This is a small piece I have been mulling over for a while. I settled for supercharging rather than “pimping out your websales”, as on testing searches it threw up a few issues with Internet filters!

We all love adding new little things don’t we? That ringtone to your mobile, that news app on your tablet or desktop. It’s funny how small pieces of content or function can make a good experience into a great one, or just make a task that much easier.

We often look at this with regards to websites too, don’t we? We always want to make it easy to sign up for a newsletter, so we add a widget to home page, or the show pages, and we have Google analytics on the site so we can understand the number of visitors. But how often do we add widgets or functions to the web-sales elements themselves, as opposed to just the “front end” of the website?

If, of course, you build your web sales tools against an API and from the ground up, then you can specify some of these elements during the design and build, but each one will be another area to test and debug with each system upgrade.

The use of “out of the box” (OOTB) web sales skins, sites or web elements, such as we see in many systems, takes a great deal of the costs and hassles out of upgrades, as the supplier takes care of this. Unfortunately, once this happens, you lose control in some ways of these add ons, that you could choose to enhance the web-sales process for end-users or for your own analytics.

hello I am Alex, how can I help you?

In the process of updating areas of this site as well as Ticketing Professionals one, I have come across a number of really fun “plug-ins” – great for the purpose I was looking for, but perhaps also for some ticketing websites too.

Below are some of the key ones that we should thinking about. To be hyper annoying, I decided to try and turn these on  for this page, perhaps as a warning about how we can ‘over-engage’

Agent Chat

I am not a big fan of these on SO MANY sites: you are browsing for 20 seconds and BANG, up comes a full screen box “hello I am Alex, how can I help you?”, you know the ones. However, when you are actually wanting some help, can’t find it in FAQs, online chat can make a huge difference to your opinion of the visit, but also the conversion rate.

Whereas it is not ingrained in the booking system itself, I love how the New Wolsey in Ipswich, UK, has enabled the tool throughout their whole online experience. I even gave it a go when researching this post.

New Wolsey Website

The New Wolsey theatre uses OLARK to allow customers to chat with box office staff


Quick Feedback

The example below is quite neat: the tab just sits quietly at the side of the page. Feedback, as we all know from monitoring web site comments can range massively, from the useful, insightful to the downright weird. Of course, feedback is a very wide ranging blanket and could be used to pick up spilling (SIC) and grammatical mistakes, technical issues, usability or accessibility.

Feedback on a website

There are hundred of website plug ins for feedback. Why none for Ticketing?

“we think there may be an issue with Safari on Android tablets for people paying by Amex”

What could we use it for? Anything. Especially when it is linked to the specific page so able to capture details of OS, Browser and many other characteristics. How many times as a vendor or venue have we had THOSE conversations “we think there may be an issue with Safari on Android tablets for people paying by Amex” – the use of a feedback button to screen shot and send diagnostics could really be a tool, even just on a new website launch.

Surveys, Forms and the Like

I am impressed with a few, and only a few, systems that can deliver real dynamic surveys or questions, based on basket contents, using per order or per “ticket” logic, I’ve seen this recently with Audienceview. Away from the “how many tickets, who are you and how are you paying?” there are hundreds of questions or themes we could possibly explore with our customers. We need to be careful that in order to buy a movie ticket we are not making the process long and convoluted, but if we think about gradual data collection and enrichment, where we only ask relevant and unanswered questions gradually, over time, we could learn so much more about our customers.

So, it’s a bit silly, but could we use this to capture better and richer information to make our guests’ visits smoother?

Proper Google Analytics

Proper you ask? Yes I say. All too often some venues just use GA to tell themselves or others how ‘good’ their website is. 30,000 page impressions last week, 16,000 unique visitors, 25% on mobile devices.  Who do these stats actually mean anything to? 76% of Pantomime BOOKINGS come from our dedicated micro-site, 32% of total revenues are from mobile devices, 10% of new bookers come from the “Buy Tickets” button on the home pages, not our pages of content on each show. These are what I call real stats, to help make informed business decisions.

Who do these stats actually mean anything to?

Too many vendors “support” Google Analytics by simply allowing a code to be inserted on each transaction page. That’s it. Many website plugins are available and some ticketing suppliers support passing more to Analytics.

I particularly enjoy how well Toptix’s SRO4 is integrated pretty much out of the box to to allow great insights such as this


Let’s look at where the money is coming from online………like normal retailers do.


Straight to Automation Central

Before we start, there are numerous ticketing platforms and email providers out there, but I absolutely LOVE how Ticketsolve have joined up the buying experience with the use of some of the advanced features in Mailchimp.

By integrating an advanced set of data passing to Mailchimp, such as the show date, genre, basket total and many other fields, a whole series of automation can be configured ONCE and left to continually market to customers based on demonstrated behaviour, patterns and available products.

it could be a real game changer to get a whole load of these marketing tasks automated.

Whereas many of you may have large or sizeable marketing departments, many don’t. So automatically building this weeks’ “What’s on” email and sending to everyone on the database is not that advanced, but sending a comedy slanted version to those who purchase comedy more than music and vice versa is. Now eliminate any shows they have already purchased for, change the headline pricing because they are a member already gives at least 8 possible variations tailored to those groups of customers.

This is no doubt possible through use of your ticketing systems’ segmentation tools and sending the lists, or flags, to your email provider, like we see with Spektrix and dotmailer but it could be a real game changer to get a whole load of these marketing tasks automated.

It’s not hard: we use it on the Ticketing Professionals website, a small add on to Event Espresso, simply marks an attendance flag in a Mailchimp record.

Mailchimp Integration

Mailchimp accepts many API calls to update lists

A/B Testing Tools

Ron Evans once told me a story about how an organisation he was working with changed their “Book Now” to “Buy Tickets” button on their website. The result?

That’s obvious! Well is it? Perhaps.

Decreased bounce rate from the home page, increase in overall conversion rates (visits that resulted in a purchase) and decrease in pages to conversions (as people could more easily find what they wanted to do)

Buy Tickets Button

Will all customers understand where this will take them? Probably

Now on telling that story, as I have many times, people often respond, “well that’s obvious!” Well is it? Perhaps, but what about the colour of the button. Would a blue one work better? Maybe that would be more “on brand”. Craig Sullivan sums this up best in this video. If you have not watched any of his online presentations I would recommend them.

There are a large number of tools out there to let you optimise your site. We are not talking about mobile optimisation here, but conversion optimisation. Making smaller, informed decisions, measuring the effect on customer visits to find the best layout, colours or words. Tools like Optimizely can have you up and running in minutes with two different ‘buy now’ buttons serving them up on a 50:50 basis and the value of sales that each one delivers. In fairness, unless you are a sizeable retailer, the results are not going to be statistically significant, but could still give a clear indication of which one works better or is more understood by customers.

In order to use tools such as Optimizely you need the ability to add custom Javascript to pages, something that some OOTB ticketing system sites, such as PatronBase’s skins easily allow customers to do.

Are these Super-charging?

No, OK not super-charging, but we are refocusing away from what just ‘looks nice’ and at least getting our websales actually doing what they are supposed to……..engaging with customers and as one great slide from Ticketing Professionals in February said…….


Sell some more f***ing tickets!