It’s very easy to underestimate ticketing and all it’s complexities.
Recently TicketMaster have been in the press a couple of times due to some unfortunate incidents around the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and the 2014 Commonwealth games...
It’s easy to play the blame game, (and tempting, as one of their competitors!) but rather than look at whether they are at fault, or whether I could have done better, I'd like to look at why ticketing isn't as simple as it first seems. and why the increasing complexity is bad for all of us.
Firstly the increasing consumer ease of use of the internet, and the rise of new, simpler payment methods such as PayPal and PowaTag, along with simplified OneClick* customer journeys on sites like Amazon are constantly raising customer, and clients expectations of what the online experience should be.
Oh how I would love to be Amazon, where every product is unique, oh how I would love to sell an iPod, where the only choice the customer has is the size, or maybe the colour…
Amazon** list its items by Product, so if you search for an iPod you'll see all the different iPods in the search list, there are 100 or so in all...
But when you sell tickets for a gig, every single seat is it’s own product, there may be 50,000 or more seats, across 5 nights with 15 different price zones, complimentary tickets, held tickets, special tickets that come with added extras, some go on sale as part of a pre-sale, some are held off till weeks before the event, some are unlocked with a code, some are for certain demographics, students, disabled people, Troops, OAPs, some are changing price throughout the lifecycle of the event... one gig at the LG Arena, at around 15,000 seats, could conceivibly return around 100,000 total products!
And would you like car parking with that, how about ticket insurance, or some drinks vouchers?
Try and OneClick* that, the payment is often the easiest piece.
...the thing is that all of this complexity is expected within ticketing nowadays, and more. And we, as agents or venues, are expected to dish it up with a side of super fast web pages and customer service… and, to be honest, it’s very tricky to do…
Generally speaking the more complex an operation, the slower it is carried out, the more load on the servers, the more support required, and the more risk… and then where does the money come from, higher booking fees? more charges? bigger deals that result in higher ticket prices... who does that help?
Over at the Ticket Factory we've doubled our quantity of servers in the last year alone! and we're researching more and more efficient ways to handle the complex requirements of todays clients, but...
...one of our key jobs as agencies and venues should be to guide clients towards simpler, more elegant solutions, that benefit the customer and the client alike.
Let's try and break down some of the complexity, it doesn't do anyone any good!
OneClick* we’ll never achieve, but let’s all try to be OneLessClick
*technically it takes about twelve clicks and around two hundred keystrokes to register for amazon’s one click service!
And even once you’re registered it’s one click after you’ve selected your product
You load amazon
You choose the electronics section - click
You can’t see an iPod so you search for it - click
You pick a colour - click
And a size - click
You sign in - click
And then you buy it through one click
there you go, simple, one click***
**Look, I'm not dissing Amazon here :) they do an amazing job, just pointing out one of the key differences between online retail E-commerce and ticketing E-commerce.
***"twelve clicks to register and an average of five clicks to buy” just doesn’t have the same ring to it!