Retail operators like Starbucks have shown how mobile apps provide consumers with exceptional digital services that drive retail sales. It’s time for the Lottery industry to wake up and smell the coffee.

Starbucks’ mobile app has been one of the US retail industry’s biggest success stories in recent years. In a challenging retail environment, Starbucks’ comparable footfall actually increased over the past year.

This is thanks in large part to the engaging omnichannel experience driven by its mobile app, which is building personalized, one-to-one relationships with its customers. The mobile app is also the home of the wildly popular loyalty program Starbucks Rewards, with Rewards’ members accounting for a staggering 41% of all sales in US stores in 2019.

Put simply, Starbucks’ digital channels are driving increased retail sales and are leading the way for the lottery industry by demonstrating why a first-class mobile app is essential in today’s competitive landscape.

Convenience & Speed

Consumers today crave convenience and speed. They also spend up to 90% smartphone time using apps. Successful lotteries understand the evolving needs of their players and are adapting to meet their players where they are—on their phones.

Mobile apps, whether they are transactional or not, provide a great opportunity for the lottery industry. A good mobile app will delight and engage players, and starts to build a strong omnichannel relationship between the Lottery and its players.

While less than half of the lotteries in the U.S. have a mobile app, those that do see the vast majority of their users checking recent results or scanning physical tickets to see if they’ve won a prize. The Illinois Lottery mobile lottery app scanned more than 6 million physical tickets last year.

Engage Retail

Retail stores remain the lifeblood of the lottery industry. Utilizing the power of digital creates valuable opportunities for lotteries to further engage players by incentivizing players to enter a second chance draw or offering a retail tie-in promotion to visit lottery retailers and buy tickets in-store, for example ‘Play DEAL OR NO NO DEAL—and get a free bag of Circle K Chips!’ or visit Mariano’s to get a free MONOPOLY Instant Ticket!

Through an app, lotteries can also notify players about new games in-store, high jackpots, and in-store promotions near them, as well as directing players to the closest lottery retailers based on a player’s current location.

By doing so, lotteries can start to broaden their player base by attracting a more digitally-savvy audience than currently plays in retail. These digital offerings can help grow retail sales.

Additionally, for lotteries in the U.S. able to sell lottery games online, an app can provide significant responsible gaming capabilities and protections.

Responsible Gaming

The Irish National Lottery app, built by Camelot Lottery Solutions, offers best practice responsible gaming features, including geo-location verification, mandatory maximum weekly deposit and wallet limits, session timers and self-exclusion options. A transactional mobile app also allows lotteries to monitor player behavior in real-time, further enhancing responsible gaming by enabling the Lottery to provide personalized communication and intervention.

Drive Value

Data points consistently demonstrate that mobile app users are more valuable to a business than anonymous retail customers because the lottery can build customer profiles and provide relevant and personalized content. When done well, mobile apps increase conversion, average transaction value, and customer lifetime value significantly.

The Illinois Lottery launched its new app in early 2019, which has now been downloaded more than 3 million times and scanned almost half a million physical tickets—with each one of those interactions providing an opportunity to cross-sell, incentivize, reward, and ultimately strengthen the Lottery’s relationship with its players.

A great mobile app can transform a lottery business, by transforming how lotteries connect and engage with their players online.

Written by Mark Bradford, VP Product, Camelot Lottery Solutions. With deep experience creating marketing platforms for financial services, communications, healthcare, and education, Bradford puts the player at the center of product development.