Our goal with every digital product or website is to make life easier for everyone who uses it, whether that’s someone buying a ticket or a busy marketing manager trying to update information in a hurry. When it comes to Spektrix-integrated websites in particular, we’re proud of some of the unique, user-centred features we’ve developed using the ticketing and CRM platform’s flexible API and web components. Our smart, targeted integrations have given countless customers and staff a quicker, more intuitive user experience — even on a limited budget.
Until now, to learn about these successes, you had to trawl through multiple case studies and insight articles. Well no more! Here you can find five of the best Spektrix features we’ve built, and the impact they’ve had on our clients’ businesses. They are:
- Fusing our own donations platform with Spektrix to enable recurring donations;
- Supporting pre-show emails with automated per-performance information;
- Baking in data protection for a youth-focussed north London theatre; and
- A 'smart button' that speeds up the purchase flow for diehard customers
Hopefully they’ll get you thinking about how you might get more out of Spektrix on your own website, too.
The app experience, on your Spektrix website
Here’s a common frustration with booking tickets online: you select the tickets you want — or so you think — only to arrive on the basket page to find it empty, with an error message about the requested tickets no longer being available.
This happens because many ticketing websites work in a fairly linear way: the customer submits a form, and then the website compares the request to what’s available in the ticketing system. If the order is possible, you get a full basket. If the order’s not possible, you get an error.
Ultimately the process is still the same: we ask Spektrix what’s available and then show the user a success or error message depending on what it says. But using Vue means we can do it “live”. Whenever the user interacts with one of our Spektrix ticketing widgets, feedback is almost instant and happens without the webpage refreshing. The experience is more like an app on your phone.
Now, when you hit a button to add a ticket, the page immediately checks if that ticket is available, adds it to a basket behind the scenes, and seamlessly updates the page. If you change your mind and remove that ticket, it gets cleared from your basket too, freeing it up for someone else. Best of all, when you get to the basket page, it will be full of everything you expected.
Moreover, the moment you add a ticket, the website checks what other events and add-ons are available on the day of your visit, and suggests those to you, too. It also enforces purchase rules around the tickets in your order, like blocking the purchase of child tickets until at least one adult ticket has been selected, or automatically completing a bundle if the user has only selected part of it.
As a result of this streamlining, Ely’s team fields far fewer questions from confused customers, puts through far fewer refunds for incorrect orders, and saw nearly a 70% uplift year-on-year in sales of their standard visitor tickets.
Adding support for recurring donations and direct debits
Again and again when we talk to Spektrix clients, we find that fundraising teams want to be able to sign up their most loyal visitors to regular monthly donations. Understandably so; that kind of committed giving can be vital to arts organisations, particularly in the years since COVID.
Spektrix already had a way to take recurring donations — sort of — and lots of clients used auto-renewing memberships and continuous card-authorisation to take monthly payments. However, this solution wasn’t perfect. First of all, customers were often confused about why they were getting a “membership” instead of making a donation. Second of all, as banks have strengthened anti-fraud practices, continuous authority payments fail more often. Lastly, many regular donors would prefer to pay by direct debit rather than credit card, which Spektrix doesn’t natively support.
To address all of these issues we connected Spektrix with our white-labelled donations platform, DonateFlow. Using our technology, customers can quickly set up recurring mandates via card or direct debit, through a simple, three-step process. With our new, Spektrix-integrated system, we check behind the scenes if the customer already exists in Spektrix and relate that mandate to their account if they do. If they don’t, we automatically set up a new account for them.
After that, monthly donations are processed through Stripe (for cards) or GoCardless (for direct debits), and immediately pushed into Spektrix via its custom payments API. The donor never needs to think about it again, and better yet, neither do the fundraising staff — each new payment comes into Spektrix as a donation, not a membership, attached to the correct customer account, without any manual intervention. For clients in the UK, this also means that payments coming through our system are instantly GiftAid-able via Spektrix.
As a result, Spektrix clients using DonateFlow now collect tens of thousands of pounds per year in recurring donations, with no additional admin burden. And all that customer data is ingested correctly in the CRM for accurate and useful reporting.
Smart pre-show email integration
Spektrix has a whole suite of tools for sending emails to customers, whether these contain marketing messaging, pre-show information, or order confirmations. Our clients Saffron Hall make great use of the pre-show emails feature in particular, sending out detailed messages to their customers with performance-by-performance information about timings, parking, availability of food or drink before the show, and so forth.
This was great for customers but created a huge admin overhead for staff, because this kind of data isn’t easily stored in Spektrix. Moreover, even where the data was in Spektrix, it wasn’t easily extractable into an automated email. As a result, all those pre-show emails required a real human to write and schedule something for each performance.
We worked with Saffron Hall to cut out almost all of that manual labour, using a combination of existing Spektrix features and smart automation via newly designed event pages on the website. Now a single pre-show email template, stored in Spektrix, gets sent for almost every performance. By pulling in each performance’s unique timestamp to create a custom link in that email template, the website can automatically direct people to the right section of the right event page — where all that useful information about timings and parking and food is already available.
Better yet, much of that information has been automatically pre-populated from the moment the event page was first published. Because many of Saffron Hall’s events follow predictable patterns, we simply spit out the most common defaults on every page unless a member of staff specifically overrides them. This means there’s not only no duplication of effort when putting together pre-show emails, but there’s less effort setting up the event pages to begin with. And since there’s now a single source of truth for all performance information, there’s no more opportunity for the website to say one thing and the pre-show email another.
All in all, a much better experience for customers, and a huge cut in administrative burden for staff.
Baked-in data protection for children
This October we’re launching a new website for Chickenshed, the inclusive north London theatre company you might have seen get a standing ovation from all four judges on Britain’s Got Talent. Chickenshed is a working theatre, but it’s also a community hub, a theatre education provider, and much more.
Because so many of Chickenshed’s potential website visitors are under 18, they have a duty to make sure those young people aren’t giving away their personal data unwittingly, or without understanding the consequences. And because Spektrix is the main tool their website has for collecting personal data, we needed to make sure that the Spektrix integration could filter out children before they had a chance to even think about submitting data in the first place.
In essence, the solution is fairly simple, and similar to what you’d find on an alcohol website: as soon as someone lands on the site, we ask their age and store their response in a cookie. That cookie then does a number of different things, depending on how old the user is. For example, if the user answers that they’re under 13, we automatically set their cookie preferences to essential only, giving them no opportunity to “consent” to marketing or retargeting cookies. We also inject some code into the Spektrix iframes to ensure that nothing non-essential gets dropped there either.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that an under-13-year-old will ever make it to a Spektrix iframe to begin with, because we also age-gate all of these. If you’ve told us you’re under 13, any time you try to visit a Spektrix page you’ll instead see a message saying you need a grown-up to help you continue — similar to the process you see on the BBC website if you try and create a new iPlayer account.
The system isn’t foolproof, of course. But because we discussed the approach extensively with Chickenshed, they can be confident that when their new Spektrix website launches, there are comprehensive guardrails in place to stop children’s data being improperly collected. More importantly, these guardrails are part of the core technology of the website, rather than being added at the last minute, baking in data protection for any future development.
Smart booking button
You might have heard about the new “Quick Book” feature that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) rolled out a few months ago. This is a super helpful feature for arts organisations who have both (1) regular big season announcements and (2) lots of loyal bookers who want to book the same seats for lots of shows at the same time, during those regular big season announcements.
We know it’s super helpful, because we designed the same feature for Saffron Hall nearly four years ago.
Using our smart booking button, users with one show in their basket can easily add the same seats for any other show, with a single click. The smart booking button loads dynamically on Saffron Hall’s event listing page, so users can quickly skim the whole season adding tickets as they go, without having to click through to multiple event pages. The button’s label also updates to read “In basket” once you’ve added something, so that it’s easy to keep track of what you’ve already selected.
If the seats you want aren’t available for the next show, the button will tell you in clear terms and take you to the seat selection screen instead. And it also supports other useful Spektrix scenarios:
If an event is sold with unreserved seating, the smart booking button will suggest adding the same number of tickets to those events, rather than specific seats.
If you use the Spektrix “Best Available” feature, the smart booking button can also give people the option to select the best available seats for any event, rather than picking specific seats or the same ones you already have for another event. This is useful if you’re after cheap seats for one show but want a front-row experience at another.
Our smart booking button reduced the number of pages in an average transaction by about 40%, without reducing the average order value or quantity. In other words, people bought the same amount, but with much less hassle. You can read more in our Saffron Hall case study.
Thinking about future development
Each time we build a new Spektrix feature we learn a little more. This gives us a great backlog of existing solutions we can roll out for clients with common challenges – but it also keeps us constantly thinking about ways we can improve the next Spektrix site we build, and how to make sure every Spektrix site is architected to ensure maximum flexibility in the future.
So if you have a Spektrix problem on your website that you don’t know how to solve, please get in touch! We’re always looking for a new challenge.