During our ongoing work with the Kansas City Zoo our team identified a major opportunity to simultaneously give guests a better online experience and use less of the zoo’s resources. In other words, happier guests and increased revenues.
The underlying issues
Zoo guests were finding the process of purchasing tickets, memberships, gifting, and making donations cumbersome. Because it was. The fragmented checkout process resulted in more employee resources being used than necessary, less sales, and dissatisfied guests.
Here’s how it was happening. Online sales were handled by a third party service that would take guests away from the zoo website onto an entirely different platform to make a purchase. This created two problems. The first was that it was confusing for guests. The second was an inability to apply pricing discounts unless a zoo employee manually intervened. If a guest became confused or saw inaccurate pricing they would either call guest services or stop the checkout process.
Our team created a solution that would remove these problems.
A pathway to success
There were two things we needed to do; add online user accounts, and integrate ticket and membership sales with the actual zoo website.
These changes would create a seamless experience for guests during checkout and give the zoo full control over the sales process (including discounts).
Part 1: Adding user accounts
A user account allows guests to create an account with their own logins. That means they can access and update their own information at any time. This empowered the zoo to introduce features like saved personal details (name, address, email, etc..), payment information, credits and coupons, order histories, online ticketing, online memberships, and online donations. All in one place.
Giving guests the ability to access and edit this information makes the checkout process easier (with their address and payment information saved). It also eliminated many unnecessary interactions with zoo employees who no longer needed to do things like change membership details, review transaction history, or update payment methods.
Another major benefit of having user accounts was gaining the ability to collect detailed information about the Zoo’s user base like most popular products, trends, website paths, etc. This information is invaluable for making strategic decisions in sales and marketing.
Part 2: Integrating online sales
Once user accounts were added to the website, the foundation had been laid to fully integrate sales onto the Kansas City Zoo’s website. It allowed features such as ticket sales, membership sales, upsells, cross sells, discounts and coupons, credits and gift certificates to all be sold in one place – the zoo website.
There was no longer a need for a third party platform. This meant a much more streamlined checkout experience and many of the activities that guest services were having employees perform were now being done automatically by their website.
It also allowed us to deliver tickets electronically, through printable PDFs or through a scannable barcode that guests could present via a mobile device at the ticket gate.
Added bonus – Donations
Donations play a significant role in zoo patronage. They’re also a very different product than tickets and memberships. Since zoo guests now had their own account, one time or recurring donations could easily be set up and edited by guests.
It also lets donors choose to give toward specific initiatives like a new building fund or an enclosure renovation. Guests now become more invested in their donations and are more inclined to donate knowing they can make changes to their giving plans without having to work through guest services. All around, this provides avenues for increased funding and helps free up time and resources from support staff.
Adding user accounts and bringing the entire checkout process onto one single website greatly improved guest experience, made checkout easier, and saved staffing resources for the Kansas City Zoo. Additionally, these improvements should allow for growth in services and offerings and provide better insights for marketing efforts.
Our team is proud to able to work with the Kansas City Zoo to create better experiences for their guests while simultaneously freeing up valuable staffing time and resources. We look forward to what the future holds for the zoo!
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