Working with organisations rebuilding their brand, digital presence or ticketing often sees us witness “interesting” decisions. Often lost in the battle for budget is the importance of the cart.

So some people don’t like the word, they prefer basket, apologies, I had to use cart to use the title.

it is a FACT that the money comes from the contents of the cart

I’m not taking sides, talking down web developers, digital marketers or bigging up the box office, but it is a FACT that the money comes from the contents of the cart…….if it doesn’t get abandoned.

We shouldn’t just look as the cart as a reciprocal, it is in the supermarket version, but online it’s where the “good stuff” should happen.

Back in 2008, whilst with (now part of Advanced Ticketing) we had one of the first systems to dynamically reprice carts, both in the box office and online. In fairness others had it too, but needed significant technical resource to drive it.

Now we see some of the leading systems deliver drag and drop rules for price manipulation. The latest version, 12.5, I believe, of Tessitura bring these new pricing rules right to the finger tips of users.

We must also acknowledge that these tools are common now in most systems right across the price ranges with Toptix’s SRO4 going way beyond just price in dynamic manipulation as basket level. Spektrix, AudienceView, Monad and Ticketsolve also offer clever tools too.

achieving what we all want, more bums on seats

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that by getting customers to form a cart, online, in person or even through a third party agency, WE (ticketing, marketing, programming) are just one step away from achieving what we all want, more bums on seats (Sorry Roger, hearts and minds) – people engaged and revenue earned.

It is amazing therefore that how dreary the /cart.htm or /basket.aspx pages can be. Lack of brand compliance issues, spelling mistakes, overlapping text, the list goes on and on.

Today I came across a horrendous implementation of the basket. Times New Roman, mixed with Aerial, obscured graphics and nonsensical tick boxes labeled ‘Phone’ and ‘Theatre Partners’ – no explanation, just tick boxes.

I can understand that people may choose to overly test their home page, multi browser, platform and device all play a part in greatly affecting what your lovely website will actually look like to real customers.

The trouble with deteriorating quality or standards as the journey progresses for a customer, coupled with natural drop off is just going to drive your conversion through the floor. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting a reversal of what we find now, a hashed together home page and superbly srtyled, multi device and OS optimized basket, I am saying that perhaps we should work the journey backwards.

Starting with a basket, ask the question, “How can I get the most amount of people to complete this page?” or “add more to the cart??”

You can then work backwards to the seating plan and do the same.

Remember the real hard work has been done, the customer knows about the show, the venue, they have come to the site, indicated what they want to see, when and perhaps with whom.

If you haven’t for a while I suggest you take some time to build a cart and then ask yourself what you could change or even trial to try and improve conversions.

Many systems support custom javascript on pages, I was recently having great fun manipulating how a basket appeared in a demo PatronBase account by using Optimizely to change button colours, text and measure the results, does “Buy Now” or “Secure your Tickets” work best? Try it for yourself.

We’re in ecommerce. I know a few of you will disagree, but we are and it’s all about conversions. Getting people to pay for what’s in the cart. So it seems a good place to focus our attention, don’t you think?