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accesso Blog Series: Tips for Maximizing your eCommerce.

**accesso** Blog Series: Tips for Maximizing your eCommerce.
Jw  Maximizing E Commerce 9 12 17

September has a tendency to sneak up on us in the theme park industry. With the beginning of the school year upon us, and the carefree summer days behind us, it’s now time to focus on continuing the momentum into the fall. For many of our Clients, this means celebrating the next exciting holiday, Halloween! Beyond the spooky decorations and costumed staff members, what can we do to help make these promotions a success? After a sensational summer, how can we drive sales and revenue? You may be surprised to find that making a few simple changes to your eCommerce site can help fulfill both of these objectives. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Expand Your Product Offerings

Providing a one-stop shop through your eCommerce site allows your Guests to plan in advance so they can truly focus on enjoying your venue during their visit. For many Guests, once they purchase their ticket to the park, they are finished. The item is checked off the “To Do” list and tucked into the corner of their mind until the day of the visit arrives. But is admission really all that a Guest needs? Is it all a Guest wants? Probably not. If I’m off to a theme park, I’m not necessarily thinking about all the different purchases that I will likely want to make once I arrive, but once I’m there I’m spending precious energy, and more importantly time, purchasing them. Whether it is individual meals, souvenir drink bottles, special event passes, locker and stroller rentals, or virtual queuing, if I’m not presented with the opportunity to purchase online in advance, the venue may miss out on my purchase.

Often, Clients won’t initially think about all the products they can offer to a guest online in a responsive eCommerce experience. Here is the general rule of thumb: If you’re not offering it, they aren’t buying it. Don’t be afraid to offer something new or unusual! Worst case scenario, the product is offered online and there is no interest - but at that point at least you aren’t missing out on potential sales!

2. Guide the Purchase Flow

Now that we have a wider selection of products to choose from, it’s time to help guide the Guest through a purchase flow that presents these additional opportunities by using up-sells, cross-sells, and wizards! With a normal eCommerce flow, a Guest may simply choose a daily ticket, proceed to their cart, and complete their purchase. Great, they bought a ticket and there’s nothing wrong with that... but there are so many ways it can be better.

For example, if a Guest is purchasing a daily ticket they can be offered simultaneously a recommended product like parking on the same page. With just one simple click, they can easily add a product that they will likely need. From there we can offer an opportunity to up-sell to a better product! Why buy a daily ticket when you can get season pass for only $15 more? From this point, regardless if you took the up-sell offer, we can present additional products that make sense with the item being purchased. For a daily ticket, you might want a daily photo pass or meal ticket. For a season pass, why not buy season dining and season photos with purchase so you can be set for the rest of the year?

Helping guide a Guest through the purchase flow gives them a better visibility into the offerings they might not know about and logically leads them to purchase more tickets and often at higher price points. Instead of a daily ticket, we now have a Guest purchasing a season pass, season photo pass, season dining, and season parking! Industries everywhere are using these techniques, from Amazon who once attributed 35% of revenue to up-selling and cross-selling, to the airline industry who reportedly made an extra $28 billion from add-ons last year, so why shouldn’t you?

3. Add Compelling Images and Descriptions

Now that we have the actual purchase flow ironed out, how do we draw Guests to these products? Images. An image can convey understanding at a glance, while a quick summation or bulleted list fills in the rest. Marketing products with images is a fine balance of information, appeal, and utility.

  • Information - Product images need to quickly convey what the product is and make a positive impression on the Guest while not overwhelming them. While placing text on an image can convey pertinent product information, too much text completely defeats the purpose of even having an image.

  • Appeal - It’s amazing what a difference in appeal a quality photo can make when compared to a cell phone. A simple product image that says “Daily Ticket,” while accurate, doesn’t immediately convey what that product is. Let’s say we are selling a ticket to a Theme Park; I can easily advertise “Daily Ticket” with simple font, but if that font is overlaid properly on a quality photo of a popular attraction, that will help draw the Guest into that experience.

  • Utility - Another facet of images that is often neglected is the actual image file size. The smaller you can get your images, the quicker they will load on a Guest’s computer or phone. While having amazing images is great, if you are trying to load multiple photos at a few megabytes a piece, the Guest likely will have a delay in the page loading, creating a slow down during their purchasing experience which can then lead to cart abandonment. To balance, it is critical to provide quality images that look good on a variety of devices while still having the file size small enough to load seamlessly for the guest.

4. Optimize for Mobile

As we talk about speeds and accessibility regarding images, the same applies to the overall purchase flow and experience on mobile devices. Our accesso Passport eCommerce Clients have seen an incredible shift over the past few years from desktop to mobile sales with numerous venues seeing more mobile sales than desktop sales. It is important to make the mobile eCommerce experience quick and easy for the Guest while still utilizing all the practices I mentioned above. Easy and efficient purchase flows are paramount, as even small delays in loading times or struggles with navigation can cause Guests to abandon the purchase.

The easier the Guest experience is, the more likely they will complete a purchase (and hopefully future purchases) right on their device rather than standing in queues to purchase the same thing. Mobile purchasing then benefits in many ways that might not initially be noticed: staffing of venues for ticket sales, shorter lines for Guests allowing them to be taking advantage of other activities, and full product availability to the Guest through quick-sells, up-sells, and cross-sells right from the palm of their hand.

One of the most exciting projects I’ve had the privilege of working on is a new Booking Portal functionality. For those venues that offer specific date and time products or season products that require specific time reservations, we now have a solution that allows guests to make and modify their reservations as needed and from desktop, tablet, or even their mobile device if they are on the go!

The short version? Offer everything you can to a Guest and make sure they are able to take full advantage of your product offerings anytime and anywhere they want in a responsive eCommerce experience!

With a combination of full product offerings, efficient and engaging purchase flow, enticing images, and a responsive platform to purchase on, your eCommerce store will be optimized and ticket sales ready to flood in. Speaking of which… I should probably get back to coordinating our Clients’ Halloween promotions that are launching! September and October are going to be busy months!

Jonathan Widergren - Sr. Client Services Manager, Lake Mary Office

Jonathan Widergren is a Senior Client Services Manager and a graduate of the University of Illinois. Jon has worked with accesso for nearly 4 years. He’s a giant Star Wars geek, and when he isn’t helping clients with their eCommerce solutions he is either plugged into his VR or running a game of Dungeons & Dragons.