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SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store: Q&A With A Product Manager

Updated: April 28, 2021 | Share on LinkedIn

We will soon release a new feature in our product: SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store. When a guest purchases a ticket on your web store, they will have the option for the ticket to be delivered via text message to their mobile device. So we thought this would be a good time to sit down with the Product Manager here at Gateway who helped bring this feature to life: Dave Carey. We spoke with Dave about SMS Delivery in particular, but also pulled the curtain back a bit on how a new feature is developed at Gateway. Here’s what he had to say.

What is SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store:?

Dave: SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store will allow Galaxy users to automatically deliver a link to a guest’s mobile device via text message after the guest makes a ticket purchase. The link will allow them to retrieve their tickets right from their phone. They can look at every ticket in the transaction, select specific tickets to look at, and add their tickets to Apple Wallet all via the link.

On the backend, tickets are created as they always have been in Galaxy; as if we were creating a printed ticket on-site or one delivered via pdf for print-at-home. We’re just changing the way we get tickets into the hands of your guests. In order to achieve this, we built the Message API. It works with Galaxy, taking a message created by the creation of a ticket, and linking that message to an SMS provider. The provider handles sending the SMS from there.

Why did Gateway decide to work on this new feature?

Dave: There has always been a growing demand for quicker transactions, and quicker and more convenient access to tickets. The pandemic has also taught us a lot about the demand for contactless transactions. Even though we see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID-19, these trends aren’t going away. We built SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store to continue to grow the capabilities of Galaxy in terms of contactless ticket delivery. And during the discovery process and building business cases, we learned even more about the efficiencies of SMS Delivery and the Message API that I think can help drive the cloud roadmap moving forward.

What are the benefits of SMS delivery vs other methods of delivery?

Dave: I think the biggest benefit is environmental – you are reducing paper waste. You’re also increasing convenience. Getting a text message with a link is the quickest way for your guest to access their tickets (even quicker than emailing the ticket). We all text, and we all have access to our texts readily available right on our screens. Additionally, it’s contactless. No handing of a ticket back and forth, which is important in the pandemic era and beyond.

Your guests also get flexibility in terms of how they handle their tickets. Often times one guest will buy a ticket for their family or a larger party. They may need to distribute the tickets once purchased. With SMS Delivery, they can just click on the link, view individual tickets, screenshot and send them. It’s that easy.

Finally, there’s one benefit attractions may not consider: SMS Delivery ensures the collection of a phone number. Your guests have to input their number in order to receive the message. With appropriate permission granted, you can now use this phone number for operational and marketing purposes, like sending pre-trip information or special promotions.

What do you see as the future of SMS delivery?

Dave: We’ve started with web store delivery for SMS so that we could build all the backend pieces in Galaxy that enable a ticket to be text messaged. We have not committed to any further development yet, but I could potentially see this heading in many directions.

The most logical next step would be SMS Delivery onsite. When a guest purchases their ticket at your gate, it’s instantly texted to their phone instead of printed and handed to them. This could work for kiosks too. It could also work for Order Entry.

I’m excited about potential applications for F&B and retail as well. At your café, you could text someone when their order is ready. At a sit down restaurant, text them when they’re table is ready. No more pagers. In both the F&B and retail environments, you can text a link to a receipt instead of printing a paper one, reducing your paper consumption and reducing your touch points between guest and staff or merchandise.

What is the process at Gateway for creating a new feature, like SMS delivery?

Dave: We approach R&D in a few different ways. Sometimes new ideas come directly from our user community. Other times they’re suggested internally from developers who work in the product day-in and day-out. And a lot times new ideas come from Gateway employees who regularly work with and speak to our customers.

When we believe we have a great idea for a new feature based on customer need or industry trend, we spend a lot of time vetting its validity. We develop a business plan and look at profitability and ROI. We’ll build user stories, development plans and estimate the project from a workload and time perspective.

In the case of SMS Delivery for the Web Store, one user story might focus on the guest. For example: As a guest of Starlight Zoo, I would like to purchase general admission to the Zoo online, and have my tickets automatically text messaged to me once I’ve completed my purchase. I then want to be able to easily add my tickets to my Apple Wallet. Another user story for the same feature might be: As a Marketing Manager at Starlight Zoo, I want a way to encourage guests to give us their phone number to be used later for marketing and development purposes. When guests are purchasing a ticket online, I would like to give them the option of receiving their tickets via text message if they provide their number. I would also like to provide a checkbox they can uncheck, which gives us permission to use their phone number for marketing and development purposes.

Leveraging the user stories, we will then write up acceptance requirements. And our QA team uses these acceptance requirements to test the product once development is complete.

How do you get SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store at your attraction?

Dave: Once the feature is released, we can give you access and arrange for it to be set-up. We’ll also gather some pertinent information about your configuration so we can have implementation staff at Gateway help you configure it to work. The feature will be subscription based, and you get a certain amount of messages as part of your subscription.

There’s no special prerequisites for using SMS Delivery. As long as you sell tickets through a Galaxy web store right now, you’re good to go. I will say that having a CRM is an advantage – whether you use our CRM+ product or a different CRM. Each transaction will create a contact record that you could store in CRM, regardless if the transaction is created on the web store or elsewhere, so you’ll know which guests prefer to receive their tickets via SMS. This will help you build out a more wholistic view of each guest. Additionally, you’ll be collecting an accurate phone number. You’ll want to update that on the contact record as well so you can leverage the number for future marketing promotions, development, or to deliver other transaction items in the future.

If you’d like to use SMS Delivery for eGalaxy Web Store at your attraction, reach out to your Business Solutions Manager or contact us at info@gatewayticketing.com.

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