Operators cannot force customers to switch platforms but must offer them the option of doing so, attendees at ICE Totally Gaming heard today (Tuesday).
Jari Vahanen, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Veikkaus Oy, said in a session at the ExCel in London entitled ‘Reimagining lotteries for the digital age’ that a flexible approach is the most productive in the long term.
“We have managed to keep our retail sales at the same level over the past 10 to 15 years, although retail now only accounts for 45% of total sales as a proportion,” he said.
“My main piece of advice would be to let your customer decide what they are going to do. You shouldn’t force them to do something.
“You should offer services to them on mobiles and tablets, but you shouldn’t try to move your customers from retail.”
Fellow panel member Antonios Markopoulos, VP, Business Development, Europe & Africa, Intralot, said that his company is “working hard” to make lotteries relevant for the next generation.
“Everybody over the past two to three years has recognised the need to have an omni-channel approach,” he said.
“However, I think it was important to note that last year the giant of online, Amazon, decided to start having a retail presence.
“Millennials are going to drive business and become the middle class in the coming years, so there is the challenge to create retail destinations for fun, allowing social interaction.
“In a nutshell, the ‘retail-tainment’ factor is going to be central for many years, but this needs to be combined with strong customer relationship management tools so that the experience is personalised and the same across all channels.”
The case is different for Wojciech Szpil, President, Totalizator Sportowy, with the organisation dedicated to providing a retail experience.
“There is no possibility of selling our products through the internet,” Szpil said.
“Gambling through Facebook would be a question for regulators. You can’t just put everything in the same basket.”
How to motivate a retail customer to register online is a major challenge, according to Helen Taylor, Head of Eurolotto, Cherry Group.
“If they are buying tickets, everyone is happy. Retail, mobile and online should support each other,” she said.
“There is a lot to be said for getting customers to experience the benefits of playing online and on mobile – you can never lose your ticket, for example. There is a great opportunity to increase the value of the players online, and from a player’s perspective, they are able to play on the go.
“However, you can’t force players down a certain path as it won’t work.”