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StubHub sees no easy solution to mobile Web vs. apps question

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January 20, 2015

StubHub's use of push notifications

StubHub’s use of push notifications

NEW YORK – A StubHub executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said that as the company looks to build its mobile presence, an ongoing challenge is where to maintain its presence, whether it be mobile Web or mobile applications.

During the “Building a Marketplace and Delivering Experiences Beginning and Ending with Fans” session, the executive discussed the contribution that mobile makes to the business industry and whether it is additive, complementary or displacing, as well as whether StubHub’s business is better suited for mobile Web or one or more mobile apps. For a service that thrives on the mobile channel, StubHub believes that listening to its customers and responding to their needs provides the best marketing reach.

“Mobile has solved the problem of waiting in line,” said Michael Lattig, head of brand and creative, StubHub. “We now live in a world where, on my phone, I can find out about an event that is happening.

“I can click right through and buy tickets, and then I can use that same device to go to the event,” he said. “That is the end-to-end promise that mobile is bringing to us that didn’t exist before, and it’s being enabled by that common DNA, using it as an integration point around every step of the customer journey.

“That’s essential to us.”

Broadening its reach
The StubHub marketplace is inherently mobile and is constantly looking for ways to grow its business. Social is also highly integrated with the StubHub experience. Users are encouraged to share their recently purchased tickets to further drive its marketing efforts.

StubHub has tapped geofencing and targeted, for example, New York Yankees fans with tickets that have been in a nearby location to the stadium. Mr. Lattig believes these capabilities would not be possible without the mobile channel.

Still, challenges arise, and StubHub wonders whether it should invest in multiple apps or concentrate more on the app world or Web world. During his presentation, Mr. Lattig opened the conversation to the floor and asked FirstLook attendees about their perspectives.

He also said StubHub is constantly questioning whether the mobile channel serves as more of an additive, complementary or displacing facility.

Offering partnerships
In summer 2014, Wendy’s used online and mobile Web to reach live events fans with a special offer to save on their ticket purchases with StubHub.

The fast food chain attempted to aggressively advertise its Right Price Right Size (RPRS) menu by discounting $1.50, the same cost as many of its value items, off the purchase price of some baseball and concert tickets $30 or under from eBay-owned StubHub. The campaign was an example of how Wendy’s was renewing its focus on value-conscious consumers after acknowledging it had lost ground with these consumers by not promoting its value menu items in 2013 (see story).

In 2012, StubHub updated its mobile site and app with the seating feature that helps users make quick decisions on where to buy tickets.

An executive at the Media Tech Summit 2012 conference, an executive said that the company had 20 percent of traffic coming from handsets at the time, showing how the company was steadily ramping up its mobile presence. The seating feature was rolled out across the company’s mobile site and iPhone and Android app (see story).

“What we’re enabling with mobile is personal and timely communication points,” Mr. Lattig said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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