Selling tickets electronically has become increasingly common in recent years. Whether you want to sell tickets to a concert, play, sporting event, or any other type of event, electronic ticketing provides a convenient way for both buyers and sellers. There are several platforms available for selling e-tickets, and the process is relatively straightforward once you understand the basics. In this article, we will walk through the key steps and considerations for selling tickets online.
What is an electronic ticket?
An electronic ticket, or e-ticket, is a digital ticket that gives the holder the right to attend an event. E-tickets exist purely as data and are not issued as physical paper tickets. They may be downloaded as PDF files sent via email, accessed via a mobile app, or added to a digital wallet. The ticket info is tied to the purchaser’s account or confirmation number rather than a particular device. This makes e-tickets easy to manage, transfer, and redeem. It also reduces issues like lost paper tickets and ticket counterfeiting.
Some key benefits of electronic ticketing:
- Ease of transfer – Tickets can be easily transferred from the seller to the buyer digitally
- Convenience – Tickets can be accessed via smartphones by buyers
- Lower distribution costs – No physical printing and mailing of paper tickets required
- Reduced risk of counterfeits – Harder to fake or duplicate e-tickets
- Analytics – Seller can track data like who is buying, when, and how
Choosing an e-ticketing platform
To sell tickets electronically, you will need to use an online ticketing platform. Here are some popular options to consider:
|Free to set up events and sell tickets. Paid tier offers more features. Integrates with PayPal, Stripe, etc. for payments. Allows ticket transfers.
|Large marketplace for ticket sales. Big fees but large consumer reach. Integrated ticket selling and promotional tools.
|Low fees, customizable tickets, promotions and charting tools. Good for small-medium events.
|Focuses on music events. Provides promoter tools and social media integration.
Look for a platform that is easy to use, offers the features you need, and has reasonable fees. The larger marketplaces like Ticketmaster will involve higher fees but also greater exposure. Smaller platforms like Eventbrite allow you to customize your setup more.
Setting up your event
Once you have chosen a ticketing platform, you will need to set up your event. Here is the basic process:
- Create an account on the platform if you don’t already have one.
- Enter your event details – name, description, venue, dates/times, etc.
- Add imagery like photos, logo, maps to visually promote your event.
- Set your ticket pricing and inventory. You can have multiple ticket types/prices.
- Customize ticket appearance like colors, layout, adding your brand.
- Set up your payment processing and payout account.
- Publish your event and tickets to make them available for sale.
Be sure to provide sufficient event details, attractive visuals, clear ticket pricing, and payment information to give your buyers confidence in purchasing.
Promoting and selling your tickets
To effectively sell your electronic tickets, you need to drive traffic and promote your event listings. Here are some tips:
- Share your event pages and ticket sales links across your website, email lists, and social media.
- Encourage early ticket buys with special promotions like early bird pricing.
- Cross-promote through participating artists, vendors, or hosts.
- Use email/social media marketing tools provided by the ticketing platform.
- Run targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- Partner with local vendors/businesses to do cross-promotion of the event.
- Issue press releases and reach out to relevant media outlets.
- Share video content and images from past events to generate excitement.
Driving ticket sales takes dedicated time and marketing effort. Utilize all available channels and incentives to increase sales.
Delivering the tickets
A key advantage of electronic ticketing is that it eliminates paper tickets. But you still need to “deliver” the ticket to each buyer in digital form. Here are some delivery methods:
- Mobile ticket – Buyer receives the ticket via a customized app on their smartphone, which they show at the event entrance.
- Email – Ticket receipt/QR code is emailed to the buyer, which they print or show on their mobile device.
- PDF – Ticket is sent as an attached PDF for the buyer to print out or save on their device.
- Wallet pass – The ticket is added to the buyer’s Apple Wallet or Google Pay app.
- Will call – Buyer picks up a printed ticket at the event’s will call booth.
Determine the delivery method that best suits your event setup and target audience. Also ensure you have the proper scanners to handle mobile tickets at the event entrance.
To receive payment for electronic ticket sales, you will need to integrate a payment processor with your chosen ticketing platform. Options include:
- PayPal – Well-known processor, allows credit cards and PayPal accounts for payment.
- Stripe – Popular for online businesses. Accepts various payment methods.
- Authorize.net – Long-standing payment gateway and merchant account provider.
- Venmo – Owned by PayPal. Easy peer-to-peer payments. Does have transaction fees.
- Square – Allows credit cards and also handles point-of-sale payments.
Evaluate costs, features, integration, and ease of use when selecting your payment processor. The ticketing platform may have recommended or built-in integrations with particular providers.
Despite your best efforts, some ticket buyers may need to cancel their purchase and request a refund from you. Here are some tips for handling refunds on electronic tickets:
- Establish a clear refund policy on your event page detailing terms and deadlines.
- Buyers will need to contact you directly for refunds rather than dispute the charges.
- Some platforms allow you to instantly refund buyers online. Others require manual refunds.
- Void the ticket in the system so it cannot be fraudulently used after refund.
- Transferring a ticket to another buyer is easier than issuing refunds.
- Partial refunds may apply if canceling close to the event date.
Having a refund policy and process in place will provide buyers peace of mind and can minimize disputes.
Transferring and reselling tickets
Electronic tickets also provide the ability for buyers to easily transfer or resell their tickets. As the event organizer, you have a few options:
- Allow ticket transfers – Let buyers freely transfer tickets to friends, family, etc.
- Official ticket resale – Setup a resale marketplace via your platform.
- Restrict transfers – Only allow returns/refunds, no transfers.
- Use transfer codes – Generate tracking codes for any ticket transfers.
- Limit convenience fees – Cap fees charged by resale marketplace providers.
Controlling transferability can impact your ticket sales. Allowing transfers provides flexibility, while restricting prevents scalping. Find the right policy for your event goals.
While electronic ticketing helps reduce fraud in many ways, there are still risks you need to mitigate:
- Leverage buyer verification tools like CAPTCHA to prevent bulk bot purchases.
- Use QR codes, barcodes, and changing ticket numbers to make duplication difficult.
- Enable ticket transfer tracking to monitor activity.
- Limit maximum number of tickets per purchase.
- Carefully vet any secondary marketplaces you may integrate with.
- Use electronic ticket scanners and ID checks at event entrances to validate.
Work closely with your ticketing platform provider to utilize their fraud prevention and detection capabilities when selling tickets.
Analyzing sales data
A major benefit of electronic ticketing is the ability to track sales data and buyer metrics. Make sure to monitor:
- Total ticket quantities sold.
- Sell-through rates over time.
- Average and total revenue.
- Average and total fees paid.
- Sales by ticket type/price.
- Top referral sources/promos driving sales.
- Demographics and buyer info.
This data can help you identify the most effective marketing channels, promoters, ticket prices and bundles, and other sales optimization insights.
Despite your best efforts, some issues inevitably come up for ticket buyers that require support:
- Have online help articles, FAQs, and videos available as self-service support.
- Provide multiple contact methods like email, phone, chat, and social media for support.
- Respond to all support inquiries in a timely manner.
- Empower staff to provide refunds, transfers, or other resolutions as warranted.
- Proactively reach out to buyers if you notice potential issues.
- Solicit customer feedback to improve the experience.
Delivering exceptional support builds your reputation, provides vital feedback, and gives buyers peace of mind purchasing your tickets.
Selling event tickets electronically provides convenience for buyers, valuable data for you as the seller, and efficiencies in distribution. With a solid understanding of critical steps like choosing a platform, setting up your event, promoting effectively, enabling payments, preventing fraud, and supporting customers, you can successfully sell e-tickets online. Careful planning and execution provides the best opportunity for a smooth, successful event.