by Tom Mucklow (Addressy

Ever flip through your old ticket stubs and reminisce? For many, it’s a recollection of that once-in-a-lifetime concert performance triggered by pieces of paper. For others, it’s getting through the door, armed with a smartphone that makes the memory. And now doing so has become easier than ever, thanks to mobile ticketing.

The ticketing business has come a long way since the days when customers waited weeks for paper tickets to arrive in their mailbox. Today, concert and sporting event tickets are beamed to your phone in milliseconds, and digitally scanned at the venue through a seamless electronic transaction.

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From top-line numbers, the concert ticket industry is especially reaping the benefits of mobile ticketing. In fact, the concert ticket industry is forecasted by Technavio to be worth $24bn globally by 2021.

But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the actual market opportunity. The unfortunate truth is, when it comes to digital, too many ticket providers are still underperforming. The online experience lacks the responsiveness that customers need to complete a purchase, and this is especially the case in mobile.

Mcommerce begets Mobile Ticketing

Although it is pretty effortless to receive and retrieve tickets on a mobile device, many brands have still not mastered the mobile conversion process that can actually sell more tickets.

A key problem is friction. What many in other corners of mcommerce realized a long time ago, is that completing a transaction on a 5-inch piece of glass is tricky, and that is doubly so when a consumer has to enter their address and bank card details for the first time. Many sellers have yet to implement solutions that can help verify customer payment and address information with less friction.

For retailers with returning customers, the keystroke requirements to complete a purchase are less of a problem. In ticketing, purchases are far more sporadic, and customers are likely to be more promiscuous. This makes reducing the friction during mobile checkouts pivotal – and this has the ability to significantly move the needle for m-ticket sales.

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According to a Baymard study, a complicated and difficult checkout process is one of the main reasons for cart abandonment amongst online consumers. The industry should take note, and consider upgrading their ticketing software to meet the demands of today’s on-the-go mobile user.

More knowledge needed

Today, most ecommerce and marketing decisions are influenced by analytics. But ticket operators seem to be lagging behind.

According to a FutureTix/Evento survey, half of operators don’t even know what proportion of their web traffic comes from either mobile or desktop. The answer significantly impacts the way they should be presenting tickets, and processing transactions. Without this caliber of data, sellers are unable to tailor their approach to best serve their customers.

Those sellers who do measure their web traffic by device report nearly half of all users coming through mobile. The takeaway is clear – you need to quickly adopt technology that can optimize your checkout pages for today’s mobile consumer. That means clearly identifying form fields for name, addresses, and credit card information, and it means helping them submit that information with little to no effort.

Social commerce yet to take off

By now, social networks were supposed to have solved these problems. Remember all that talk of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest launching “Buy” buttons? The experiments may have been interesting, but when was the last time you bought a ticket through any of these platforms?

What did happen was that rather than social becoming a channel for commerce, it has become a channel for marketing.

The majority of respondents to the FutureTix/Evento survey say that they use social networks for ticket promotion, and that they will also in the not so distant future, use them as a sales channel.

The future is bright

The fabric of the ticketing business is being ripped up, and re-invented. It is time to start looking at the device that is central to the entire consumer event journey from purchase through to the perfect Instagram shot, as more than just a screen for delivery.

Mobile ticketing could have a tremendous impact in the growth of ticket sales, but to achieve that goal, the industry will have to optimize their checkout processes with software such as intelligent address verification that reduces the need for manual entry. It is time to start building for the mobile consumer, and providing them with the frictionless checkout experience that will keep them coming back.