A year ago, the goal was just to keep enough toilet paper in the closet to survive the pandemic. Now businesses as well as individuals are gearing up to do things—plane trips, family reunions and, yes, business improvements—after surviving more than a year with covid-related changes.
For U.S. lotteries, a key focus is retail. Many U.S. lotteries were forced to keep their sales reps at home instead of in the field. Many major technology upgrades were delayed.
Key FY22 initiatives include implementing new in-lane programs, expanding self-serve vending, enhancing display of lottery products, recruiting non-traditional retailers, and optimizing its supply chain.
“The big pushes here are to maximize vending machine sales and drive down out-of-stocks even further. We’ve finished our cashless initiative and will begin work on a project to expand debit and credit acceptance at the counter,” said Amy Drooker, VP, Sales, Kentucky Lottery Corp. (KLC)
In addition, the lotteries are working on special programs with in-store merchandising and digital signage as customers return back to shopping in person at their stores. In the roundup below, La Fleur’s Magazine surveyed U.S. lotteries for an update.
A big opportunity that the Florida Lottery plans to emphasize in FY22 is debit acceptance and the placement of key POS to call that message out.
“The potential sales opportunity speaks for itself when you compare a retailer who accepts debit but previously had not. Our sales team uses that data daily to increase the number of retailers who accept debit for lottery, as well as secure additional POS placement,” said Justin Rock, Deputy Secretary of Product & Sales, Florida Lottery.
“We’ve developed chain-specific branded POS that calls out ‘Debit Accepted for Lottery Here,’ as well as unique pieces to fit underutilized, or unused, space at retail. Not only have we been able to capture hidden gems with retailers who already allow us to place POS, but we’re also finding that some of our bigger chain partners are loosening their restrictions on placement as well,” added Rock.
Digital Menu Boards
The Virginia Lottery is making major changes in how it communicates with lottery players at retail. “We have done research and surveyed players on why they do not play the Lottery and the feedback we received was it seemed too complicated, or it was too confusing looking at 40 games with different colors and play styles and price points,” said Tom Sawyer, Director of Sales, Virginia Lottery.
This input resulted in testing new merchandising options. “For the past several months, we have been working with IGT and Carmanah on designing our own digital menu boards and digital playcenters to improve the customer experience. We just finished installs at several retailers in the surrounding area to conduct a 3-to-6-month test. The menu boards will display the jackpots, winning numbers, feature a certain scratch game or what the new scratch games are for the month or new draw games,” he added.
The playcenters will be more interactive where customers can touch the 32” tablet to view any of the information listed on the menu boards, including game information and how to play our games. “We are testing the design and will evaluate sales, but we are also going to survey customers and retailers as well to see if we did achieve a better experience for our customers. If they test well for the next 3-to-6 months, we received approval to expand both programs this fiscal year,” ended Sawyer.
The Connecticut Lottery is also partnering with Carmanah Signs/Stratacache to launch a digital menu board pilot program. “We are very excited to implement this innovative signage initiative designed to transform our lottery customer’s journey in store and position lottery products as modern in contemporary retail. We are very aware of the effectiveness of digital menu boards in the QSR environment and looking forward to bringing that success to lottery at our retailers,” said Diane Geary, Sales Manager, CT Lottery.
The Arizona Lottery will be expanding its Quick Card program in more retail stores in FY22. “The Quick Card solution will have digital jackpot signs associated with it. We will be testing the Pollard menu board option (lighted) to determine if it increases sales and visibility at retail,” said Raynie Hosto, Deputy Director, Customer Service & Sales, Arizona Lottery.
Hoosier Lottery is researching new merchandising options. “We are in the process of evaluating all merchandising opportunities, from lighted menu boards to alternative bin types, to help optimize the transaction area and grow access points. We are completing this review in 2022,” said Clayton Atkinson, VP Sales, Hoosier Lottery.
The North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) will continue with its special merchandising and signage programs. “Digital signage plays an important marketing role in the success of our new Fast Play games, the most successful game launch for us since Mega Millions in 2010,” said Terri Avery, Deputy Executive Director, Sales, NCEL. “We deployed new Fast Play jackpot signs that promote the games currently up for sale arranged around a digital screen that continuously updates the jackpot. Our digital signage, including multi-media monitors and ‘attract screens’ on our GT 28 vending machines, displays new marketing shows monthly.”
Currently, almost all 7,000 retail locations in North Carolina now have either a multi-media monitor in the store or a vending machine with digital screens. “We now use our digital signage to deliver 15-second animated ads across all devices—GT 28, GT Draw, multi-media monitors, and Keno monitors—to drive awareness of our games at point of purchase. These are wide-ranging, engaging programs that are helping us set new sales records in the field,” added Avery.
The South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) plans to offer digital jackpot window signs to its retailers in FY22. “We have the Double Play Powerball change coming in August and a new online game launch in January and we will be preparing our retailers for these launches,” said Ann Scott, Director of Sales and Retailer Relations, SCEL.
The Colorado Lottery has purchased 500 countertop jackpot signs and is currently working on placement at retail. “Colorado Lottery retail mix is about 65% chain store to 35% independent. The initiative is to figure out a way to integrate Lottery point of sale into the chain accounts’ normal point of sale rotation,” said Tom Campbell, Sales Director, Colorado Lottery.
KLC recently worked with one of its large chain accounts (Circle K) on a promotion where one of its lottery ads ran digitally on a screen at their counter plus on a giant video wall in select locations. “Pending results of this program, we may decide to duplicate the promotion method in the future with this chain and others,” said Pete Ramsey, VP, Corporate Accounts & Business Development, KLC.
The Hoosier Lottery is focused on continuing to identify opportunities to expand its presence from retailer loyalty program communication to in-store monitors and radio. “By expanding our communication touchpoints, we help elevate our partnerships and create more opportunities that disrupt the player journey in and out of the retail environment,” explained Brittany D’Haenens, Brand Manager, Hoosier Lottery.
The Kansas Lottery partnered with Casey’s this summer to promote its “Summer of Silverado” second-chance drawing. “Customers were able to purchase a Silverado ticket and receive points for their purchase. We are also in the process of producing the annual holiday campaign, which we will coordinate all the way down to the retail level,” said Stephen Ortiz, Director, Marketing & Sales, Kansas Lottery.
Multiple lotteries emphasized the importance of two-way communication with their retailers.
The Arizona Lottery will conduct an in-depth retailer satisfaction survey to gain a better understanding of retail pain points. “This survey will focus on fewer retailers than in the past, however, our goal is to go more in-depth than we have previously,” said Hosto.
The Virginia Lottery is also working on strengthening its retail relationships. “COVID had an impact on our relationships with retailers by us working from home remotely for several months. There are a few tactics we have planned but two important ones to mention are we will continue with our retailer forums where we give an update on sales performance and present the upcoming initiatives for the next six months to a larger group of retailers. Also, we will be implementing a retailer advisory council this year that will be a much smaller group of retailers to have a conversation on ways we can help them be successful,” said Sawyer.
Colorado Lottery is focused on attaining Level 4 certification with the WLA RG program. “Our FY22 retailer training program ensures that each retailer participates in a 15-minute training on RG, with a goal to have 100% of our retailers trained this fiscal year. One new RG initiative to support RG at the retail location is a ‘Must be 18 to Play’ sticker at point of purchase,” said Campbell.
In FY22, the Pennsylvania Lottery updated its retailer incentive program to allow more retailers to earn bonus money.
“We know that adding best practice elements to a lottery selling-location is a proven way to help increase lottery awareness and boost sales,” said Eric Grubbs, Deputy Executive Director, Sales and Retail Operations, Pennsylvania Lottery. “New this year, if our retailers had a quarterly average of $90,000 or more in sales of traditional lottery products during fiscal year 2021-22, they would qualify to participate in the Best Practice Initiative and qualify to earn bonus money by adding these essential elements.”
These best practices include designating a lottery space, increasing indoor and outdoor signage, adding winner awareness areas and increasing counter facing.
“Additionally, if PA Lottery retailers add all of our best practice elements and conduct a second-chance drawing they are eligible to earn a bonus of $2,000! The lottery will provide $100 in coupons or promotional tickets and the retailer will provide a prize that matches or exceeds that amount,” said Grubbs.
A major theme among all lotteries is return to normalcy for lottery sales representatives. “After spending almost six months remote working, our sales team has returned to normal operations. Sales staff has shifted efforts back to field work focusing on merchandising and managing inventory in the field,” said Ortiz.
The Kansas Lottery is continuously looking for opportunities within its key accounts as well as independent operators to increase facings within the market. “As we recover from the pandemic, it provides us an opportunity to analyze sales trends and ensure that retailers have the proper number of facings to support their business as we go forward,” said Ortiz.