Seeing high demand for an improved consumer-buying experience, analytics firm TixTrack is preparing to launch a web-based ticketing system designed to create a seamless purchase process for consumers.
TixTrack CEO Steven Sunshine is unveiling Nliven at the International Ticketing Association conference (INTIX) , which opens tomorrow in Anaheim. Nliven is the culmination of six years of studying consumer buying habits and sales analytics from clients like Cirque du Soleil. For its arena touring shows, Cirque du Soleil has been using TixTrack’s analytics tools to analyze available tickets and identify sales targets.
“It’s an integral part of our operation, and we couldn’t run our arena shows without it,” said Eric Valley, Ticket Sales Director at Cirque du Soleil. “It’s like getting a fresh pair of eyes on our inventory to help us identify inventory holes, manage our pricing and improve our ticketing queues. It was really a game changer for us when we began working with TixTrack.”
Sunshine told Amplify that Nliven expands on TixTrack’s analytics tools. He describes the evolution of the primary ticketing system as a series of breakthroughs: First the company developed a sold-seat map, so promoters could identify patterns in how their inventory was sold. That was followed by pricing engines to help promoters understand the value of their inventory and make better pricing and marketing decisions.
“Ultimately, we realized our pricing analytics were limited by the purchasing process,” explained Sunshine. “Your inventory might be priced right, but the buying process was poor and the conversion rate was very low.”
Nliven is a ticketing solution that combines data-rich pricing guidance with an easy-to-use purchase flow, developed to help consumers make better-informed decisions. He said the company ran experiments with tickets priced the same, but sold on separate platforms, to evaluate how important ease of purchase was to facilitating a transaction.
“When we put out a much better buying process at the exact same prices, we converted twice as many people,” he said. “Pricing is supply and demand. If you’re throwing away half your demand because people can’t figure out how to buy, or it’s too hard to buy, that puts downward pressure on your prices.”
Higher mobile conversion and an improved customer buying experience is why Cirque du Soleil has utilized the Nliven mobile buying process for their traveling Big Top Shows for the past two years.
Another important aspect of the Nliven platform is its open API, allowing clients to make inventory available to third-party distribution channels in a more streamlined way.
“We’re operating in a world where people are used to going to many different places to buy a product,” Sunshine said. “If you want to buy a retail item, you can find it in dozens of places. Until recently, if you wanted to buy a live entertainment ticket, you were funneled through a single path.”
In Europe, most venues forgo exclusive ticketing contracts for allocation models, but even that system is flawed because there’s no means to quickly reallocate tickets. If a promoter hands over inventory to a third party and it’s not selling, there’s not much one can do to claw that inventory back. Nliven utilizes a common pool system with everyone pulling tickets from the same place.
“That way, sellers who are selling lots can keep selling all that they can, and sellers who aren’t doing a very good job selling have access but aren’t taking inventory away from the successful channels,” he said.
Another differentiator, Sunshine explained, is the ability for TixTrack clients to easily make changes on the fly. Whether it’s adding shows, changing prices, creating seat maps or placing holds, the enterprise Nliven system “offers the possibility of much more freedom for the client to take control of their own events to a much greater degree than they’ve ever been able to before,” he said.
How much does it cost to use?
“We charge a flat cost,” Sunshine said. “We don’t make all of our money from the additional fees that traditional ticketing systems charge. We believe that should be money for our customers. We have a flat-cost model, and we leave it up to venuess or promoter to decide how fees are charged and allocated.”
As Nliven prepares to make a big splash at INTIX, Sunshine said his firm is targeting the reserved seating market, as well as venues and promoters looking for a feature-heavy, low-fee model. He believes there’s a big market for enterprise systems with powerful analytics tools coupled with an easy-to-use customer interface.
“Nliven is a true end-to-end ticketing system for clients who want a new way of doing ticketing. It’s for ticket sellers looking for something more self-service where they have more control,” Sunshine said. “They get all the benefits of the consumer-facing product, but they also get huge benefits in terms of a backend experience. It’s a very visual framework — the maps we use for reporting are the same maps we use for consumer purchasing as well as event setup. When you’re creating an event, it’s a very simple intuitive process in a visual framework.”
To learn more about TixTrack, or to see a demo of the Nliven platform, visit booth 317 at INTIX.
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