Buying event tickets is a quite an uncreative process these days. Sure — you can buy tickets online and print them at home. Big whoop. It’s 2016 for crying out loud. You can watch 4k movies, take a class on Neuroscience, or live-stream sporting events — all through the wonders of the internet. Nobody is impressed when their virtual tickets get emailed to them. I can’t even remember a time when you couldn’t buy tickets online.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. Services like Ticketmaster do you a great service — no waiting in lines and get your tickets almost instantly. It’s a useful service, but I think we can do better. As in buy tickets without fees better. As in getting tickets before they come out better. As in selling your tickets where you bought them better. This business model of “charge you for every little thing we do for you” needs to end.
“Oh you want to print your tickets at home?”
“That’ll be an extra 3$ please”.
Another massive pain in the butt happens when you’re trying to get tickets for a popular event. You’re sitting at your desk incessantly clicking refresh on your phone, laptop, and tablet over and over again just as tickets are released. And the worst part comes when the page actually loads and shows that the tickets are all sold out.
I have been a victim of the above way to often for me to be OK with it, and it is why I decided to design my own ticket sales mechanism from the ground up.
Introducing EN3 (pronounced entry)
EN3 is a breath of fresh air to the stagnant ticket industry. While the original process of buying tickets is left intact, you’re given a few extra tools. One of them being the exchange.
Think of an exchange as huge crowd of people surrounding two stages — one red and one blue. People on the red stage that have tickets they want to sell. They’re shouting something like:
“I’ll sell 3 tickets for 50$ each!”
“I’ll sell 2 tickets for 48$ each!”
The blue stage is the exact opposite. These are people with cold hard cash that want to buy tickets. They’re shouting:
“I’ll buy 2 tickets for 40$ each!”
“I’ll buy 3 tickets for 41$ each!”
However, you will most likely be in vast majority of people who are on neither stage but on the ground. If you’re looking to buy a ticket you have two choices — either venture over to the red stage and buy some from a seller or get on top of the blue stage and place a bid. On the flip side, if you have tickets to sell then you also have two choices—either go over to the blue stage and sell them to a buyer or get on top of the red stage and put them on sale. And last but not least you always have the option of sitting back and watching everyone else.
The exchange treats everyone as equals. A normal patron can do everything that a promoter or venue can.
But the beauty of an exchange really shines in the second-hand ticket market — because there is none! The exchange combines the primary and second hand ticket market because it enables anyone with a ticket to sell it on the site — not just venues or promoters (i.e. more than one person can be on the red stage)
However there is one problem that the exchange doesn’t completely solve. The “oh shit the event sold out in twenty minutes” problem. My answer to this is competitive pre-sales. Now, pre-sales are nothing new. It’s when you buy a product before its release date. But what makes it interesting is when buyers compete with each other.
For example, let’s say the venue wants to put 1000 tickets on pre-sale to hype up the event. A month before the release date a new sales mechanism kicks in. Instead of simply selling the tickets to the first 1000 buyers, you allow anyone (likely more than 1000) to place a bid at any price they wish. However, at the end of the month (at the release date) only the top 1000 bids are fulfilled.
There’s a few advantages of this system
- Your patrons play an active role before the event. This creates hype and excitement within your customer base.
- For high demand events there is a good probability that many patrons are willing to pay more than face value for tickets.
- Spread out traffic over a month instead of it all at once. This avoids congesting your servers and frustrating your customers :)
This is EN3 in a nutshell. It is a much needed change to an industry that hasn’t in the past decade. It’s not just tweaking a few things — it’s burning the entire house down and building a new foundation upon a different set of principles. The goal is to create a system that benefits more than just the stakeholders but society as a whole. One that has the best interests of the consumer at heart instead of no heart at all.
But shaking the hornets’ nest comes with a price. The competition will fight hard to keep the status quo as is. Fortunately, this resistance to change has made them lazy and their product outdated. It is time to slaughter their cash cow and go vegetarian.
Let’s build something great.