With mobile gadgets showing great promise for ticket sales to music concerts and sports events, StubHub plans to update its apps for Apple's iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile devices with new features like "interactive walkthroughs" of stadiums.
About 20% of StubHub's traffic now comes through its existing mobile apps, but only 10% of its ticket sales are done from smartphones and tablets, said Danielle Maged, StubHub's senior VP of product development, speaking at a recent press event in New York City.
StubHub sees mobile devices as an ideal platform for making last-minute ticket sales to people who are suddenly looking for something to do that night, for instance, according to Maged. "[You have] the ability to buy a ticket while walking down the street," she pointed out.
To help boost ticket sales from phones and tablets, eBay-owned StubHub -- the archrival of Ticketmaster's TicketsNow -- also plans to start letting users invite friends to buy tickets, a capability already present on StubHub's Web site.
StubHub is also partnering on the mobile side with companies like ESPN and ticketing technology specialist Paciolan. ESPN is promoting StubHub ticket sales through its own mobile apps, said Mark Horine, ESPN's director of digital media.
People who own season tickets to sports events like to be able to sell tickets they can't use through "trusted" services like StubHub, instead of resorting to scalpers, speakers suggested during a panel session.
About 50% of tickets sold through the company are purchased below ordinary ticket costs, according to Maged.
StubHub now plans to open up its API (application programming interface) through a forthcoming developers portal, so that other mobile apps can also integrate with StubHub, said Mats Nilsson, StubHub's product director, in an interview with Brighthand at the press event.
The company is looking to complete the app updates and developers portal by the end of this year, offering them first for iOS and then for the Android and Windows phone platforms, said Raji Arasu, StubHub's CTO and VP of product and engineering.
Ordering Pretzels from Your Seat?
Plans are also in the works to expand on the eBay/StubHub integration already present in an iPad app called Watch with eBay, Nilsson noted.
Through this future integration, StubHub customers might ultimately be able to order hotdogs and pretzels at events directly from their seats, on just about any type of mobile device, he illustrated.
StubHub now uses PayPal, another eBay-owned property, for online payments. No plans have been announced for the inclusion of NFC for making payments.
In the upcoming walkthroughs, ticket buyers will be able to use their fingers on the touchscreen to take virtual "walks" through stadiums before deciding which seats to choose, Nilsson said.
To produce these, StubHub is enhancing the stadium maps already existing on its web site with spline-based animation, a technique also used to produce flybys for gaming apps, for example.
The spline animation creates a 3D-ish effect, but no special glasses are needed for viewing the screen.