Debenhams Steps into Ticketing with Box Office

Debenhams has launched Box Office, a digital ticketing service developed by Activity Superstore.

Debenhams says its the first retailer to move into the ticketing space with what it calls a one-stop-shop to help customers find what’s on in their area and buy tickets, as it tries to grab a slice of the UK ticketing market, which it estimates is worth £6.5m annually.

“We see this as a great opportunity to help customers find an inspirational answer to that frequently-asked question, ‘what shall we do this weekend?’,” said Fiona Lay, director of online trading at Debenhams. “At the same time we hope to help invigorate local economies and communities with our postcode search option, encouraging people to engage in available activities close to home which they may otherwise have overlooked.”

Box Office has a dedicated mobile site, with an app set to follow next year, but once bought, the tickets cannot be redeemed on mobile devices.


David Murphy writes: 

Debenhams’ move into digital ticketing may look an odd one at first glance, but if anything, it’s merely a reflection of two trends. The first is the blurring of the boundaries that becomes possible when there’s more to your retail estate than a load of bricks and mortar stores. The second is the increasing recognition of the importance of ‘local’ as a marketing strategy. With Box Office, Debenhams is putting itself at the heart of the communities its stores serve. 

Close to our office in Shoreditch, there are some good examples of something similar at work. There’s the convenience store on Great Eastern Street that also does a nice line in home-cooked curries, for which there’s a queue out of the door each day. 

And literally two seconds from our front door is the Paper Dress shop, which as its main line of business, sells vintage women’s clothing, but off the back of that also offers/is, in no particular order, a café, bar, gig venue, dance lessons, flowers, fashion illustration lessons, and probably half a dozen other things we haven’t yet stumbled across. 

For a while now, we have been among those arguing that shops – and the very idea of what a shop is – are likely going to change more in the next couple of years than they have in the past 20. The launch of Debenhams Box Office is another sign that this is happening. We’ll be watching with interests to see how it pans out, and whether other retailers are prepared to step outside their comfort zone in the search for new sources of revenue.