Ticketmaster has just announced an interesting collaboration with Facebook, where Facebook members can see which seats their friends have booked at a show / venue - and are then able to book seats next to those. To start with, the pilot project will be limited to 300 venues - which ones these are has yet to be fully confirmed.
At the core of this though, is the essence of Social Commerce - the model of ’Your friend bought this so you might like it too’. I can see a whole series of notification services which you obviously need to be able to opt out of / target in some way - I’m not sure you would like to send the following through: ’Billy just bought ’incontinent pants’..., ’We thought you might like ’incontinent pants’ too’...
Anyway, back to serious matters again - this is absolutely the strongest means of persuasion. Within every circle of friends, there are always one or two ’Mavens’ or ’Trendsetters’ which have a significant influence on the buying patterns of their peers - a subject which is of course excellenty parodied in ’The Joneses’ film from 2009.
With several ticketed events also having ticket number restrictions, this is the only way a large group could co-ordinate so that everyone can sit together. This system is sure to do well as it offers up genuine benefits for both customer and retailer. People feel much better when they can choose their own seats, and they feel even better when they can choose who they get to sit next to.
A number of years ago in a previous company, we did some interesting work with the Royal Opera House on Seating Plans - and in particular the view you got from each block of seats - very useful for avoiding balcony columns in old theatre-style venues.
The Ticketmaster app has very clever privacy / tagging settings - allowing you to choose whom you broadcast your seat info to - ’Everyone | Friends | No One’. As we evolve, I expect to see some kind of Google+ system where you choose which social circle you share your which information with.
All retailers have been wanting to do this kind of thing for years - it makes the offering more personal, and encourages further purchasing. Fashion and Home Décor sites have for a long time been able to allow users to create personal looks / outfits which they can share with others, and which end up being mini promos really. Any process which makes these kinds of promotions more automated, and more part of the general process - is a win win solution all round - customers get the benefit of sharing / exposure and retailers get additional sales.
I also believe there’s an element of business protectionism going on here, as most venues will shortly-ish be operating ticketless entry policies - using some kind of QR Code or Barcode on Smartphones to authorise / faciliate access instead of needing a physical ticket.
There’s an excellent overview video on YouTube, which you can see below, which shows how elegant and clever the new Ticketmaster app is.