Sun rises on cinema online payments system

THE crash that affected markets, employees and customers the world over hasn’t dissuaded some businesses from launching an online presence.

One already successful niche company, Sunset Cinemas (operators of open-air cinemas in Perth and Brisbane), believes the secret to its own web purchasing venture is knowing who its customers are and knowing that an online presence will be of value.

“Our target market is usually highly educated,” Sunset Cinemas director David Chitty says.

“They usually have a computer at home or work and have already made purchases online. To launch an online purchasing system was common sense to market to our patrons.”

So is total automation the key, or should human beings have a hand in the process? A Gartner study in late 2000 indicated a possible slide in online spending in Christmas that year because of customers who’d been let down by poorly-prepared online merchants the year before.

“The admin system was designed so we have to do with as little as possible,” Mr Chitty says, although he stresses the site does have an email link so a human can deal with visitors who have concerns.

Don’t expect online purchasing to do your customer service for you. It’s another avenue for your service, explains Milano Consulting’s Andrew Ellerton (designer and programmer of the system), not a replacement of it.

“You don’t want to close all the bottle shops just because you can buy wine online,” he says.

Setting up an online payments system is also not as complicated as it sounds.

As Calypso Solutions’ Justin Lowe – project manager of the system – explains, there are three essential elements.

“You need someone to host the site and design the pages to suit the compatibilities of the merchant,” he says.

“You need a merchant facility so you can get paid, and you need an account with a financial clearing house to process payments in real time that are made on your site.” Sunset Cinemas Perth launches its online payments system early this month.

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