What Event Planners Can Learn from Amazon

This is a sponsored post written by Timothy Mercer, Sr. Content Marketer, Lanyon. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

Abandoned bookings are frustrating when you are trying to sell more tickets for your event. Here are 3 easy steps to solve the problem and to increase the number of completed bookings on your event registration site.   

It’s certainly not the sexiest part of event planning, but how you process payments – whether registration fees or payments for extras like t-shirts and swag bags – has a direct impact on your event’s success. The method you choose for accepting online payments can affect everything from the way you budget your event to your registration conversion rates.

Check out these 3 things to consider when choosing your online payment solution.

Buy. Don’t Build

There was a time – not all that long ago – when anyone looking to accept payments online needed to build their own payment portal, or have one built for them. That meant the vendors first had to purchase a Merchant ID – which cost around $20 per month, plus a transaction fee. Then the vendor had to build the payment portal, or pay an IT professional to build it for them. To make things more difficult, “homegrown” payment portals need to be rigorously maintained in order to meet (constantly changing) payment card industry (PCI) compliance standards. All of these factors significantly added to the upfront costs of anyone trying to achieve the reliability and convenience of online payment processing – as well as the time needed to set up the portal. For planners, this meant that it was simply more practical to collect registration fees though more traditional payment methods, like paper checks.

Things have come a long way since then. Paypal, Google Wallet, Bitcoin – there are countless methods for taking payments online. But the credit card payments are still the most common – most people already have a credit card and most folks don’t want to open an account (like Paypal) just to make a single purchase.

Fortunately, there are now many online services that let you easily (and affordably) set up an online store capable of processing credit card payments. So it’s never been easier to accept registration fees online – without having to build it yourself. Of course, if you can accept payments directly within your registration process…

Keep It Simple. For You, and Your Attendees

How many times have you almost bought something online, only to change your mind while filling out the payment forms? Shipping address, billing address, credit card information, personal information – every form fill and mouse click is another opportunity for a customer to change their mind and drop out of the transaction. Big internet retailers like Amazon learned a long time ago that if you make the process easy, people will buy more stuff. And the same applies to your attendees.

If you want to maximize the number of completed, paid registrations to your event – and minimize the number of drop-offs – you need your registration and payment experience to be as seamless as possible. A clunky payment site – one that has a separate log-in or asks your registrants to re-enter information multiple times – can actually discourage people from completing your registration. By making your payment process as seamless as possible, you can reduce the risk of your attendees getting frustrated and dropping off mid-registration. That makes it a good idea to choose a registration provider that accepts payments as part of the registration process.

Make it Mobile, but Keep it Secure

According to Comscore analytics, over half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. And this trend is only going to increase as mobile technology continues to improve and reach more users. So the savvy planner should be asking herself, “can my attendees pay for their registration from their phone?”

Again you want to minimize the number of steps and amount of time between the moment that a registrant first becomes interested in your event and the moment they submit their registration payment. If there’s a 50% chance that your potential attendee learns about your event while browsing social media from their phone, you don’t want them to have wait until they get to a computer – you want them to register and pay from their phone. After all, a lot can happen between point A and point B.

That said, you also don’t want to sacrifice security for convenience. So, when researching a solution to process your event-related payments, choose a provider that offers mobile-responsive payment processing that is also PCI compliant and data-secure.

In Conclusion

Online payment processing isn’t as dull as it sounds. It’s added a level of convenience to our lives that should not be understated. A well thought out payment processing plan can significantly impact the success of your event bookings and your bottom line.

For more information on event payment processing, check out our on-demand webinar with event planners from the University of Arizona. You’ll learn how planners at the University of Arizona have dramatically improved their events by using RegOnline® by Lanyon for their registration, payment processing and event management. Not only does RegOnline save time and money for U of A planners and make it easier for them to budget for events – it also gives more people on campus the tools they need to manage great events.