To rewind a little, Shopify can sell tickets, as it would classify them as digital goods, which the platform is good to go with. What it lacks is any level of sophistication - e.g. scheduling, date and times, the calendaring of events, proper control on the number of tickets. These are features that offer more than just the ability to sell 'a ticket' and which you would need for timed entry ticketed events (with or without capacity limits).
This is where Shopify Apps are relevant.
There are a number of Apps that offer relevant calendar and booking functionality and additional features. We’ve researched a good many (including Event Calendar App, BookedUp and Timlify) and while they all have their merits, our recommendation, for the most common needs we see, is BookThatApp.
Lots of venues with a limited programme of events - for example museums - will naturally have these kinds of requirements (workshops, guided tours etc). In the post-Covid economy, we expect there to be more instances where exhibitions that previously may have been totally open to the public, are now likely to need some form of control to ensure social and physical distancing is possible.
By the way, we say limited programme of events because if you have an extensive programme of events (e.g. lots of performances of the same and different event, with limited capacity and including seating requirements), then you are more likely to need a dedicated ticketing platform (such as Spektrix or Tessitura).
How BookThatApp works
Back to running timed entry ticketing in Shopify. BTA (BookThatApp) covers a number of use cases - from rentals to appointments in your Shopify store as well as (more relevant to our experience) classes, tours and ticketed events.
Integrated into your Shopify store and showing real-time calendar availability, customers are able to book immediately at any time of the day or night. With real-time updates, you can instantly update your inventory and allocation, for example if there are returns or newly announced performances or slots. Highly configurable, it supports custom booking rules as well as scheduled and automated messaging - fully customisable email and SMS reminders and follow up messages to customers - and it obviously integrates seamlessly with Shopify.
While the store owner does need to learn a new system (BTA has its own UI and workflow which you will need to learn), we’ve found BTA support to be excellent - both timely and knowledgeable.
Assuming the store owner takes ownership of BTA (including the heavy lifting involved in setting up BTA), adding BTA to an existing store can still take several days of work or more - this covers defining the specification, support on basic setup and configuration of the app, editing the Shopify theme for BTA configuration and possible configuration edits to any existing site where you may already be listing events.
We can help
However, if what we’ve just described seems like a bit of a hassle or something you simply don’t have the time or resources for (which you’d understandably rather spend working on your digital strategy), we can help.
As a Shopify Plus partner, our Shopify specialists have delivered not just ecommerce solutions for a wide range of organisations, but we’ve also implemented this specific type of integration.
We’ve previously helped organisations such as Sir John Soane Museum run timed entry ticketed events on Shopify, and are now in the process of also implementing this for St Albans Museums.