Mobile Commerce

Braintree, Eventbrite Make Concerts And Commerce Contextual

Commerce interrupted is a terrible thing. Consumers miss out and merchants miss a sale. The familiar friction points – typing in 16-digit card numbers, especially when on a mobile device – is a pain point that the entire payments industry has been focused on now for many years.

But that’s not the only friction that stands between a consumer and her decision to buy.

Waiting not so patiently for a merchant page to load, or being redirected to a new page, can also be enough of a distraction to dissuade a customer from sticking it out all the way through checkout. In those precious moments, the customer becomes focused more on the friction of the buy than why she decided to buy in the first place. It’s not so much that commerce is interrupted, but that commerce is disconnected from the context that brought the consumer to the point of purchase in the first place.

Braintree’s Azita Habibi told Karen Webster that tools and technologies now exist so that merchants can make those commerce experiences contextual – and completed.

The power of those tools in action was announced yesterday in a company blog post. A Braintree partnership with Everbrite makes the purchase of tickets on the Facebook platform seamless and contextual. No more redirect pages, for one, which increases conversions – but that’s just online.

The partnership also allows Eventbrite to bridge that online experience with one that will happen offline once they get to the concert. There, contactless RFID bands will make it possible for those same payments credentials to be used by ticket holders to buy anything that any concessionaire at that concert is selling.

“With [the Braintree] APIs and tokenization technology, we can make the kinds of payments data sharing possible [that’s] necessary to really power distributed, contextual commerce,” Habibi noted. “It’s been great to help firms like Eventbrite to deliver an experience that is secure and, from the consumer’s point of view, even magical.”

Expanding The Connections

Eventbrite wanted it to be easy for their customers to buy their tickets on Facebook and its other distribution commerce partners in a single click-and-go transaction, and then use those same credentials inside of the wristband to buy food and tee-shirts without having to pull out a wallet or carry cards or cash. Creating that contextual commerce experience – from the consumer with the payments credentials to the merchant who needed to accept them – was the critical loop that needed to be closed.

In the brainstorm sessions that followed, Habibi said, it became clear that what was needed to power this experience was already part of the Braintree platform.

“The magic for the concertgoer is getting that RFID wristband and having it embedded automatically with the payment credentials used to buy the ticket,” Habibi noted.

Although the RFID tech is Eventbrite’s, the payments data is handled by Braintree, which steps in to grant information to the concessionaires that allows them to accept payments from the bracelet via a customized token. That token can only be used by an approved merchant within the Eventbrite marketplace, whether or not that vendor is an existing Braintree customer.

The token is revocable at any time and can be programmed for a certain duration. If the concert venue is open for three hours one evening, that’s how long the token is active, and if it’s a three-day festival, the token is programmed for three days – but only for the assigned set of merchants that are part of the concert marketplace. Habibi noted that there are a number of controls in place to ensure that tokens are secure, and used when and with whom permissions have been granted.

What’s Next

The magic, Habibi said, is more than just an enjoyable customer experience – it also includes the sales that merchants make when consumers are no longer tethered to their wallets. Making the concerts cashless drove users to spend twice as much as those who use cards or cash. On Facebook, eliminating the redirect drove the sale of twice as many tickets.

Even more exciting, Habibi said, is that what’s seen today is only scratching the surface of what will be possible when consumers can securely share payments tokens. The rise of voice-activated AI and commerce that’s centered around conversations with chatbots, she explained, will only accelerate the importance of creating and deploying those secure, uninterrupted and very connected purchasing experiences.

“As that next evolution unfolds, the ability to transact contextually – to make that bridge between the online and offline worlds completely contextual – is essential for both merchants and the consumers they work so hard to serve,” Habibi said.

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