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Data in motion – Consumer analytics guiding the new norm

3rd September 2020 9:11 am GMT

Scientific Games market research director Tim Menzia and consumer insights manager Kisha Eltagonde highlight 10 trends impacting lotteries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses and economies globally, including lotteries and their retail partners – and vital funding for beneficiary programmes like health and welfare, education, the environment and infrastructure. Shifts in consumers’ behaviour and challenges accessing lottery games make it difficult to adapt and anticipate what lies ahead. Consumer insights and data analytics are more important than ever.

Since the crisis began, Scientific Games has relied on decades of consumer research experience to help guide lotteries on how the pandemic has affected consumer behaviour, retail operations and sales. Several trends have emerged in the last few months that lotteries must consider as they navigate these uncertain times.

1 Cash is no longer king

Due to concerns about germs when using cash, credit and debit cards are now the preferred payment options for retailers. What does this mean for lotteries? There will likely be less impulse buying with the change received after making a cash purchase. At the same time, many lotteries don’t allow for card payments. Even pre-Covid, more consumers were moving to cashless convenience.

2 Working from home

Retail visit frequency has changed with more people working from home. And many expect to stay working from home at least part-time after the crisis has abated. How does this affect retail traffic patterns to and from the workplace, and what will lotteries need to do to adjust? This shift in routine may have a profound effect on convenience stores in particular.

3 Reaching consumers

With fewer commuters on public transport and more people working from home, where should lottery marketing efforts be focused to ensure the maximum return on spend? Social media usage continues to increase but there are other options such as music streaming which has also seen an uptick in usage.

4 Can’t touch this

Covid-19 has created a lot of germaphobes and for valid reasons. This affects instant games in particular; the purchase of which often involves some degree of interaction and handling of tickets. In-lane purchase solutions may provide one less touch point for players, while self-service vending machines may eliminate the need to interact with another person. Each option will likely appeal to different people.

5 Think digital

When bricks-and-mortar retail operations are constrained and safety concerns are a priority, providing online and/or mobile options enables consumers to stay engaged with brands and purchase products. This is true across the board and the lottery industry is no exception.

6 More grocery options needed

With some retailers offering limited or adapted operations, it is important that lotteries have solutions for the new norm. Grocery stores were initially named as essential, but the lack of in-lane solutions and hard-to-locate self-service vending machines equated to a missed opportunity to recapture lost sales resulting from the closure of non-essential retailers.

7 Loyalty is key

Keeping lottery loyalty club members active with the right value propositions is essential, especially if those members have come from the casino world, which is known for its strong loyalty programmes. This is the time to strengthen player club offerings so members feel they are getting maximum value. Are there opportunities to offer members more compelling second chance drawings or promotions? And remember, player engagement is more than email marketing. Players can be reached through different social media sites, digital coupons and more.

8 New and lapsed players

There has been a surge of new and lapsed lottery players playing lottery games during the pandemic, because other gaming options were not available. What can lotteries do to keep these players engaged when other gaming options become available? Finding out what they liked most and least about their recent lottery experience is a good place to start. A lottery’s loyalty club is also a key strategic tool to keep these players engaged and your products top of mind.

9 All for a good cause

During the pandemic, businesses across various industries (retailers, restaurants, etc.) stepped up to help others, and consumers took notice. The lottery industry is founded on the premise of supporting good causes. So it’s important lotteries continue to communicate to their constituents – players and non-players alike – about all they do to support these beneficiaries.

10 New game ideas

The current crisis has created any number of new routines and activities that lend themselves to potential new lottery game ideas. Jigsaw sales have exploded. Board game sales are through the roof. These are just two obvious examples of Covid-related trends that lotteries should be taking note of when brainstorming new game ideas.

Lottery games are a $300 billion+ consumer product category globally. As the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to unfold, consumers, businesses and governments are rethinking their strategies in an effort to keep employees, retailers and players safe and ensure financial sustainability. It remains to be seen which of these adjustments will remain in place in a post-Covid world.

There are strong signs, for example, that the uptick in online shopping will continue beyond the crisis. Employers have indicated that working from home, which has typically been the exception, will be more common. It is vital that the lottery industry stays attuned to these changes in behaviours and sentiments so it can continue to provide safe and entertaining products to players and drive revenues to help fund the good causes they support.

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