Bisnow Builds Its Own E-Commerce Platform
Will service ticket sales for its 240 yearly events, as well as other premium content offerings.
Bisnow, a B2B media company targeting commercial real estate executives, has launched a custom-built, event ticketing platform that pulls double-duty as a broader e-commerce solution. The company, which produces about 240 events per year across the country, needed a platform that could seamlessly sell tickets to attendees while also offering them opportunities to buy other content products.
The project, which meant ditching its existing ticketing provider and investing in the low six figures for tech and a small team of developer hires, is rolling out on a market-by-market basis over the coming weeks. All 28 markets Bisnow targets are expected to be fully functional by the end of May.
Bisnow was frustrated by its original provider's lack of API support. When customers clicked on an event registration button, they were taken to that vendor's platform to complete the sale. "They made the process so antiquated because they don't use APIs that connect the business to other e-commerce opportunities," says Will Friend, Bisnow's co-COO.
The company also champions a strategic agenda that aims to apply a B2C experience in a B2B context. "We've always believed it's crazy that the user experience in B2C is always better than B2B," adds Friend.
The home-grown commerce platform has emerged from a new web-centric strategy the company officially unveiled with its redesigned site last October, which incorporated content formats—like listicles and explanatory news—inspired by Vox, Buzzfeed, Business Insider and other B2C digital content sites.
Prior to Bisnow.com's relaunch, the company's content strategy was largely carried by events and e-newsletters. Now, as readers arrive at the site to read articles, the company can contextualize event registration offers. From any device, a subscriber reading a story about the multifamily real estate boom in Texas will not only see other recommended content, but events in that region on the same topic.
"And it's not just tickets," says Friend. "We also sell educational videos and research reports. The new platform gives us the ability to sell everything in one place rather than having different windows popping up."
Going forward, Bisnow will roll out more paid content products to sell on its new platform and Friend hints that there's an opportunity to license the underlying tech to other market verticals. "This platform could be used for any event vertical, not just commercial real estate," he says. "However, we are laser focused right now on what we do best, putting our great content through innovative products and events in our short and snappy yet informative style."