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StubHub revamps apps with enhanced mobile ticketing, personalization algorithm

StubHub’s mobile and tablet applications have undergone a significant update to customize the process of purchasing event tickets even more, including adding a personalization algorithm to recommend activities, ESPN content for sports fans, enhanced mobile ticketing options to replace physical tickets and mobile payment options for Android users.

While the brand previously offered Apple Pay capabilities for iOS users, Android customers can now use PayPal or Braintree to purchase their tickets directly within the app, and present their smartphones to event associates for quick bar code scanning and seamless entry. Consumers with iPhone and Apple Watch devices will also be privy to geofencing features, which can send push notifications when favorite artists are in town.

“Our new personalization feature will customize users’ home screens with updates specifically tailored to them, based on teams, artists, and venues that they’ve favorited,” said Parag Vaish, head of mobile at StubHub, San Francisco, CA. “If none of their favorites have upcoming events, we make recommendations based on related artists to aid in the discovery process and provide fans with exciting new options.

“Our push notifications also embrace consumer preferences — we notify users about an upcoming event from a favorite act seven days prior, giving them ample time to complete transactions. Favoriting certain venues within the app also awakens our Apple Watch integration when users are within a certain proximity, providing fans with intel on relevant upcoming events.”

On-demand environment
In a bid to keep up with consumers’ demands for instant gratification, StubHub is tapping the personalization tools and content partnerships to ensure a streamlined experience across all platforms, namely mobile, which has been growing for the company in recent months.

A StubHub executive at the 2015 Mobile: IAB Marketplace revealed the brand’s increased dedication to mobile this year, as 50 percent of transactions involve a mobile device or the StubHub application, prompting the company to explore strategies such as geo-fencing and co-branded landing pages (see story).

Fans will also be able to explore the live-event discovery process much more easily, thanks to the new user interface. The apps’ personalization algorithms will showcase customized activities to users based on their previous in-app behaviors, such as favorites, location and iTunes library, if available.

The algorithm will enable StubHub to send push notifications to customers when their favorite artists or bands are playing nearby, or if similar talent in the vicinity might be to their liking.

Consumers who own the Apple Watch as well as an iOS mobile device can take advantage of the app’s geofencing abilities, which will also help surface notifications based on proximity to particular events. StubHub has developed an application specific to the wearable device.

“We’ve always emphasized geolocation within our apps, and we’ve leveraged the current locations of users to surface nearby events,” Mr. Vaish said. “This prioritization extends to Apple Watch, where our app integration uses geofencing to alert users about upcoming events when they are in their vicinity of a favorite venue.

“By embracing location-based features, we aim to further enhance and streamline the mobile discovery process, making it easier for users to plan their weekend.”

Additionally, StubHub is leveraging content partnerships to boost consumer outreach, and is incorporating content from media publisher ESPN, such as scores, stories and team statistics, into the apps, a feature that will resonate with sports fans.

An enhanced partnership with Yelp will allow customers to view local restaurants and read reviews, while users can also tap Foursquare to see more reviews for venues. This speaks to StubHub’s desire to branch out from focusing mainly on events and concerts.

Mobile ticketing
StubHub has improved its mobile ticketing capabilities, which make it possible for customers to show their smartphone to associates at stadiums, arenas or venues, scan the bar code and receive entry without printing out a physical ticket, although the option is available.

Apple Watch customers will also have the ability to show and scan their tickets, meaning they will not necessarily have to carry their smartphones with them when attending an event. While iOS users have been able to pay in the app with Apple Pay, the brand is expanding its mobile payment features to Android customers, who can use PayPal or Braintree.

StubHub hopes its mobile-first experience will attract even more consumers, and cement it as a digital leader in the ticketing and events space.

“The combination of Apple Pay and BrainTree with PayPal on Android makes for a completely streamlined user experience,” Mr. Vaish said. “Now, StubHub users can discover an event through the app, purchase a ticket, and enter the venue — all without any friction.

“The entire process is seamless, from completing purchases with minimal typing to gaining event access without a printed ticket.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York