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Debenhams launches Box Office

BY MARK, MENSWEAR, HOME & ELECTRICALS EDITOR ON 30 SEP 2013 16:46 GIFT IDEASCOMMENTS

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Debenhams has launched its very own Box Office service selling tickets for leisure and entertainment events to customers direct from its website.

While the market for tickets has grown rapidly to an estimated £6.5 billion a year, most sales are direct though venue websites and online agencies.

This is the first time a retailer has attempted to provide a one-stop-shop to help customers find what’s on in their area and buy tickets on one easy-to-use site.

The innovative service was piloted earlier this month and is now available to customers from the debenhams.com.

It features a clever search option where people can enter their postcode and find local events from 1 to 25 miles from their home.

The Box Office website clicks through from the main Debenhams site and features local, regional and national events.

Consumers can search by date, location or category Eg. Theatre, spa, or restaurant. They will also receive discounts, exclusive offers and a weekly ‘things to do’ on-line newsletter tailored to their local area.

Debenhams hopes to grab a slice of the UK leisure and entertainment market in areas such as music and gigs, sport, theatre, comedy and night outs, aiming to become the go-to place for users looking for anything from events, to beauty treatments and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, for a special birthday or anniversary gift.

Fiona Lay, spokesperson for Debenhams, said: “We see this as a great opportunity to help customers find an inspirational answer to that frequently asked question, ‘what shall we do this weekend?’ At the same time we hope to help invigorate local economies and communities with our postcode search option, encouraging people to engage in available activities close to home which they may otherwise have over looked.”

The online and mobile venture has been developed for Debenhams by Activity Superstore, the UK’s leading provider of experience days. An app will be available next year and there will also be a Facebook presence.

While most ticket sales (81%) are direct to venue box offices or via online agencies, half of venues seats go unsold leaving an opportunity for a newcomer to the market like Debenhams to make a significant impact on sales.

Shaun Powell, chief executive officer of Activity Superstore said: “Debenhams Box Office will be the widest and most comprehensive event booking service available online and our research among consumers has been extremely positive showing they are happy to consider different options for purchasing tickets.

“Venue owners and promoters are increasingly looking for new channels and techniques to maximise seat sales. Currently it is estimated that unsold capacity is worth £6billion per annum and we will be able to offer seats to thousands of events and shows, both locally and nationally.”

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    [...] have otherwise been unaware of. And with over half of venue seats in the UK currently going unsold, Debenhams hopes to offer tickets to thousands of events and activities, reinvigorating local communities along the way via its online site and app expected in the New [...]