Stage Entertainment produces some of the world’s most loved musicals, from The Phantom of the Opera to Les Misérables and The Lion King. With more than 20 theatres across 11 cities, the organisation needs to provide a compelling user experience to the 7 million people who attend its performances every year.
A theatre experience that starts online
Consumer expectations around theatre and entertainment are changing. The theatre experience, which used to begin on the stage, now starts online, as Stage Entertainment’s ecommerce director Mohammed Brueckner explains:
‘There used to be more of a distinction between offline and online, and the true experience didn’t begin until you got to the venue; our online presence was simply about being found and being functional'.
These days, your website is the starting point of your overall brand experience and a destination that sets the tone for what customers will experience at a performance.
Delivering this compelling, joined-up customer experience is critical to helping Stage Entertainment differentiate itself against mass-market wholesalers that compete on ticket price. More than ever, an organisation’s success depends on its ability to deliver engaging, personalised experiences both online and offline.
But without an effective, centralised means of launching immersive online destinations for its shows, Stage Entertainment found itself with a sprawling online estate of 25+ unique and separate websites, each with a different look, feel, and experience. These sites did not support personalisation and were not built to be mobile-first, despite seeing a large proportion of mobile traffic.
With each new production, content creators across six regions were having to create a website design from scratch, resulting in a multitude of different content management systems (CMSs), vendors, and suppliers, which was costing time and money. The result was an inconsistent user experience across Stage Entertainment websites, with differing levels of compliance with the Stage Entertainment branding and style guide.
Finding a new approach
Stage Entertainment needed an efficient and cost-effective way to launch new online properties for its European shows. These sites needed to provide a standardised, personalised, and engaging experience, irrespective of the production or region, and to provide easy access to information and ticketing for performances.
Rather than content creators having to commission a new website design for each new production, Stage Entertainment wanted a centralised site-building platform that would allow the organisation to improve the editorial experience, standardise its approach without restricting creativity, and provide compelling, mobile-first experiences.
What we did
Anastasia, a romantic, adventure-filled musical, was identified as an ideal candidate for a proof-of-concept. The aim was to create a working example of the type of website Stage Entertainment wanted to develop from the centralised platform.
Our work included:
- Auditing. We conducted a detailed audit of Stage Entertainment’s digital properties and analysed what they ideally needed, including an ideation session that brought together the managers of various regional websites.
- Discovery workshops. These workshops ensured alignment across the different stakeholders and identified requirements.
- Content architecting. This led to creation of new content architecture capturing all sources of content and mapping content to its use case or end destination, for example for use on the website, on in-theatre displays, or back-of-seat displays.
- Acquia Lift implementation & customisation. Acquia Lift was selected to create a centralised, consistent digital experiences.
Inviqa helped launch new show Anastasia by getting the website live in just six weeks. Metrics show a whopping 250% rise in conversion rate on the new platform compared with what Stage Entertainment was typically seeing across its other show sites at time of launch.
In combination with a new digital marketing campaign strategy, the new site achieved:
- 638% rise in orders compared with average
- 101% rise in time on site
- 61% rise in page views
- 57% rise in visits
- An almost 50% reduction in load time, from 8.3 second to 4.8 seconds
- An almost 50% reduction in bounce rate, from 68.93% to 36.49%
The new content architecture together with Acquia Lift supports greater personalisation. Using the model Inviqa created, Stage Entertainment can develop personas that account for where a different persona is in their journey with the brand, allowing Stage Entertainment to offer truly tailored experiences with relevant content.
The new platform is clearly helping to improve SEO positioning and loading time; in parallel, the content created for Anastasia is helping to achieving lower bounces and a better average time on site.
The new site also offers a greatly improved workflow for content creators. Centralised delivery means that regional content creators no longer need worry about creating a website design from scratch with each production; all they need to worry about is the content itself.
Focusing on the Anastasia proof-of-concept, Stage Entertainment took a phased, data-led approach that has enabled them to start small and build, measure, and learn as they go.
The success of the Anastasia proof of concept and roll-out demonstrated to internal stakeholders what’s possible with the new framework, as well as delivering some key learnings for the wider change project.