From Black Friday Chaos to Single File Line: Organizing the Sponsor Registration Process
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) provides its corporate members the opportunity to sponsor at two conferences each year – their Midyear and Annual Conferences. As the demand for the sponsorships have increased over the years, the association heard from their members that the buying process had become very stress-inducing as packages were selling out very quickly, making many potential sponsors feel a panic in the buying process producing a less than optimal experience. As an example, for the last Annual Conference, more than 70 sponsorship packages sold out in less than 10 minutes. NASCIO had to find a way to improve their sponsorship buying experience.
The NASCIO team had been monitoring the sell-out times for sponsorship packages for the past three years, with the time decreasing each year and the member complaints and stress increasing. Additionally, the team had to devise a solution that not only had to slow down the process to eliminate the stress and panic without making the process too long and onerous. It also had to uphold the association’s concerns that the process ensured a fair and equal opportunity to all members who wished to sponsor. Finally, the team has always shared information on available sponsorships months in advance of opening them for sale, so they knew that most members had their top sponsorships in mind and that the actual time needed to secure a sponsorship package would likely be 60 second or less as the process is relatively simple.
After much research – and a little trial and error – the NASCIO team launched its 2021 Midyear Conference sponsorships utilizing Queue-It – a system developed to cope with website traffic congestion by directing visitors to a queue where they can wait until access can be facilitated. A third-party provider, Queue-It worked with NASCIO to put potential sponsors in a queue based on their arrival to the website, allowing only one person to be in the sponsorship buying portal at a time. Each shopper was told that they would have 60 seconds to complete their purchase before another shopper would leave the queue and enter the shopping portal. Each member who was in the queue knew their place in line and the estimated wait time.
The result was another sellout. This time, however, the entire process took just over 30 minutes and member satisfaction was greatly increased. The Queue-It system allows you to track the average shopping time, number of shoppers in the queue and average wait time for shoppers in real time. Much as the team expected, the average person took less than 60 seconds to complete their purchase. Overall, the experience was outstanding for both the members and staff and will be continued for future sponsorship offerings.