Don’t tell anyone but Telecharge has a mobile site - for smart phones. Telecharge also has a mobile app. The Telecharge mobile site and app sell tickets (nearly 6% of the total tickets sold by Telecharge are on the mobile site to customers using a smart phone). The Telecharge mobile site and app sell tickets at the established box office price (what a concept!) - the regular price set by the show’s producers and managers; it is not a discount app or website. Tickets are available for any date – today, tomorrow, next week or next month. The mobile site has the theatre address with a map, the box office hours, the show’s running time and even the audience suitability. Just as all shows are different, not all shows sell the same on the mobile site. Shows that appeal to a younger demographic sell better on mobile than shows that attract an older, more traditional theatergoer; those shows sell more tickets and see a higher conversion rate. The well established Telecharge brand means regular theatergoers know about the site.
Over the last 20 years customers have demanded more functionality when buying tickets, which the desktop site offers. Selling theatre tickets has evolved quite a bit, starting first when theatres sold pre-printed hard tickets at the box office and by mail, where there was no choice as to what seat you received. When sales by telephone started, customers received the “best available” seats; exact seat locations were not provided. Time marched on, seat locations were provided, more search functionality was added, tickets were sold on websites and eventually customers could pick seat locations from a map.
Technological changes did not stop there; soon everyone had a mobile phone that could access the internet. Customers grew to love one touch ordering – usually of simple products or items they ordered often. Theatre tickets, however, have always been seen by customers as unique. Do I want to go on Tuesday night at 7 PM in Q 10-12 or Thursday at 8 PM in P 11-13? Are the customers who pushed us over the last 20 years to add more functionality to the ticket buying process the same as those who want easy one touch buying on their smart phone, or are they different customers? Most shows still see more sessions on the desktop version of the Telecharge website, which includes tablets, than the mobile – but not all shows. There is evidence that some customers shop on one platform and buy on another.
Are we using mobile in the best manner possible? Everyone gets excited talking about mobile. Perhaps mobile is as much a platform for assisting out of town customers doing research as it is a sales platform? For the out of town visitor unfamiliar with the city or the theatres who sees outdoor advertising, they might be likely to use their smart phone to look up ticket information on your show; some outdoor advertising lacks the theatre address so the presumption I guess is the customer either inherently knows it or will look it up on their phone (outdoor often does not include the phone number either). Telecharge sees upwards of 1,000 sessions a week for some shows on the mobile website. Some of those linked to us from the show website – but not all. Not all customers to a show’s website, mobile or otherwise, link through to ticketing. Does your show’s mobile website easily provide the news people can use such as the theatre address, performance schedule and all of your prices (hint: many tourists at the box office buy the cheap seats)? Can they easily find your show website searching on their mobile device? Maybe they just want the running time so they can determine what time the show lets out.
We do sell a lot of tickets on mobile but we service more customers looking for information. For transactions mobile is great for easy banking and re-ordering supplies that are part of a recurring order. Mobile could be a platform to help customers find the theatre box office and the show’s prices. The design of the show website and the information provided on outdoor advertising should reflect this.