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StubHub leaps into virtual reality-enabled commerce with new app feature

StubHub is continuing to simplify ticket-buying experiences by enabling application users to slide their smartphone into a pair of virtual reality goggles to receive a better view of a potential seat in a stadium or concert hall.

The ticketing platform is seeking to offer event-goers more convenient access to concerts and sporting games through its iOS, Android and tablet apps. Consumers will be able to open the StubHub app on their smartphones and use the feature that way, or opt to slide their device into a VR headset, after which they may tilt their head from side-to-side to receive a more immersive view of a stadium or arena.

“One of the things StubHub looks at is how we can leverage our technology to improve the experience for our fans,” said Marcus Shelksohn, head of product, mobile apps at StubHub. “We saw the opportunity to enhance our view-from-section technology that we currently have on our app and site.

“With VR coming on [so fast], we saw we could enhance that experience even more by letting users see a 360-degree view of what their seat would look like prior to transaction.”

Real-time stadium views
StubHub’s virtual view feature enables fans to have a better comprehension of their potential seats’ location. Consumers can leverage the tool with their virtual reality goggles or headsets, such as Google Cardboard, by sliding their mobile devices inside.

The feature can also be activated right on users’ smartphones, ensuring that consumers not owning VR goggles will still be able to take advantage of it.

Virtual view allows individuals to tilt their head and determine if the potential seat’s sightline is optimal for their preferences. Ultimately, customers who use the tool will be able to make a more informed decision of which stadium area is the most optimal for their enjoyment experience.

If individuals are considering seats for an upcoming baseball game but are undecided about whether to purchase lower-section or nosebleed seats, using virtual view could sway them to spring for the more expensive choice, resulting in greater revenue for StubHub.

Additionally, if consumers are debating between booking seats on StubHub or one of its competitors, the new VR tool could throw more favor toward the former.

The StubHub app currently supports virtual view for venues including Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, NRG Stadium, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Dodgers Stadium.

Picking personalization first
StubHub has employed a personalization blitz on mobile as of late, as evidenced by the implementation of iTunes library scanning and customized algorithms into its apps.

In February, the company introduced event-goers to a slew of new ecommerce features within its mobile Web and app platforms, including a ticket recommendation tool and the ability to instantly relist purchased tickets if fans can no longer attend (see story).

Fans can also upload personal photos of their seat views onto the Web site to ensure that other ticket-buyers enjoy a more streamlined decision-making process when choosing their own seats for events.

Virtual reality-enabled commerce has been a rising trend, signaling that consumers are becoming more comfortable with the new technology. Therefore, brands with significant followings – especially retailers – have major incentives to experiment within the space and integrate various augmented reality features into their apps.

The growing number of brands leveraging virtual reality is opening the door to VR commerce, which marketers are tapping to showcase products out of bricks-and-mortar contexts and offer in-store shoppers unique customer experiences (see story).

StubHub’s virtual view tool is already gaining support from customers and bolstering sales for the ticketing platform.

“We’re already seeing the results,” Mr. Shelksohn said. “Users that engage with the virtual view feature are transacting more often.”