Big Data is ‘Bread and Butter’ for Stubhub

Today, when you attend a concert, go to a sporting event or see a comedy show, chances are you’ve purchased tickets online. And if you have, you know that your ability to seamlessly navigate and make purchases, no matter what device you’re on, sets the tone for the entire experience. The more personalized that experience is, the more satisfied the online purchaser will be.

“Personalization and big data are the bread and butter of our business,” says Nikhil Sukhtankar, senior product manager of buyer experience for Stubhub. “We’re always trying to understand what your interests are. Are you a sports fan, a music person, do you like comedy?”

I recently had the chance to catch up with Sukhtankar while attending Apps World North America. Stubhub is an online marketplace that allows consumers to buy and sell tickets for sports, concerts, theater and other live entertainment events. What Stubhub has been traditionally good at, is being able to know the consumer that is navigating on the website, and suggest relevant tickets and offers that compliment purchase history and other interests.

Stubhub treats each interest area individually to personalize and enhance the consumer experience.

“Sports and music are a little different for example because once we find out you’re a 49ers fan, we know you’re a 49ers fan,” Sukhtankar said. “Personalization is key here, because now we can provide the best seating experience for you at the next 49ers game. When it’s about music, you may be a U2 fan, but U2 may not be on tour near you, so personalization here would surround analyzing your genre interests and suggesting other bands that are like U2 for you to see.”

Stubhub has to consider all aspects of the consumer experience, even how much time you might spend waiting in line for food, beer or merchandise. A patron can spend up to almost a third of that event waiting in line.

“We actually have plans of moving to what we call the ‘go’ experience or the ‘at-the-event’ experience and it makes perfect sense,” Sukhtankar said. “We are the leaders of the ticket space, so we can think about things that revolve around tickets. And since we are part of the eBay family, we have run a few experiments with them to tap into their resources and not have to build a new business from scratch,” he said, adding, “So I really think the future of Stubhub is finding a way to get to that next step where the consumer is empowered to do anything around that one event or experience.”

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