Is 2024 the year to review your museum’s IT systems?

Are your commercial technology systems truly offering you the best return on investment asks Rod Barlow, specialist in practical digital support for museums.

Independent museums utilise a wide range of technology, more perhaps than most of us think, and there are some new great innovations on the market at very affordable prices. These modern solutions can help make us more efficient, more profitable and improve our visitor, staff, and volunteer experiences. Let’s focus on a few areas for potential improvement.

Ticketing and admissions 

During covid there was a significant uptake of online ticketing systems to help manage controlled re-opening and timed ticket entry. Despite that challenging period, many haven’t looked back and have continued to push online admission and event ticketing harder to get more revenues in advance, plan resources better and offer upsell opportunities. Online ticketing now accounts for over 70% of purchases and many see secondary spend in shops and cafes increasing from visitors who have prepaid for entry. The ticketing system market is crowded and there are some attractive options even for the smallest museums.

Membership management and fundraising

Growing the membership base and raising funds through building advocacy of museums has been a hot topic in the last couple of years. There are some great new technologies that have come onto the market that not only make the mechanics of this easier by automating the subscription process and managing direct debits; but can also take information from other systems such as ticketing, retail and catering to provide greater insights into visiting behaviours. A recent study by IMPACTS Experience in the US concluded that members have a 4.5x monetary value to museums than general visitors and that almost 63% lapsed members intended to renew on their next visit. A good membership system will help improve renewal rates significantly.

Retail and ecommerce

Online shop technology for museums was another area that saw massive growth during covid. There are some great low-cost options for joining up the physical gift shop with a professional online shop that are not onerous to manage. Many at a cost less than a traditional shop only EPoS system. For museums with a gift shop, a well-run online shop could add 10-15% of additional retail income and allow you to reach a wider audience through new emerging shopping channels.


Overhauling your commercial technology solutions should be a high priority for those museums who want to increase commercial profitability, grow the membership base, become more efficient and improve the visitors’ experience in transacting with you . . . and these new generation of systems are very affordable.

Rod Barlow Digital Consulting specialise in providing practical support to cultural organisations looking to overhaul or improve their use of digital systems. Click here to visit the Rod Barlow Digital Consulting website>>