Artful.ly in the Wild: Keeping Patrons on Your Site
We're now roughly 6 weeks into the private beta of Artful.ly. (To refresh your memory, Artful.ly is Fractured Atlas's new online software for managing your tickets, donations, and contacts.) As of this morning, 53 intrepid organizations have taken the plunge. (Request your invitation today!) We're getting lots of valuable feedback, which is helping us improve Artful.ly as it marches towards a public release.
Today I want to highlight one of those early adopters who's using what just might be Artful.ly's coolest feature: the ability to sell tickets entirely on your own website.
Truth be told, I've always been baffled by online merchants who direct you away from their site at exactly the most critical moment, when you're about to make a purchase. It's why I've never been a big fan of Paypal and why I've always insisted that Fractured Atlas do its own credit card processing. You're introducing friction where you should be greasing the skids.
Even with Artful.ly in its beta phase, the power and utility of this program is readily evident. As someone with a varied decade plus of Box Office and Patron services experience under my belt, I've had the pleasure to use all sorts of ticketing and CRM systems; from systems require that onsite server rooms to my own DIY relational databases, it's a varied field. But as the name implies, Artful.ly is really the first of this type of software to put the artist and their events at the center of the experience. It's intuitive and adaptable to the digital strengthens of the user. The slick hosted interface is well laid out and easy to use; a ticket buyer would be pleased to be bounced to this. But, that's what every other system does. The game changer is the widgetized version. Every small arts organization and individual artist that goes to any marketing session learns about the importance of keeping people on your site, and this is the first of its kind to allow someone to integrate ticketing in one's own site as easily as embedding a YouTube video. It moves the focus away from the ticketing platform to the artist.
In our implementation, for our 2012 Gala, The Disaster Ball, we had an easy time creating a ticketing experience that never feels like anything but an invitation to our event. No separate log-ins and no new windows; both previously unheard of! And Fractured Atlas's responsive dedication to the development of the product is a clear indication that we can expect the system only to improve. This isn't a complicated merchant services account adapted to a shopping cart for tickets, it's not an expensive massive patron services database one hosts on site, it's not a sports ticket system pushed into use for a performance venue, it's not software adapted from another sales system. It's a ground-up, powerful yet light-weight, user friendly arts centered system with strong commitment from a service oriented developer.
So let's take a look at this in action. Click the link to buy tickets, and you end up here:
Artful.ly automatically loads up a list of all your performances with buttons to purchase tickets at any of your price points. If you make changes or updates in Artful.ly, they're reflected immediately in the widget on your site. Add some tickets to your shopping cart, and this nifty thing happens:
As if by magic, a beautiful shopping cart slides up from the bottom of the screen, where your patron can complete the purchase. It's really very cool. Try it out and see what I mean!
Are you ready to work Artful.ly? Request your invitation to join the private beta.