The Art of Sales at A.R.T.

Contributed by Mike Evenson /

Today, we announced the successful launch of our retail point-of-sale (POS) interface at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.).  Here’s the behind-the-scenes scoop!

Derek Mueller, Director of Patron Services/System Administrator at A.R.T.

Derek Mueller, Director of Patron Services/System Administrator at A.R.T.

Recently, a group of AV’ers visited the fine folks at A.R.T. on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Our trip was the culmination of a five-week project to create a beautiful POS interface so Derek Mueller and his team could process all bar transactions through AudienceView.

Let me back up a bit.  This past summer, at an AVConnect Academy social event in Toronto, Derek and I spoke about his desire to drive all A.R.T. transactions through AudienceView.  I confided we had a strong desire to enter the POS space.  The reality is we’re already there – “Quick Sale” is a great way to sell individual event tickets to the customer.  Until now, this has fit the needs of our clients quite well.  However, there are so many points during an event where customers transact with an organization.  We felt strongly that AudienceView could add value with an efficient process for selling non-ticketed items.  Derek and I agreed to stay in touch, then beta test a new POS interface.

Building POS was fun!  The team moved to the center of our 9th floor Toronto office and worked closely on design, execution and testing.  After five weeks, we hosted a staff social event and took POS for a ride.  We printed out funny money and sold food and drinks.  It worked really well and everyone was excited to see the new interface.  We tracked purchases against customer records, so we’ll always know what Genevieve Jacques likes to drink.  That’s great news for me when I need her help in the future!

"We have expanded from cash-only sales for drinks and snacks to accept credit cards for the first time, so no one gets turned away. " - Derek Mueller, A.R.T.

“We have expanded from cash-only sales for drinks and snacks to accept credit cards for the first time, so no one gets turned away. “
– Derek Mueller, A.R.T.

With POS ready to go, we hit the Harvard campus to see it in action.  Derek’s challenges were immediately apparent.  Busy theater, small bar, and two spikes in traffic – one before the event and one at intermission.  A.R.T. had never accepted credit cards at the bar and we saw them turn sales away prior to getting the POS tablets up and running.  It was a shame to see customers unable to enhance their experience with a drink because they didn’t carry cash.  We are moving more and more towards a cashless world and this is a key reason why Derek wanted POS so badly.

Long story short, we got POS set up, Derek’s staff was trained in minutes and they started using it right away.  POS was a success and many of the orders that night were processed with credit rather than cash.

Overall, introducing POS into AudienceView has been fantastic for a number of reasons:

  • It underscores our ongoing commitment to creating better user experiences for our clients and consumers alike.
  • AudienceView is much more than ticketing – it is a business processing solution that can handle our client’s retail POS needs.
  • An integrated transaction system and CRM opens up so many opportunities for organizations to augment customer experiences – online and in person.
  • We used our WebAPI to build POS.  This is the same WebAPI our clients are using to create fantastic business solutions.

We’re excited to get feedback from the field and continue to make improvements.  I think we’ve only scratched the surface on what POS could mean for organizations using AudienceView.