The pandemic created unprecedented challenges for businesses in many industries, and the live events space has borne the brunt of some of its worst impacts.
Venues canceled or postponed all their events until crowds could gather more safely. Many countries and jurisdictions have lifted restrictions in recent months, allowing consumers to attend music festivals, live sports and other large-scale events once more.
“The past few months have been encouraging, as [pandemic] restrictions are lifting around the world,” said Cris Miller, head of business development at viagogo, a leading online platform for live event tickets. “It’s great that people can now attend some of the live events that have been rescheduled, and, if they are unable to make it, they are utilizing [our] platform to exchange tickets, enabling them to recoup their money … and give someone else a chance to attend. We have also seen demand pick up for future sports and music events.”
Miller spoke with PYMNTS about the challenges of delivering convenient online ticket-purchasing experiences to customers from all over the world.
The Importance of Local Payment Options
Offering a seamless ticket-buying experience is critical to meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy consumers, Miller said, but this is no easy feat when serving a global customer base. Providing this quality of service means researching local markets and swiftly responding to feedback regarding their payment needs.
“[We offer] a broad set of payment options while providing a streamlined buyer experience,” he said. “We listen closely to our local experts on important payment options for customers to identify unmet payment needs globally.”
One core component of this mission, Miller said, is allowing customers to buy and sell tickets in their languages and currencies of choice.
“[Purchasing] tickets for international events was often difficult before we established a safe and secure online marketplace for people to buy and sell tickets in their local languages and currencies,” he explained.
To offer an international ticket platform, viagogo supports a variety of payment options and holds itself to strict standards in payment processing.
“We manage a number of providers, technology and operational processes to ensure that pay-in success is maximized and [that the] times to receive payouts are as quick as possible,” he said.
Listening to Global Customers
Meeting a global customer base’s needs requires online ticketing platforms such as viagogo to make it as easy as possible for international customers to not only find tickets but also buy them with their preferred payment option and on their devices of choice. This translates to developing a deep understanding of customers’ needs in each market served, Miller said.
“We believe in following what our customer data tells us and … optimizing the payment experience from there,” he explained. “By focusing on what actually makes a difference to our customers, rather than getting distracted by new trends or features with low customer adoption, we help get as many fans to the events they want to see as possible.”
Miller said a key part of this responsiveness rests in a commitment to value. Every ticket sold on viagogo’s marketplace is covered by a guarantee. He said that no more than 1% of tickets sold worldwide before the pandemic had any problems in need of intervention, but in these rare cases, the company steps in to find comparable replacements or offer a full refund.
The platform added another choice because of the pandemic, he said, allowing customers to opt for a 125% credit for future tickets instead of a refund. This provides more value to consumers when they can attend their next events, and it also helps the company avoid losses when making refund payouts.
Providing seamless payments to an international customer base poses serious challenges for online marketplaces. Understanding local markets’ needs and tailoring payment options to them will guarantee global platforms’ success.