. Use analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t.
We always encourage our partners to test everything and assume nothing. Testing is the only way to discover which strategies are not working, and find the ones that will increase your ticket sales exponentially. Over time, try and test different benefits, photos, headlines, and track conversions to identify which of those your audience responds to best.
In order to be able to extract some learnings out of your testing however, you need insights based on your data. So make sure that your software can integrate with Google Analytics and that it can provide you with friendly reports that will process, centralise and showcase to you this information in the simplest way possible.
5. Optimise for mobile.
Did you know that mobile is the predominant device by which end consumers purchase and book leisure activities?
In fact, this year alone, 66,24% of our partners’ customers have done their bookings through mobile. This means that having a checkout process that is not optimised for mobile can slow things down and cost you a good amount of drop-offs.
Among some of the reasons why mobile users don’t convert are:
- Security concerns (20.2%)
- Unclear product details (19.6%)
- Inability to open multiple browser tabs to compare (19.6%)
- Difficulty navigating (19.3%)
- Difficulty inputting information (18.6%)
Source: Comscore’s Mobile Hierarchy of Needs report.
Your goal should be to move users along your sales funnel and get them to finish their purchase, no matter the device.
In order to do that, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep the essentials in the thumb zone.
- Minimise content and size of attachments to maximise speed.
- Use payment trust logos to increase their feeling of confidence.
- Provide easy editing of their cart (don’t make them go all the way to the beginning to change a date or the quantity of a selected item).
In the end, a seamless usability of mobile booking apps contributes to the overall enhancement of the user’s experience, removing obstacles and creating higher chances of conversion.
For instance, Convious uses a mobile-first and conversion-optimized checkout which achieves unparalleled high conversion rates between the first step and last step of your sales funnel.
All in all, the possibilities that mobile applications present for the leisure industry in terms of conversion, retention and ROI are simply mouth-watering, so if you’re interested in knowing a little bit more about how to reap the benefits of mobile as part of your e-commerce journey make sure to read “3 ways mobile technology can improve ticket sales and guest experience”.
So there you have them, our 5 best practices for your online ticket shop! Would you add any to the list? What are the strategies that are working best for your own venue? Let us know in the comments below and let’s keep the conversation going!