I excitedly hopped on to Village Cinema's website recently to purchase Gold Class tickets for my husband and I to go and see a movie. Being the parent of a tiny person I've seen very few movies in the 20 odd months since she was born and the excitement rushing through me at being able to have 3 hours to chill out with my husband was pretty darn huge.
As I stepped through the website choosing my cinema, movie and time I was pretty stunned to find out that if I wanted to book these tickets online I would also have to pay an extra $5 per ticket for the privilege of booking online. Now this confuses me. To book online, I'd still be paying with credit card, as I would if I walked into the cinema, no extra charge to them there. They're saving the cost of having a staff member process my payment, less cost to them there. They're getting my money up front and in advance meaning they know which sessions are booked out / empty earlier, great for planning and if I don't show up for some parental emergency they're also keeping my money which I never would have paid if I'd waited until I walked in to purchase my ticket.
In short, it's going to cost them less and be more beneficial for them - and yet they're putting a barrier up to me doing it.
Online shopping is favourable to so many these days because it's (usually) easier, because it's (often) cheaper and because it's (frequently more) convenient and yet, online shopping at Village Cinemas is not that much easier - there's usually not a line at Gold Class, it's not cheaper and given the first two items it's not more convenient. I think they might be missing the point. In a day and age where more and more people download to watch and half my local video stores have closed down and the others are massively downsizing I would have thought a cinema would be doing everything they could to provide me with a seamless online experience to encourage me to make the move to sit in a plush theatre and experience a real movie experience.
What do customers see when they experience your business online? Can they easily contact you (one click). Can they see your physical presence opening hours? Can they read your website well on their mobile phone? Do you have any unnecessary barriers to working with you online?