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StubHub exec: Increasing supply of tickets is a challenge in mobile

NEW YORK – A StubHub executive at the Media Tech Summit 2012 conference said that as the company is seeing an increase in the number of sellers, the challenge is creating the best user experience as the company moves towards mobile.

The “Understanding The Implications of Big Data” session included executives from StubHub, PayPal and 10gen.  It was moderated by Neil Fox, chief innovation officer at Ness Technologies.

“One of the things that has caught us by surprise is what has happened with supply,” said Ray Elias, chief marketing officer at StubHub, San Francisco.

“We have lots and lots of sellers at this point selling inventory on StubHub – consumers have always valued our service for the choice and selection and we focus on buyers and the ecommerce approach we take to it,” he said.

“But what we have seen happen with pricing is incredible, so it’s a great story for buyers but it is quite controversial in our space because the Yankees don’t like to see 50 cent tickets on StubHub.”

“Quite frankly having to sift through pages and pages of $3 tickets on StubHub is not the best experience either, especially as we move more and more towards a mobile experience.”

Drive discovery
StubHub claims that 20 percent of its traffic is coming from mobile devices. Of those users, 50 percent buy from their handsets.

Helping consumers discover live events is one of the primary goals of StubHub, which is how the company uses big data.

Digital impacts the entire customer journey from discovering a live event to using a digital ticket to enter a venue for StubHub.

Social media and mobile go hand-in-hand and can be a particularly strong way to leverage a company’s data.

For example, StubHub uses social graphs to better recommend live events to consumers. Consumers are drawn to live events that their friends and family are interested in.

Therefore, being able to predict what a consumer is interested in is key.

When StubHub was acquired by eBay, the company began incorporating what eBay does well  – digital marketing – with some of the predicting what and how a consumer buys.

With this though comes a privacy concern. The key is letting consumers know that data is being used to create more relevant and personalized experiences that will benefit them.

Big data problems
There are big technologies available for both data players and databases nowadays.

According to Daniel Austin, chief architect at PayPal, San Jose, CA, there are three main aspects to big data problems – a massive amount of data available on disk, local distribution and the need to manipulate that data globally or you could get a big data problem where the actual inflow and outflow.

When it comes to privacy, Paypal is based on consumer trust, meaning that the company is always trying to make users feel safe.

Big data problems are only now beginning, per the executive.

“I don’t think we have begun to see the real big data problems yet – most of the problems we have seen are only a shadow of what is to come,” Mr. Austin said.

Final Take
Ray Elias is chief marketing officer at StubHub, San Francisco