Payments Innovation

Fewer Fees, More Speed: Instant Payments In The Ticket Marketplace

Ticket sellers want to get paid instantly and without any surprise fees. But marketplaces that can’t do that risk alienating sellers, says Brett Goldberg, CEO of TickPick. In the latest Payments and the Platform Economy Playbook, Goldberg discusses how instant payments and a simplified, transparent fee structure helps them keep — and attract — sellers.

Waiting in ticket lines outside stadiums or concert halls has become a thing of the past. Modern consumers expect to purchase tickets for events and shows as soon as they go on sale, and without hidden fees. On the flip side, sellers want to receive their funds just minutes after transactions are finalized.

Satisfying both sides’ expectations means platforms facilitating these transactions must quickly meet their payment needs. In addition, these marketplaces must ensure buyers know what they will pay from the start — and that sellers realize how much they will take home as soon as they offer tickets.

Keeping prices transparent in an instant payments ecosystem is crucial to competing in the increasingly saturated online ticket sales market, said Brett Goldberg, CEO of digital ticket platform TickPick.

“Everyone always has some sort of service charge or convenience charge hidden as deep as possible within the checkout flow,” he said. “And we just said, ‘Well, let’s just follow the Amazon model. No [competitors do] it that way, and that’s the way people like to shop. No one likes to be surprised with fees.’”

Transparent pricing and lower fees are key factors that allow TickPick to differentiate itself from rival services like StubHub, which Goldberg said is the site’s biggest competitor. In a recent interview with PYMNTS, he discussed the importance of instant payments, transparency and personalization through mobile apps and other channels.

Instant Payments and Fees in Online Ticketing

The growing number of ticket-selling platforms is giving both buyers and sellers more options than ever to settle on prices they like. But despite the abundance of available services, fee and pricing differences can be challenging to navigate. Marketplaces that charge high fees or add them at the tail-end of the process risk alienating both buyers and sellers, who can simply take their business elsewhere.

“Most of these [ticket] sellers are going to list them both on StubHub, TickPick and multiple other marketplaces, and it can get pretty confusing [to determine] what you’re getting paid out and what the seller fees are,” Goldberg said. “It can be kind of convoluted for buyers, as well.”

TickPick has worked to ease these pain points by simplifying its fee structure. The platform charges sellers roughly 10 percent of each sale, and that fee is already included in buyers’ ticket prices. This means a customer who purchases a $100 ticket will pay the price shown, for example, while the seller is already aware that he or she will take $90 home. Tickets also receive letter ratings ranging from A+ to D that can help buyers evaluate the deals they are getting.

The platform has taken a similar approach to payments, an area that is growing more complex as consumers on both sides of transactions demand greater speed and personalization. TickPick is catering to these desires by expanding the number of payment methods it accepts, and it now supports Apple Pay and PayPal in addition to debit and credit cards. The service also plans to soon support Venmo and other Android-based mobile wallets, as Goldberg noted that enabling instant payments support has become “critical on all fronts.”

“Let’s say the event is at night,” he said. “The seller is going to expect to be paid relatively quickly on that, so we need to be getting the money [out]. Otherwise, you’re going to have to keep pushing payments to sellers off over a longer period of time, which may move sellers off our platform.”

PayPal and Apple Pay each account for approximately 10 percent of TickPick’s payments, while the majority are still processed via debit or credit card.

Personalization and the Future of the Digital Marketplace Experience

As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices, ticket marketplaces will face new hurdles in keeping user experiences as instant and seamless as possible. Staying competitive means they must offer services that can be personalized to fulfill both buyers’ and sellers’ needs.

“One of the things we’ve created is some personalization,” Goldberg explained. “Once you shop [in-app], you can set that best deal to be a little more tailored toward you, so it’s less 50/50. If you tell us, ‘I’m a budget shopper,’ then it’s going to put 80 percent weighting on the price and 20 percent on seat location.”

The reverse could also be true for customers less concerned about price, with 80 percent of the weight going to seat location instead. The difficult task for TickPick is to ensure that its mobile solution homes in on customers’ preferences to provide them with the deals they value most.

“It’s pretty challenging getting that message across, especially on pretty small real estate like the mobile app.”

The platform is also eyeing new technologies to further enhance its experience, and is building out a team tasked with deploying advanced learning tools like like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

While it is unclear exactly how ticket marketplaces will evolve in the future, buyers and sellers will continue to value faster service and lower fees. Platforms in this competitive space must satisfy the expectations of customers on both sides of the transaction.

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