By Maitane Zarate on 2/23/21 12:45 PM
The pandemic has overshadowed many areas of the Experience Economy, having a devastating impact on its profitability, due to its sudden and inevitable decline in economic activity. However, it has also been fuel for unprecedented innovation.
The Ultimate ROI Framework For eCommerce In The Experience Economy
Crises can often shake and tear down frozen structures, and let’s face it, the world of leisure and attractions has been relying on frozen and obsolete pillars for quite some time now.
Similarly to when a life-changing event disrupts our lives on a personal level and forces us to grow into the next version of ourselves, organizations - their processes, their culture, their values, their vision… - must also change along with the world around them.
In times of great disruption and change, new priorities are set, values are scrutinized, and the urgency in terms of what needs to be done shifts, giving way to growth.
And that is exactly what COVID19’s outbreak has brought to the experience economy, a much needed development up the maturity curve.
Nevertheless, although there has been a gear up the curve, many venues are still operating far behind their potential.
In this article we are introducing Convious’ eCommerce maturity model, as a practical framework for operators and venues within the Experience Economy to identify where they’re at, and what are the steps needed in order to advance onto the next stage.
Meet Convious' eCommerce maturity model.
Maturity models are frameworks that help assess the maturity level in a specific domain. This particular maturity model is aimed to help you assess your venue’s eCommerce digital maturity, as well as to identify how to bridge the gap between where you currently stand and where you have the potential to be, by planning a roadmap for the future.
- Sells offline
- Highly reliant on box office, POS, or third party resellers
- Digital technologies shine for their absence
In their infancy, venues operate fully offline, relying on their box office and resellers as their main selling channels.
This was already limited and narrow-minded in a pre-pandemic world, but now that COVID has precluded walk-up culture in order to avoid unexpected crowds and risky high-touch selling processes, venue’s who are solely selling its tickets and experiences offline have its days counted.
Not only because the interactions, money exchanges, and queues involved in selling physically through box offices is not COVID-compliant, but also because the development of the pandemic has shifted many of our behaviours online, commerce being one of the most note-worthy.
If you want to read more about how dramatically consumer shopping behaviour has changed during the past several months, giving a boost to the rise of eCommerce, don’t miss this related article:
In essence, if you are in a “crawl” stage, you are leaving a huge amount of money on the table, but even worse, leaving a mass share of your audience unattended. Crawling is just bad news all around, because it is the result of unfulfilled potential, providing very little return in terms of time and value for the amount of resources invested.
- Has a website, but it’s not optimized for conversion.
- Sells online (but is not yet fully embracing the eCommerce model)
The “walk” stage of the eCommerce maturity model is home to those venues that have managed to build a decent-looking website which also includes an online ticket shop. However, sadly, very few are actually optimized for conversion or a satisfying user experience.
Although these venues make an arduous effort on delighting their guests during their visit and giving them the best time possible in-venue, when it comes to their online experience, it is evident that it hasn’t been designed with their visitor top of mind.
Quite contrarily, it is not uncommon that inefficiencies and lack of smoothness reign all through their online presence. They operate from the assumption that that “e” on "eCommerce" is easily fulfilled by just having an online web-shop. Because that's all electronic commerce must be, right?
Related read: What is eCommerce and why should venues care?
When people think about eCommerce, they usually think of an online store, but there is so much more involved in eCommerce than just selling online.
In fact, we recently dedicated a full blog post on this topic:
So, what are some of the characteristics if you are a venue within the “walk” stage?
- You sell tickets online (whether that’s day tickets, season passes, reservations, upsells…)
- You provide your visitors with e-tickets
- You provide discount and voucher codes
- You allow upfront reservations
- You allow easy rescheduling and refunds
- You have turnstile and scanner integration technologies
- You have a POS integration
Although it is not a bad starting point, there are still a number of things that will make the difference between staying stuck this "walk" phase or moving onto a "running" one.
- Their eCommerce and online marketing is optimized through data-driven technology.
- They embrace a D2C eCommerce model by which they can leverage the power of their own data.
This is where you want to be. When you’re running, you can leverage inertia. It means you are actually using powerful tools, which allow you to achieve higher ROI, through the implementation of smart and automated technologies that improve your efficiency and accuracy in terms of serving your customers at every stage of their journey.
The main key ingredient for you to be able to step into the “running” stage is leveraging the power of your own first-hand customer data in multiple areas within your organization, from your inventory, staffing or marketing all the way up to your sales and pricing strategies (for instance, implementing A.I.-driven and automated dynamic pricing strategies).
For that to happen, it is crucial that you are not relying on third-party resellers to achieve volume, but rather on your own direct-to-consumer sales channels.
Related read: How going D2C can protect your brand from the pandemic.
Going direct-to-consumer actually allows brands within the experience economy to develop innovation-driving customer insights, influence and connect with their customers at every stage of their customer journey, deliver highly personalized experiences, or to tap into subscription-based recurring revenue streams, just to mention a few.
Venues who are already mature enough to be thriving in this “running” stage, have put Conversion Rate Optimization at the fore-front of their strategy and are leveraging the data gathered from their customers for continuous optimization of their offered experience.
The great thing about the running stage and embracing data-driven automation is that it’s like turning on an engine that drives continuous improvement and growth for your business. Put another way, you’ll basically be able to do thighs better, cheaper, and faster, which is exactly what your goal should be.
- Next-level automation.
- Implementation of advanced A.I.
Trying to find a venue deep in the “fly” stage these days is still like trying to look for a needle in a haystack. There are not many attractions which are leveraging advanced machine-learning and artificial intelligence in their venue’s strategy, although we are starting to see the industry pick-up pace in that direction, particularly boosted by the pandemic’s impact.
The great news about that is that if you can level-up your eCommerce and digitalization strategy towards a flying stage, you will have gained a very unique competitive advantage in your industry, through strategies such as next-level personalization, which are key conversion-drivers.
When you’re “flying”, you are integrating all of the areas within your venue with smart technologies that have the potential to transform the way your business operates - and therefore its results - inside out, just by taking repetitive and inefficient work out from your staff’s hands, and making processes more reliable, predictable, and efficient.
Making Your Way Through the Attraction's eCommerce maturity model.
Each level of the eCommerce maturity model is obviously more complex than the one before it and going from one to the next takes increasingly greater investments in terms of time and money. However, you'll find that the results you get from doing so - delivering better and more convenient online experiences, higher conversions, more loyalty and return customers, operational efficiency, cheaper processes...- are also increasingly more worth the effort, because thanks to smart automation, each stage has the power to deliver higher ROI than the previous one.
In the end, there is a learning curve in everything we do. We've been going through them our whole lives, and therefore we know that we have to learn to crawl before we can walk, and learn to walk before we can run.
However, flying works a little differently. The difference with going from "running" to "flying" is that flying usually requires a leap of faith. It requires some extra trust, because it feels more risky.
It's a bit like jumping off a plane. With time, you might get comfortable with solo dives, but to start with, you need the guidance, knowledge and equipment that an instructor who knows the drill can offer.
That is why at Convious we are focused on empowering venues and attractions within the experience economy to create the best online and offline experiences for their visitors through a full-fledged eCommerce suite that will give them the confidence and wings to fly and reach maximum growth while staying in full control.
If you'd like to know more about how our award-winning eCommerce software for attractions can help your venue scale up over the maturity curve, don't hesitate to reach out to our team of experts who will be glad to discuss your business goals and suggest the most optimal solution to get your venue to new heights.