Is There a Future for Social Selling?

Not a week goes by without Web workers, particularly those in the social media space, hearing about some statistic which gives them hope that one day actively selling their goods and services on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest will be a reality.

The issue is that there are many problems with selling via social media as it stands today. The majority of users (which trends younger in relation to demographics) simply don't have the financial resources to purchase what appears in their feed, but more importantly, "social" is perhaps not always the right "environment" for selling - at least not selling actively. That being said, however, there are some instances when selling makes sense - at least in a social context.

Take TicketFire, for example, an app that allows consumers (and, of course, ticket brokers) to turn paper tickets into digital tickets. TicketFire just introduced a new way to sell and send tickets via, you guessed it, social media. The benefit here is really that sellers can sell their tickets at the last minute in a convenient and safe, entirely paperless way - which makes a lot of sense thanks to the real-time nature of social.

The app allows sellers to set their own price for tickets, input payment information and share unique social links on any channel including Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and other sites. Buyers interested in the tickets can click the link and are directed to payment information (without being forced to download an app). Once purchased, the ticket is sent via text to their phones and for convenience a PDF is sent to their email. TicketFire deposits the money into the seller's accounts within 48 hours after the event, allowing time for the buyer to attend the event or report any problems.

The solution is free for consumers who want to digitize their tickets, and $0.99 per ticket for high-volume users who digitize more than 10 tickets a month. Sellers are be charged 9 percent of the total ticket cost and buyers a 3 percent credit card processing charge.

"We created TicketFire to make exchanging and selling tickets seamless, and to give buyers the confidence to know they are getting the ticket they purchase," said Ray Shealy, Executive Chairman of TicketFire. "The social selling component will likely come naturally to our users in today's mobile, socially-connected world."

Despite the creative use of social media and what I'm sure is a useful technology, Ticketfire faces incredible competition with the likes of TicketMaster and Stubhub dominating the market currently who are better positioned in nearly every way. StubHub, in particular, is on the move and in the headlines this week for its second public acquisition of the year (in May 2016 the company purchases TicketBiz for over $100 million). The eBay owned online ticketing site just purchased Ticket Utils, a software company that helps large ticket sellers manage their inventories and online distribution. 

Is embracing social and tech enough to give Ticketfire a ticket to the show?