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Stubhub exec: Mobile expected to make up 30 to 50pc of sales

August 17, 2012

BOSTON – A Stubhub executive at the eTail Boston Mobile Shopping Summit said that as consumers move from desktops to mobile devices, it expects to see a significant shift in how users will interact with the company over the next five to six years.

During the “Developing A Holistic Mobile Strategy To Increase Revenues” session, executives from Etsy, Alaska Airlines, Mobify and Stubhub discussed how mobile has not only transformed their businesses but also tied directly into revenue streams. The panel was moderated by Rajesh Reddy, founder/CEO of July Systems, San Francisco.

“When we built our strategy and did some forecasting, we were looking at if we could come close to eBay’s growth when they started,” said Dre Madden, head of sales and revenue development of the new platforms group at Stubhub, San Francisco.

“We have big dreams to have anywhere near the same growth, but we’re seeing some significant changes,” she said. “We feel in the next five to six years, 30 to 50 percent of audience will be buying on a mobile device.”

Drive on mobile
According to Ms. Madden, the original strategy behind the company was to make it as simple and easy to buy tickets.

Now, the focus is to look at the products that the company has available and find ways to use mobile to improve them. For instance, by leveraging a device’s music collection, Stubhub could recommend relevant and similar concerts in an application.

Stubhub is also seeing that consumers with an iPhone spend more than Android users.

Additionally, the company is seeing a surge in tablets, specifically from the iPad, which is a main focus for the company’s mobile efforts. With different intentions for both buyers and sellers, Stubhub is doing research on mobile Web and app usage.

Stubhub has apps for both iPhone and Android devices, but the majority of traffic and revenue comes from the company’s mobile Web site.

One of the biggest challenges for the company is finding a way to make sure that technology is equally as important to venues as it is for consumers. For instance, mobile bar codes pose a huge opportunity for the company but can be difficult to roll out at a large scale in venues and at events.

Sell on mobile
Leland Rechis, director of product at Etsy, New York, believes that it is important for the company to have a balance between its buyers and sellers. While consumers are eager to buy goods on mobile, sellers are still primarily tethered to their laptops.

When it comes to apps versus the company’s mobile site, Mr. Rechis said that the company’s iPhone app has seen particularly high engagement.

Etsy has been in mobile for about a year, and has seen a particularly strong amount of traffic around iPads in the tablet category.

Mobile needs to be intertwined into every channel a marketer uses. For instance, email has high open rates on mobile devices, meaning that it is critical that both content and messages are optimized.

“The brand and experience needs to be where consumers are – now you have all these new ways to engage with consumers and it is something you can quantify,” Mr. Reichis said.

Igor Faletski, founder/CEO of Mobify, Vancouver, agreed that mobile has become a must-have for all brands as part of a digital strategy.

Curtis Kopf, managing director of ecommerce and customer innovation at Alaska Airlines, Seattle, said that the primary objective behind the airline’s mobile efforts is to give consumers an enjoyable experience.

Additionally, testing is crucial to know which features consumers respond to the most.

“The thing that has stuck is to get the basics right and make it simple,” Mr. Kopf said.

Final Take

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