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Front Gate launches mobile sites to increase ticket revenueBy
Internet ticket service Front Gate Tickets is optimizing ticket sellers’ Web sites to connect them with customers in the mobile space.
Front Gate is among the first independent ticket vendors targeting handheld users. Its mobile-optimized Web sites are intended to provide quick and convenient access to tickets for concerts, festivals and other live events.
“Front Gate Tickets has both a B2B and B2C component to its business,” said Jeff Kreinik, vice president of sales and marketing atFront Gate Tickets, Austin, TX. “Our clients are promoters, festivals, artists and venue operators – all of whom rely on our technology to sell tickets directly to fans.
“With that, our B2B strategy is to develop a competitive advantage that both increases new business opportunities and loyalty with our existing clients,” he said. “In order to do so, we believe providing leading-edge features and tools that help our clients market and sell tickets through new and developing channels is the way to go.”
Front Gate Tickets claims to be one of the largest independent online ticket providers in the nation. Its clients include Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival and the High Sierra Festival in Quincy, CA.
Front Gate has already rolled out an iPhone-optimized version of a number of its clients’ Web sites, and plans to launch additional sites compatible with other phones – including handhelds running on BlackBerry and Android operating systems – in the coming weeks.
Clients who already have Front Gate mobile Web sites up and running include Aspen, CO-based venue Belly Up, Aspen and Higher Ground in South Burlington, VT.
Belly Up Aspen’s Web site is a streamlined version of its traditional Front Gate Web site, and features a set of icons at the top of the page that lets users switch between events listings, their shopping cart and information about the site.
A digital timer lets customers know how long the tickets they selected will be reserved so they can better gauge how much time they have to order.
Here is a screen grab of the shopping cart on a Front Gate Tickets mobile Web site:
Mobile ticketing a nascent field
Front Gate tickets first explored the option of mobile ticketing after realizing that many of its customers were using their handhelds to place orders.
“We have seen an increased amount of mobile traffic to our portal at www.frontgatetickets.com and our client-branded ticketing sites,” Mr. Kreinik said. “But, the user experience was not the best it could be.
“As a result, we made a decision to optimize the user experience to quickly and easily encourage a transaction,” he said. “Users can even store their credit cards to facilitate quicker purchases in the future.
“Now, our clients can continue promoting their events via SMS messaging, Twitter and Facebook, and expect to capture immediate ticket sales via mobile phones.”
With the addition of a mobile Web site, Front Gate now provides clients with five channels to sell their tickets: traditional tethered Internet, a toll-free call center, box offices, outlets in certain states and the mobile channel.
Front Gate Tickets is promoting the mobile Web site through a number of channels, including client newsletters and personal calls.
“We are, however, encouraging our clients to communicate with their customers, the ticket buyers, that mobile ticket sales are now available,” Mr. Kreiniksaid. “Our servers recognize an iPhone user and asks whether buyers want the mobile or traditional web shopping experience.
“Therefore, some ticket buyers may learn about mobile ticket sales during a ticket purchase,” he said.
About 2 million tickets were sold on mobile devices last year, according to a Juniper Research study – a small fraction of all ticket sales.
Still, Front Gate Tickets hopes to use its new mobile Web site to develop a competitive advantage in the mobile space.
“From a B2C standpoint, we recognize that mobile commerce will only grow from here,” Mr. Kreinik said. “Feedback we receive from ticket buyers is that they learn about events on their mobile devices and therefore want to buy tickets for those events in the same fashion.”
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