Camping out at the box office to be the first in line for tickets has become a thing of the past, thanks to the debut of digital ticket buying marketplaces. Sports fans and concertgoers can now get tickets to sold-out events minutes before they start, and ticket sellers have gained new tools to quickly and securely facilitate transactions in the payment forms they want.
Even with the ease of skipping the line, unexpected events can sometimes force select fans to change their plans — and get left holding tickets they can’t use in the process.
These consumers might be bummed that they can’t attend, but they can get some of their money back by reselling their tickets on the open market, via a host of online platforms and all in the blink of an eye. According to Jeff Poirier, general manager of music and theater at ticket reselling platform StubHub, such marketplaces have changed the game for sports and music fans.
“We’ve really tried to de-risk the idea of committing to live events,” Poirier explained. “If you want to buy a ticket to an event that you really want to go to, but it’s a year down the road, and [then] you find out you can’t go to the event six months later, this allows you to resell the ticket and recoup some of the funds — or even turn a profit.”
But sellers who put their tickets on the market expect to almost immediately see them snapped up by an eager buyer, and to see the funds disbursed into their accounts almost as quickly — two prospects that are often easier said than done. In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Poirier explained the hurdles that StubHub and similar platform providers must clear to get money into sellers’ accounts and tickets into buyers’ hands.
Making Selling Tickets More Seamless…
Sellers follow nearly the same process to list tickets on StubHub as buyers use to find them. They go to the company’s website or log on to its mobile app, search for an event and select the option to sell tickets. Ticket information can be uploaded — including images of digital copies or scans of print-at-home versions — and a listing price can be chosen and set.
But StubHub and similar platforms are variable marketplaces, Poirier noted – and the supply, demand and price of tickets can all change at a moment’s notice. This creates a challenge for sellers when determining how to price their offerings. As a solution, StubHub works to provide sellers with software designed to help ensure their tickets quickly get sold at the best possible price.
“What we provide sellers with is not just a platform and not just a guarantee that [a ticket] sells, but we also provide them with tools,” Poirier explained. “We help them price it based on what the market looks like right now and give them pricing recommendations to help them through that process."
Sellers can choose to be paid via PayPal once a sale has been completed, or to have the funds disbursed through direct deposit into their bank accounts via ACH transfer. Most payments currently require three to five days to deposit into sellers’ accounts.
StubHub is working to speed its internal operations, though, recently partnering with Google Cloud Platform and Pivotal Software to move its infrastructure to the cloud and expedite all areas of its business — including seller payments.
“What that’s going to provide StubHub with is the ability to, at-scale, move more quickly,” Poirier said. “Whether that’s deploying new products, feature changes, deploying payments or adding a new method of payment, all these things are going to be able to happen faster with us moving to the cloud.”
…While Still Keeping Them Safe
Speeding up the payment process won’t please many sellers if transactions made via the StubHub platform become vulnerable to fraud or cybercrime, however. Both sellers and buyers expect such platforms to offer the security and authentication necessary to protect the financial information involved in completing a purchase, and StubHub uses encryption, anti-money laundering solutions and other fraud services to do so.
But, when it comes to selling tickets, there’s more to security than ensuring fraudsters can’t access payment details. After all, no ticket platform could attract customers if buyers were unsure of a ticket’s legitimacy and sellers were skeptical that they’d receive money in exchange, Poirier said.
StubHub offers guarantees to protect sellers and buyers alike. Buyers are promised that all tickets sold on the platform are legitimate and will be delivered by the date of the event, or they can receive a refund. Similarly, sellers are guaranteed payment for tickets sold on the site, even if StubHub encounters problems with a buyer’s payment.
“When your ticket sells, we guarantee you’re going to get the payment and the buyer is going to get [his] ticket,” Poirier said. “We’re a full intermediary, so we try to educate [consumers] and tell [them] that they don’t need to know who they’re selling to or who they’re buying from to trust that the transaction will go smoothly … We stand in the middle and fully guarantee the entire thing.”
The platform is currently exploring new technologies to protect buyers and sellers, including blockchain and anything else that can help both parties feel more confident, he added. It’s all in pursuit of helping them safely and efficiently conduct business online — and spare fans from camping out in front of stadiums to catch their favorite acts.
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