Roger and I are running a repeating  20 minute session at the Arts Marketing Association conference in Birmingham later this July.  It’s a brief introduction on how to use Google Analytics to dissect your customers’ online ticketing journey.

As part of our session we will look at how to identify the pinch points, drop outs and stall sections of the journey.

If it annoys you, it annoys customers, and annoyed customers can easily become just annoyed and not really customers.

As data drugs go, Google Analytics can be pretty addictive and there is nothing more satisfying than watching real time goal conversions and e-Commerce scripts firing in front of your monitor screen.

I spent last night doing just this, whilst logged into a large entertainment venue’s Google Analytics account to configure some new settings in order to collate some data.

To be honest, this session has crept up on me, so I decided to see what Google themselves have to say about online basket abandonment, when I came across this fantastic video.

As much as we can all laugh and appreciate the stupidity, we probably all recognize the symptoms here, and have probably all experienced them, buying anything from an airline ticket to that Christmas gift for Auntie Pat!

find out where and when people dropped out or walked away, even where they went to; what it will not do though is to definitively tell you WHY

The analytics approach is a great method to find out where and when people dropped out or walked away, even where they went to; what it will not do though is to definitively tell you WHY.

So, without naming venues or system providers here’s a quick 5 things to look through on your own journey before settling down to some Analytics.

1. No Seats or Limited Seats

It is amazing how few venues (or systems) actually allow and publish the fact that inventory is running low. There is nothing worse than navigating into a seating plan to find only two seats remain ( one in the stalls and one in the dress circle). With a high demand show, perhaps the potential booker will leave if they cannot purchase a specific performance, but, for trying to find ANY seats in a four week run, basic availability details per perfromances help customers find tickets and avoid frustration or walking away.

Whereas some systems can go down to exact inventory being held, AudienceView for example have a great traffic light system available as part of their standard package.

Simple Traffic Lights Help Customers Avoid Sold Out Performances

Simple Traffic Lights Help Customers Avoid Sold Out Performances

 

2. Ridiculous Data Collection

This is one that does seem to end sessions, not just in ticketing but anything on line: the over zealous data collection.

When does it become intrusive to ask all of this? When does the customer just walk away?

When does it become intrusive to ask all of this? When does the customer just walk away?

Name, Address, Email, Phone Number, Privacy Options – the famous five of online ticketing.

Whereas the example above is not actually a ticketing transaction, it often can be. We all know the power of data, but really, what do we want to do with a customer with tickets in the basket? That’s right, close the sale and take the funds. Data collection needs to be limited to what is required and what will help us stay in touch with and nurture the customer.  How much of this could be obtained much earlier, especially by recognising returning customers through registration.  Data Protection guidance in the UK is that we must recognise the returning customer and not repeat data collection and permissions.

Name, Address, Email, Phone Number, Privacy Options – everything else will only push the customer further away. If you need to ask / collect anything else, explain it and make it easy to do!  We used to send follow-on “preference questionnaires” so we could tailor communications: definitely a better way to engage customers.

3. Payment Worries

So you have your tickets, you’ve selected your delivery, you’ve logged in and you press the pay button – Boom! You are transported to a new site, a new domain, a new ‘look and feel’ that is asking for Credit Card and address details.

I am not against third party payment screens, since a great many ticketing systems and e-commerce providers have to use them. We are all familiar with PayPal, being used to process eBay transactions or groceries from an online store, sometimes, they even have the logo in the corner!  There are a great many on-line payment gateway providers, most of which, give the ticketing system company the chance to customise the page and ensure it is seamless in ‘look and feel’ to maintain the venue’s branding and identity through the purchase process.

But look at this example below: Now, should I be worried? Well I know that Theatre A uses System B and Payment Processor C so when I see the screen below I think I understand who I am dealing with, but what for the general public – jittery? Will they close the browser and plan to call tomorrow?

ACTUAL payment page for a theatre. Only the PSP Brand is blacked out. Note : ZERO Theatre branding or reference.

ACTUAL payment page for a theatre. Only the PSP Brand is blacked out. Note : ZERO Theatre branding or reference.

4. HTTPS Warnings

As per the last point really. You have a great new website where FINALLY you can deep link shows, up-sell, have rich media, and  integrated credit card functionality. Then someone goes and adds unsecured links or resources to your transaction pages. The result? As below

Does this put off worried / vigilant consumers?

Does this put off worried / vigilant consumers?

5. Fees at the ‘Last’ Chance

So despite the changes in legislation (in Europe and the UK) surrounding the presentation of fees PRE-CONTRACT (law since June 2014), there are still organisations who seem insistent on hiding fees from the the consumer until the last possible moment, in the shopping basket.

We would hope that those that are legally bound to show fees will do so, or Trading Standards or the Advertising Standards Authority will be after them.  However, if your venue does not have to comply with such legislation, perhaps you should try?   All fees clearly upfront – “the price you see is the price you pay” – allows customers to have no nasty surprises in their basket.

Removing ‘price shock’ from the basket can allow you to focus on why there are people ditching their basket and try to resolve these issues as opposed to relying on a ‘hunch’ that the fees could have put them off.

What you could be doing today 

Take time to go through and navigate your site, from start to end, from selecting some shows, registering a new account and even getting through to a payment screen.

I challenge anyone not to find ONE thing they could improve: it could be a typo, a font, a colour or layout or something aesthetic. It could be a circular process where you keep being referred back to where you came from – surprisingly common.  Or a Continue button “below the fold” on tablets and laptops.  Perhaps it is a mandatory field that’s not marked as such or not clear, meaning you have to keep putting your credit card and/or CVV number in over and over again.  So there are issues for the web team or system provider to correct.

If it annoys you, it annoys customers, and annoyed customers can easily become just annoyed and not really customers.

I will be around with Roger at Consultant’s Corner on the 21st July in Birmingham at the Rep if you want to discuss your own web ticketing issues.