StubHub the land of never-ending tickets, such as a seat to LCD Soundsystem in Brooklyn Monday night for $375 (original price: $60) is becoming more social.
The eBay-owned online ticket exchange is making it easier to buy a ticket and to do so with your friends. StubHub is now showing you which one of your friends would want to go with you and will help you make your ticket selection on friends’ interests.
StubHub also has been expanding its social footprint with a new iMessage integration and a Facebook Messenger chatbot, meaning you can find your tickets in places you already are rather than just refreshing StubHub.com or opening the mobile app. The app will now scan your Facebook friends and your Spotify music library, incorporating that data into what it suggests to you.
Why all the big moves? StubHub, which was founded in 2000 as a dot-com company, has dedicated its last year and a half to social and mobile features. CEO Scott Cutler joined StubHub in April 2015 with the goal of making the site more fun and connected.
Mats Nilsson, StubHub’s head of product who has worked at the company for the last six years, has helped lead that change.
“Before we were focused on access and choice. We were the first ones with electronic delivery,” Nilsson said. “We’re never going to forget our history… What we’re pivoted to and have been pivoting too is we haven’t been a social experience before.”
StubHub saw and understood that people weren’t always going to sports games and concert by themselves. “You go with your friends, your family, your wife. You have a lot of people out there who don’t get off their couch unless you have a friend,” Nilsson said.
“It’s not just that we want to drive you to a special event,” he continued, “It’s what has my network done or is doing.”
StubHub added a new tab on the profile screen for friends. There, it pulls from your Facebook friends list if you give it permission and you can then choose to add them to your StubHub friends list. In the future, StubHub plans to incorporate phone numbers and other social networks.
“Facebook as the inventor of social is the big dog in town, and thats why were implementing Facebook first,” Nilsson said. He noted that StubHub has already seen an increase in sign-ups and purchasing due to Facebook log-in.
The integration makes it so you can see the activity feed of those connected friends. StubHub users will also see what events those friends have expressed interest in on the homepage of the app.
“The whole idea is were going to start re-arranging what people see on their home to become more social inclined,” Nilsson said.
A new iMessage app allows StubHub users to search for events and send options to friends via Apple’s messaging app. Friends can choose to vote on the events and then one person can choose to buy that tickets. The idea, Nilsson said, is to make it so users never have to leave their texting apps.
“Whenever people, however people are connecting with friends we of course want to build for,” Nilsson said.
StubHub also has been testing a new chatbot on Facebook Messenger. You can see a demo here:
It won’t be the perfect solution for everyone, Nilsson said. StubHub still gets ticket sales from desktop primarily during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday hours while mobile ticket sales tend to happen during lunch time or at night.
These builds haven’t all been fun and games. While StubHub is a leader in the ticket sales industry with nearly a billion in revenue for 2016, it still faces competition from other players like Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and Gametime. This new aspect of social and mobile is where Gametime, a startup launched by a former StubHub founder, finds its niche.
“Competition will always be there, especially in our market,” Nilsson said. “We’re all innovating on different things.”
Up next for StubHub: better ticket transfers and more ways to connect.
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