7 min read

Using Spektrix to increase your Secondary Spend

There’s more to sell than tickets…

The main source of earned income for most arts organizations is from ticket sales made at the box office or on their website. However, we know that the potential for generating revenue stretches far beyond tickets. Many organizations have more to offer their customers, and these items tend to have a good profit margin and can be sold to a captive audience. Upselling secondary spend items works well because customers have already made the decision to spend with you and they'll also have trust and a degree of loyalty with your brand. At Spektrix we often discuss strategies to build revenue through secondary spend but now we’re going to show you practical ways to implement these through the Spektrix system. 

When visiting venues we often overhear customers expressing surprise that there is a food offering, car parking, or a shop on site. So, it’s important to get the word out about what else your venue has to offer and to do this at the right time, which is usually before they actually arrive at your venue. In this tough financial climate, it’s important that you maximize your opportunities to help support your core activity and here are some ways you can do this through Spektrix.


Set up Supplementary Events

What it is

As a customer, it's often easy to miss all that a venue has to offer, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. So it’s really important to make sure you display all options clearly, ensuring to emphasize the most relevant things. A great example of this is making sure things such as meal deals and car parking are clearly available to customers, as well as pre-show talks, tours and other show related activities.

How to do it

In Spektrix, we have a Supplementary Events function, that allows you to set up relevant events that will be suggested from within the basket as the customer progresses through the online booking journey.


You can set as many of these supplementary events as needed and you can choose which events will be suggested by defining their relationship with the items already in the customer basket, for example, a post-show talk for a Thursday evening performance. The parameters can be set to events that fall on the same day, or they can be even more specific, such as within hours or even minutes of the item already in the basket.

As well as being relevant, the process of purchasing additional items needs to be simple, capitalizing on the moment the customer decides to make a purchase. Customers who are prompted to purchase supplementary items when booking online can easily add these additional items to their basket in a single click. The ease of this process means your audiences are more likely to increase their overall basket value without having to search around to find what you have to offer.


Merchandise on your website

What it is

The point of booking is also a good opportunity to sell merchandise items, such as programs or CDs, specific to the event the customer is booking for. Selling these items online in advance entices the customer to become more engaged with the event they will attend, and improves the customer experience as you reduce the pre-show and interval queues. We’ve made it easy for you to make these relevant suggestions to your customers at the point of booking, by allowing you to recommend merchandise items to a related event or a number of events. Again, this means a relevant suggestion appears in the customer's basket and can be converted to a purchase with one click.

These merchandise items should be readily available so that customers can easily make these purchases whenever they visit your website. This might not always be at the same time as they book tickets, so it should be easy to find these items when landing on the homepage. Your website should be designed with the customer in mind so that they can quickly navigate to where they want to be. If you have to root around to find what you are looking for then you run the risk of losing their interest. 

How to do it

When creating merchandise items in Spektrix, you have the option to set these to cross-sell to one or more events. This is a really simple setup and takes just a few clicks. Once set up, the merchandise item will appear as a suggested item in the customer's basket. It also appears at the box office so that your team can confidently upsell these relevant items. You can add a simple shop page to your website using our merchandise iframe. You might want to think about filtering this shop page so that customers can find the product they are looking for more easily. The Royal Court in London use filters, and these are simply powered by Spektrix using attributes. As with all attributes, you set these up to match your needs, so these can be built to reflect the types of filters which will be useful for customers browsing your online shop. When you create a merchandise item on Spektrix, you can select the required attribute to instruct your website where to populate this item (is it a playtext, a book, a CD). Some work will need to be undertaken by your web developers to get this set up, but it's well worth the effort. 

Screenshot of the Spektrix system, showing how a new stock item can be set up with price, postage costs and more

Your website needs to be clear and user-friendly so that customers can navigate around easily, and so that they can access your shop page or other offerings like meal deals. Take a look at the Royal Court for an example of an effective shop page selling playtexts:

The Royal Court's online shop, displaying covers of playtexts, pricing details and calls to action

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has a great Food and Drink page with lots of dining packages for customers to peruse:

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's website, where a range of dining optiions including hampers, picnics and pre-event drinks are offered as supplementary events
Unicorn Theatre in London has a shop located in the foyer of their venue, but replicate this online with their adorably named Unicorner Shop. They also use web components and the Basket web component, which shows a summary of the number and value of items currently in the basket. 

Creative toys for sale at Unicorn Theatre's online shop, with colourful images, rich description and clear calls to action
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has a great shop page, replete with hoodies and stationery for their students, as well as some fancy tartan bowties. 

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's online shop, showing a range of tartan items and making it clear that purchases will directly support music scholarships.



Send automatic Pre-Show Emails

What it is

The Supplementary Events functionality and suggested merchandise items catch those customers who are planning ahead and are able to make decisions about their visit at the time of booking tickets. This will be effective for many, but not all audiences behave in this way. To catch those customers who make secondary spend purchasing decisions a little closer to the time of their visit, you'll have more success by mirroring their booking behaviors in your approach. An effective way to do this is with pre-show emails.  Pre-show emails can be used to let customers know all the pertinent information before they visit, but can also be used to promote merchandise and everything else you might be offering.

How to do it

With Pre- and Post-show email functionality, you can set up different emails for different events, dates, days and times. This allows you to ensure that your offer is relevant to the event that has been booked. You can also use the in-house knowledge of your audience spend here too. Perhaps the Monday email should include a promotion for the bar to increase sales on what is one of your quieter days, whereas the Friday night crowd probably need less persuasion. You probably want to alter the tone for different customer groups too, so think about sending a different email to your first time bookers, perhaps with information about venue access or your organization's charitable aims. With our reporting and segmentation tools you can easily monitor the success of these campaigns and can test, measure, refine and repeat until you reach an optimal stage. 

Screenshot of the Spektrix system, where a pre-event email can be scheduled and a specific template assigned
Screenshot of the Spektrix system, showing how email recipients can be filtered by the events they're attending
Making your pre-show emails timely will improve their effectiveness, so why not try experimenting you send these emails to different types of customers? You could use the criteria set alongside our auto tagging function to tailor your pre-show email based on audience behavior. You could try creating an auto tag for patrons who tend to book late (fewer than 2 weeks in advance) and then schedule an automatic email that goes to this group one day before they are due to attend, using what you already know about their behavior to improve the success of your communication. For those who booked further in advance, it's more appropriate, and more likely to be read, if sent out around one week before they visit. 

Screenshot of the Spektrix system, showing how audiences can be segmented to minute detail, including by number of tickets booked, number of events attended, group size and sales channel

These emails are all sent out via our dotdigital integration, which means they can be designed to reflect your branding and organization's personality. Also with this dotdigital integration, you’ll also benefit from an insight into how your customers interact with your emails, so including links and tracking these to your website will help you gauge how engaged your customers are with different campaigns and messaging. Again, you can use the knowledge from your reports here to see if you are getting things right, and don’t be afraid of switching things up. Just remember to keep monitoring how successful changes are with your segments and audiences. Read more about How to Rock at Pre and Post-Show Emails on our a previous blog.


Actively market your offerings using Customer Lists

What is it

You'll be familiar with Customer lists for marketing campaigns, but they're also handy for helping generate revenue for your supporting items as they let you actively promote items to your customers. As with marketing for your events, you want to make sure that your campaigns are segmented intelligently so that your offer is relevant and enticing.

How to do it

There are a number of ways you can use the Customer Lists functionality to do this. Here are a few examples you could use with customer and purchasing segments:

Customer Segments
If you offer car parking then why not send an email to all those customers who are due to attend in the next month and who you know live in an area where they could not easily reach you on foot. You can do this by using a booking segment for events coming up in the next month alongside a Customer Segment looking at geographical location.

Purchasing segments
You can use previous purchase behavior and purchasing segments to market these supporting items in the same way as you do with tickets. Try building a customer list based on previous purchasing behavior, so you can plug your secondary spend items to customers that have previously purchased these or similar items in the past. Or you could look at those who are likely to have a higher propensity to spend more by looking at the ticket purchase behavior. For example, do they always buy the top price ticket?

It’s important that you maximize your revenue potential at all your touchpoints, so don’t neglect those booking over the phone or in person. Your box office staff can be trained to upsell these items at the counter or over the phone, but it’s important that they're confident and informed enough to be able to do this successfully. You can handle this by creating a customer group for the customers identified in your customer lists, so that your box office teams can upsell relevant secondary spend items to those most likely to take advantage of it. This way you're making all your audiences aware of what else you have to offer, no matter how they choose to book.

As well as increasing revenue, this also help enhances the customer experience leaving them more likely to return.

There’s so much more out there than just selling tickets. Your organization is selling an experience and by upping your secondary spend game, not only will you be able to increase revenue, you'll also be giving your audience members a better and more satisfying experience.  


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Tom Nolan is Head of Global Ecosystem at Spektrix

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