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Integrating your website with Spektrix

Photograph of Andrew Ladd

Andrew Ladd

Project manager

One of the advantages of using Spektrix to power your box office is that online sales are built into the heart of the platform — so you can get set up and selling on your website quickly and easily. But if you're willing to spend a little more time and money, there are many different options for customising your integration with Spektrix, and it's worth exploring which will work best for you.

Option 1: IFRAME all the way

This is the quickest and easiest way to start selling online with Spektrix: you send anyone wanting to book tickets into the standard Spektrix booking flow, supplied to your website via an iframe. This is essentially cutting a hole in your website and looking through it at the Spektrix purchase pages. You can style the pages to match the rest of your website, and add some optional checkout steps, but for the most part your purchase process will be the Spektrix standard from start to finish: picking an event from a list, picking a date from a list or calendar, adding seats to the basket, applying any discounts, and checking out.

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to implement
  • Customisable to your branding
  • Limited ongoing support required — once it's set up, it won't change much

Cons:

  • Potential changes to user journey are very limited
  • If you have many events, performances, or price options, it can be difficult for customers to find what they want

Option 2: Join the IFRAME halfway through

The only thing Spektrix really insists you do in their iframe is have users log in and make payment. (This is to your advantage in most cases, because it means the strictest PCI compliance requirements fall on Spektrix rather than on your organisation directly. Payment processing fees are also built into the overall Spektrix fee, so you're paying for this service either way.)

However, until your users get to the log in and payment phase, you can use the Spektrix API to supply information about performances and pricing directly to your own website's pages — and then to process and display that information however you like. This is the next step up in integrations, in terms of both difficulty and cost, but also, more importantly, in user experience.

In the examples below (from the Lyric Hammersmith and Bridge Theatre in London, respectively), you can see how using the API gives you more flexibility in displaying and letting users search and filter performance information beyond the basic Spektrix iframe calendar.

Once you're at the checkout stage, Spektrix also gives you the option of their "classic" checkout or a new, single-page "express" version that is optimised for mobile sales and reduces the friction points where users are most likely to drop off and abandon their order — such as trying to remember a password. There are some Spektrix features that the express checkout doesn't support, but if you're not using these anyway it's worth considering.

Pros:

  • Improves the purchase process based on the specifics of your venue and events
  • Fits in more seamlessly with your existing website and branding

Cons

  • Requires more development and potentially more ongoing support costs — unlike a basic iframe option, you may need to do more to keep the integration with your website smooth
  • Still tied to Spektrix payment systems and web servers — if they go down, so do your web sales

Option 3: Full API integration

Alongside their iframe option, Spektrix offers an API through which you can dictate the purchase process from start to finish, drawing custom seating plans, managing customer details and logins, and taking payments. Though sales and customer information are still logged in Spektrix in real-time, there's no reliance on iframes.

In general the only organisations who use Spektrix this way are third-party agents, because to be frank it doesn't make a lot of sense for venues to do it themselves. For one thing, since selling completely via an API means Spektrix isn't handling the payment, anyone doing this incurs extra processing fees and onerous PCI compliance requirements. That's why even the slickest venue websites using the Spektrix API ultimately drop users back into the iframe for login and payment (though handling these things yourself would be technically possible if you were really determined to do so).

But there are still good reasons why you might consider an option on your website to direct users to a fully integrated API solution through a third-party. Aside from the obvious benefits of reaching a wider audience via ticket agents, the Spektrix booking flow occasionally doesn't work on some browsers depending on their privacy and cookie settings, and because the iframes are ultimately shared across all Spektrix users you're limited in how you can address this issue yourself. Moreover, the Spektrix API and iframes are separate systems, so on the very rare occasions when the iframes go down, the API often carries on uninterrupted. Either way, offering tickets via the API means you always have a back-up system that can capture sales the iframes might have lost.

For Six: The Musical, you can buy tickets direct through the venue website's Spektrix iframe, or through a white-labelled Ingresso site using the agency API.
For Six: The Musical, you can buy tickets direct through the venue website's Spektrix iframe, or through a white-labelled Ingresso site using the agency API.

Pros:

  • Completely customisable at every stage of the process
  • Not tied to Spektrix iframes, so provides a convenient back-up system

Cons:

  • Not practical for most venues to undertake directly
  • Requires extensive development and maintenance

Choosing the best option for you

There's no single solution that will suit every venue or event, because so much depends on what you're selling and who your users are. It could be that a straightforward iframe integration with express checkout is all you need, or it could be that large parts of the user journey need to be re-conceived to meet your specific needs. Either way, before you get too deep into the process of integrating your website with Spektrix, it's worth stepping back to look at what you do (and don't) need it to do — otherwise you might end up stuck halfway down a path that doesn't get you where you need to go.

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