Usablenet’s mobile platform, a tool long familiar to travelers and commuters, is beginning to make its mark in the mobile ticketing world.
Launched in 2000, Usablenet sought to translate web material into a mobile-friendly product for consumers. The company, with offices in both New York City and Udine, Italy, worked first with Amtrak to offer passengers cutting edge web-to-mobile service. Initially, it remained in the service of the traveling population, soon starting accounts with air travel providers such as Jet Blue and hotel chains such as Hilton Hotels. Next was a foray into the world of commuters, translating the Web sites of transit companies into mobile for their daily riders.
Most recently the company has been working with retailers such as CVS, Staples, Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle, and in the past year, it has added two major ticketers, Telecharge and Tickets.com, to its list of clients.
As Jason Taylor, Usablenet’s VP of Mobile Products, explained: “What Usablenet mobile allows our clients to do is to…identify anything on their Web site that they want to offer to their mobile users. Usablenet then goes about extending that and becoming the client’s mobile partner.” Much of the company’s technology has come from its earlier efforts to provide web-to-mobile service for the disabled, which the company now markets as a separate package entitled Usablenet Assistive.
Taylor highlighted four qualities of Usablenet’s platform that defines it as unique in today’s mobile and ticketing markets. “First, it requires no IT development or backend coding, so all [the client has] to have is a website. Second, it supports all mobile phones worldwide, as long as a phone is web-enabled. Third, we have a very fast delivery mechanism of 6-8 weeks. And fourth, there is no functionality (of a website) that we can’t make mobile.”
Discussing the relatively new relationship that Usablenet enjoys with Tickets.com and Telecharge, Taylor said, “The general idea is that, especially with Tickets.com, [we are] a vehicle for two specific things. One is last minute tickets, to take advantage of deals when you are not near a computer. Also, if you are on the road or visiting a town, you can buy tickets for that town. Moments when you’re not near your computer make mobile a powerful solution.”
When asked about the transferability of tickets from Tickets.com and Telecharge through Usablenet mobile services, Taylor noted that Usablenet provides the technology only and has no control over the nature of services offered by the web client: “The way that our platform works is it extends the business features of our clients. Whatever those sites offer in terms of benefits or transfer options, then those are available to the mobile customer.”
Derek Palmer, Chief Commercial Officer for Tickets.com, notes that Usablenet has been providing web-to-mobile services for the company since November of 2008, and that Tickets.com has been pleased with the relationship.
“What they offer is not just a generic flow but also a customized look and feel, the same look and feel as the website. It’s a real advantage from a branding perspective. [It leaves the] consumer feeling comfortable that they are dealing with the organization’s site,” Palmer said.
As for transferability of tickets, that is still a work in progress. “Nobody’s doing that currently,” Palmer added, “though there’s nothing from a technology standpoint that would prevent someone from doing that, as long as there was an integration with a reseller and the primary ticketing provider. We have an integration with StubHub [in their relationship with] Major League Baseball, but we have not gone down the path of doing mobile with them.”
After starting discussions with Usablenet a year and a half ago, Telecharge came on board this past summer. Jennifer Tattenbaum, Interactive Services Director for Telecharge, has also seen the benefits of going mobile.
“I had been focused on [use of] the mobile site for customer service, to check the address of your venue, to get info about an event. I thought that people would be hesitant to input their credit card number into a mobile device, so I didn’t picture it as something that would generate ticket sales. A lot has changed in a year and a half, and it’s turned into a sales channel.” As for transferability, mobile tickets from Telecharge are bound by the same restrictions as those purchased on the Telecharge Web site, and so are non-transferable. Tattenbaum declined to comment on the reasons why Telecharge does not offer a transferable product at this time.