The story of Close traces back to 2016, where the Kiliaan Toorenaar, founder of the company was working at eBay. During this period, he understood the nuance of e-commerce world such as user journey, data and monetization, which indeed acts as a solid base for many successful online companies. Tapping on the vast experience, he combined his passion of live events, alongside a technical and creative person, and developed a mobile marketing platform that connects organizers with attendees as soon as they buy the tickets. This led to the foundation of Close.
When he witnessed the live event industry from close quarters, he learned that the live event industry has limited innovation; on top of that communication and engagement were one of the areas that were not up to par. People had no communication until they reached a live event. This drawback sparked an idea in Toorenaar to develop a new type of engagement when a customer buys the ticket.
Fast forward to 2019, the company’s platform has been well accepted and has gained big brands alongside several customers. “Instead of downloading a PDF ticket, all that customers have to do is download our app; from that moment on, the organizers will keep in touch with the customers throughout and even after the event,” explains Remco Armee, current COO of Close.
Organizers can make use of the app to deliver exclusive information to their customers, such as scheduling an event or glimpse of the event send personal messages and manage the audience. The Close application also allows users to share tickets among their peers, allowing users to connect with their peers and even the organizer to fetch additional customer data. Besides, organizers will also gain access to pertinent customer data that helps them cater better to clients and create more opportunities for business in the long run. Armee also highlights, “Unlike most companies that rely on email communication or no communication, we have developed a new way of engaging with the attendees, and the engagement rate is around 40 to 80 percent.”
Close not only connects the organizers with the clients but also provides three mentionable value-added services.
Instead of downloading a PDF ticket, all that customers have to do is download our app; from that moment on the organizers will keep in touch with the customers throughout and even after the event
The services include an extraordinary user journey, a new set of customer data for the organizers, and the final service is directed towards the consumer where they can buy drinks and merchandise from the app itself. On top of that, for B2B events, organizers have the liberty to integrate third-party advertisements or services within the app to generate more revenue. The Close app has all the facilities and functionalities required within a marketing platform, and sometimes they also integrate and develop specific features for the app depending on the client’s requirement. The company totally unburdens its clients with their customer success team, and they are also putting in efforts to become the whatsapp for the live event industry.
Dealing with varied clients like Stage Entertainment, ARTIS, THE JANE, and many others has given Close the idea of what the client and the users exactly want from the platform. The company has a small ticketing platform, but can easily work with established ticket selling websites like Eventbrite or others. The moment someone makes a purchase, an SMS invite is pushed within a minute, with a request to download the Close app. Once the download process gets completed, the company either does the data integration or pushes the data to data platforms from the back end. Close also plans to establish an open platform API so that developers can create small widgets that can be integrated within the Close app. Another striking feature of Close is that they try to keep the connection strong with the attendees after the event gets over to receive the feedback about the event.
The efficiency of the Close app can be best illustrated with a client success story. Stage Entertainment, a live entertainment company, previously had a decent ticketing flow. They used to send two emails one right after the purchase, which had all the details about the event, and another email was for the survey regarding the event. Instead of two primary touchpoints, Close changed the whole idea of communication by placing 14 touchpoints to build better communication between the organizer and the consumer. Close also collects all the consumer data to help them make an actionable decision for the users. For instance, if someone is using a car as a mode of transport for the event, then they will get a specific set of information, unlike the one traveling by train. Finally Stage offers intermediate arrangements (drinks etc) which can be bought with one click from the app so you don’t have to wait for your drinks.
With such innovative features and success stories in their quiver, Close hopes to become the standard for live event industry engagement. As a part of its geographical expansion, Close is planning to spread across Germany, London, and the rest of Europe.