Schumpeter was the first to coin the term “creative destruction,” where companies must tear themselves down to build themselves back up in a new, more efficient form. This reinventing of companies and technology has helped accelerate growth exponentially through the 20th century. At Abacus, we see ourselves as the catalyst to bring this kind of rapid change and rapid improvement to the lottery industry. With enhanced distribution, we can help you put “Lottery Everywhere” in the retail environment and beyond.
Abacus is the only retail integrator installing lottery products directly into the retailers’ point of sale system (POS). Abacus is connected or in the process of connecting to Toshiba, GK Software, LOC software, NCR, Fujitsu, and Flooid, as well as working closely with some of the nation’s leading retailers about integrations into their own ecosystems. But that is just the start of improving distribution at retail. The real key is to deliver lottery products when, where, and how the consumer most enjoys receiving them. The first step is to deliver YOUR lottery products where the consumer is already shopping. But we also need to look down the road and help the retailer put our product “where the customer is going.”
First, we can see that customers are going to self-checkout (SCO), which is growing in numbers and capability. Abacus is currently developing with the two companies that control approximately 90% of the SCO lanes in America. Another time saver many customers use is Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS). We have several versions of this process and can adapt them for home delivery. Also, the popular Scan & Go™ that you see in Sam’s has already been implemented by Abacus in Europe.
We’ve all heard of the frictionless magic of Amazon Go and similar retail solutions. The first time you avail yourself of walking into a store, scanning your phone to let them know you are there, and then the freedom and convenience of Just Walk Out (JWO) with all the items you came in for, is a joy that is incomparable to any other shopping experience. Customers have said they drive out of their way to shop at these stores to experience it. JWO technology is just another area where lottery must find a solution to remain relevant, and Abacus is working with all these companies to discover how this can be achieved. They are not easy problems to solve, but solve them we must.
Ensuring Lottery Everywhere
Abacus realized long ago that the customer journey was evolving, so we built our integration models around it. We also learned that while we can’t predict when or where the changes will all come from, we knew that the primary step was to integrate the lottery products into the POS by developing solutions with the POS vendors. This way, we will ensure that all lottery products will be where the customer experience change happens. Ultimately, it’s about expanding your customer base and selling more product(s) to the people who want them in the places where customers shop today.
Competition for the gaming dollar has never been more fierce, and this competition is just starting to ramp up. State lotteries, who have great products and a loyal customer base, can’t and shouldn’t stand still just because things are rosy now and have been for some time. Retail and consumer change is not the future, it is happening right now.
Abacus consults and collaborates lottery operators, gaming system vendors, retailers, and, most importantly, the consumer to plan the next steps in expanding lottery services in the marketplace. Our current portfolio of products and services covers all draw and instant ticket services, but what is the next big thing? Expansion of the SCiQ and EasyVend dispenser network will be possible through new initiatives already in the Abacus pipeline. We can enable new and exciting digital through our Abacus Digital Platform, or in partnership with Pollard Banknote’s ScanACTIV and Inspired’s virtual sports content. We could also introduce ticket-by-ticket activation.
Abacus believes that via collaboration, 2 + 2 can = 5. In 2022, Abacus completed a deal with BlackHawk Network to manage the running of the core Quick Ticket program. This opened up all Blackhawk retailers to the Quick Ticket program and the Abacus Print of Receipt solution.
The merger of the Playport technology stack into the Abacus product family also expanded our possible reach into new marketplaces using digital technology. Rebranded as Abacus Digital, this digital game delivery mechanism is an exciting addition to the services Abacus can offer through mobile or on an eCommerce retail platform.
Abacus also just signed a Global Collaboration Agreement with Scientific Games. This agreement puts the two companies on the same wavelength with, many retail projects under joint development right now. This is an exciting time for the industry as visions across businesses are aligned.
The launch of the initial deployments from Abacus is happening in the U.S. The launch of our Print on Receipt solution in Iowa featuring two of the most vital retailers in the Midwest (Hy-Vee stores and Fareway Market) is entering final lottery testing, and the transition of the Arizona Quick Ticket program is scheduled for release in the coming months.
The time to start down this exciting new path is now. Don’t wait until the online aggregators begin to poach your long-term players and chip away at your revenue.