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Apple Pay’s Broadway Debut

Apple Pay’s Broadway Debut With TodayTix

Ticketing platforms for Broadway shows and other theatrical productions have long sought to reduce friction at checkout for their customers. TodayTix, for instance, launched in 2013 with the aim of making it easier for theatergoers to purchase tickets. “We wanted to introduce a simple way to buy and sell theater tickets,” TodayTix VP of Product Dan Melinger told PYMNTS in an interview. At the time of the company’s founding, only a tiny portion of Broadway tickets – 0.08 percent – were sold on mobile devices. The iPhone, however, had been available to consumers for around six years.

Now, TodayTix, whose app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store, sells one ticket every 15 seconds and has topped $250 million in tickets sold to over 4.6 million customers.

To purchase a ticket through the company’s platform, users select a show along with a date. (Melinger noted there is usually more than one date for most shows.) Next, they choose a time (i.e., a matinée) along with their preferred type of seats, and can then complete their purchase. It’s “a pretty streamlined process,” Melinger said.

Once consumers make their purchases, there are a few different ways they can receive their tickets, such as having a barcode presented to them within the app. As is the case with many Broadway shows, however, a TodayTix concierge wearing the company’s red attire might meet the theatergoers outside the venue and hand them their tickets. In other cases, consumers might pick up their tickets at the theater’s box office. As the company continues to iterate its offering to serve theatergoers, TodayTix decided to implement Apple Pay as a payment option through its app.

The Move to Digital Payments

Melinger said the move came amid “the increasing prevalence of people using Apple Pay” and the relative simplicity of the integration process for digital payments. The company knew a large proportion of its consumers used iOS devices, and that 25 percent of its iOS users had cards in Apple Wallet. TodayTix started the process by testing the feature with a small part of its audience, and then introduced Apple Pay as an option for all users at the beginning of March.

The company’s processor already had support for Apple Pay as a payment method, so they didn’t have to integrate anything new from a backend perspective. The process instead entailed integrating on the front end while focusing on the user experience for the buyer. Melinger noted that the company probably spent more time on the design of the user flow and ensuring it didn’t disrupt the experience. While there is a potential downside to offering too many payment options at checkout, Melinger said it made sense in this case.

Two-thirds – or 66 percent – of TodayTix’s transactions occurred on iOS in March. Of those transactions, about two in 10 – or 19 percent – of users tapped into Apple Pay. In other words, almost one-fifth of all iOS transactions were completed with a digital payment method. The company also noted it saw a 13 percent increase in sales conversion for users who had set up Apple Pay but didn’t have a credit card installed in its system, as they were new customers or didn’t save their card details from a previous transaction. They also reported a nearly 5 percent increase in conversion for users who had Apple Pay set up and a 2.6 percent overall sales increase on the platform.

TodayTix is continually looking to improve user journeys going forward, “to get people what they want as quickly as they want,” Melinger said. As part of its initiatives, it is looking at other payment options and efforts that could positively impact purchasing conversions.

Melinger also noted that attending theater events is often a social pastime, which means the platform usually sells more than one ticket at a time. With that context in mind, the company is considering offerings that let consumers potentially share the cost of the show, with the help of mobile payments to streamline the ticket buying process.

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