8 minutes

Looking for something to do? What’s the best way to find out what’s going on in your local neighborhood or community? According to a 2017 survey of 3,000 urban dwellers, 64% said they look to neighborhood guides to find out what’s going on.1 Those neighborhood guides are often event discovery sites, or websites that cater to specific audiences looking for live entertainment like plays, concerts, or other types of shows. These websites are often some of the best ways to promote an event online.

Traditionally, when an event goer wants to buy a ticket to a performance they are interested in, they are diverted from the event discovery site to the primary ticket vendor’s platform. Ticketing processes can be long and complicated, taking ticket purchasers through hoop after hoop of webpages and pop-ups. Taking a customer away from their initial shopping experience can often result in shopping cart abandonment.

It's no wonder that $4 trillion was left in shopping carts in 2014 alone, and with the explosive growth of the ticketing industry it is easy to imagine how much that number might have grown in the last five years.2 Since cart abandonment rates are so high, a small reduction can translate to a significant revenue increase for even the smallest online ticket vendor.

Event discovery sites can harness the power of the audiences that they attract and create easier purchasing processes for their customers, enabling them to increase their revenue all in one fell swoop. They can do this by bringing the purchasing process in-house and allowing event goers to buy tickets right then and there. But what would it take to integrate a payment process to an event discovery site itself?

Front-end Ticket Purchasing Workflow

About 63% of that previously discussed $4 trillion left in abandoned shopping carts is recoverable, but only if online ticket vendors are savvy.3 Three-fourths of shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts say they plan to return to complete a purchase. Ticket vendors can increase conversions by streamlining the checkout process, and by retargeting shoppers with emails after they have left a website.

To integrate the payment process with the event discovery site, the site will need a front-end user interface (UI) and purchase workflow where event goers can make their transaction. This UI should be straightforward and simple; by keeping the ticket purchaser on the page where they had their initial shopping experience and decided to make a purchase, they are focused on completing the purchase instead of annoyed by the introduction of hidden fees or additional forms to fill out.

The purchase workflow should not ask users to resubmit information they have already shared with a ticket vendor before checkout and should clearly indicate required fields to complete a purchase.4 At present, 86% of ecommerce sites do not specify which fields are required for a shopper to fill out ahead of checkout. By being transparent with the event goer, the event goer knows what is expected of them and what they need to do to acquire the tickets they want.

The workflow should not require a user to register with the site. One in four shoppers abandon a shopping cart because they were forced to register on the site before they could complete a purchase. By maintaining a guest option for transactions, retailers give customers options. One thing retailers can ask for, however, is an email that can be used for future email marketing regardless of whether a purchase is made or not.

The workflow should display the number of tickets available, as well as a venue map so event goers can decide on what kind of vantage point they would like from the seats still available. A form for accepting payment details, as well as a display of confirmation of payment or declination will be shown through the UI. The ticket purchaser remains in one place, instead of being taken through several pages. This keeps the process simplified and easy for the customer, encouraging a completed transaction.

Reduce cart abandonment

Integration layer

With Softjourn’s method, the actual ticket purchase would still take place through the primary ticketing vendor; the event discovery site's UI will simply mask this fact, allowing the customer to believe that they have not left their primary shopping experience.

Discovery sites can easily connect to exposed APIs provided by many primary ticketing platforms via an integration layer. This will enable the site to connect to those services and exchange information; all of this happens behind the scenes, so the ticket purchaser is unaware that what appears to be an exceedingly simple process is actually quite complex.

Softjourn recommends an enterprise service bus (ESB) as a viable option for an integration layer; do not believe the hype that microservices killed the ESB. ESBs are still a great method for centralizing communication between components, are great for scaling, and are a straightforward method for integrating several applications to a central access point.

The layer would handle all communication between the event discovery site, however many ticketing platforms the event discovery site is associated with, and the front-end UI, pulling data such as:

  • Event data
  • Venue maps
  • Seating availability
  • Ticket purchase information
  • Payment confirmation or declination

With this integration layer, the event discovery site can integrate with other service and ticket providers, allowing the site to display more events to targeted audiences. This is beneficial for both the event discovery site and a ticketing platform, as more customers means more sales. An easier purchasing process means a good experience, which can lead to return customers and beneficial word of mouth recommendations.

Agreements with Ticketing Platforms

Of course, all of this is reliant on a ticketing platform's willingness to allow an event discovery site to sell tickets through it. An event discovery site may have pre-existing agreements with a ticketing platform (or several) that allow the site a percentage of the customers that it pushes through to complete a purchase on the ticketing platform. Some ticketing platforms may not be progressive enough to allow discovery sites the illusion of becoming a primary ticket seller.

But think about this for a moment – each additional step in the payment process (that is, every webpage, pop-up, button, and form) causes a 10% decrease in transactions.5 By requiring an event discovery site to send customers through to the primary ticket seller's platform, the primary ticket seller may be losing customers merely by insisting the process remain convoluted.

Think about Amazon’s 1-Click “Buy Now” button; it provided customers the option of saving payment information and addresses, which allowed them to complete a purchase the moment the impulse struck. This alleviated the issue of shopping cart abandonment for Amazon and allowed them to grow into a marketplace rather than just a book reseller. By creating a smoother purchase process, a ticketing platform and an event discovery site puts their customers first, and customers will respond positively.

What's more, distributed commerce is a proven trend in ticketing, and has been since 2017. Big ticketing players like Eventbrite, Ticketfly, and Ticketmaster all recognize the power in event discovery. There is much to be gained for both parties in the discovery to distribution relationship when they work in tandem.


Primary ticket sellers continue to look for ways to not only advertise the events they're representing, but also enable event goers to buy tickets in an easier manner. The simplest way to meet both needs is to involve event discovery sites earlier in the process.

By doing so, both should see a reduction in cart abandonment and increased sales, not to mention a rise in customer loyalty. If you are interested in learning more about how to integrate a payment process into your website, contact Softjourn today!