Loterie Nationale in Belgium took the concept of involving their retailers with their future plans even farther. In 2015, they decided they need to be more relevant to both their partners and their players. They conducted a large shopper survey to really understand where their players were shopping, what they were buying and what they would buy from the lottery.
“For us, the biggest insight was that before being lottery players, they are shoppers,” Stephanie Zimmerman, Business and Innovation Management, Loterie Nationale. “So lotteries need to become retail specialists if we want to be relevant.”
The consumer journey illustrates different areas potential consumers could come in contact with your brand—from living rooms, to street corners, to convenience and newspaper stores. These custom-built, walk-through rooms have the latest technologies embedded in them, creating a “store of the future” atmosphere.
The Shopping of the Future road show gives a vision of small retail in the future. “You can use it with the retailers so everyone has the same vision of what is the shopping of tomorrow. We invite our newspaper stores and we give a presentation about technology and omni-channel. [We try to educate them that] technology is their best friend and not the enemy… Then we go to the containers and we present some new technologies, like digital screens. They were so excited,” said Zimmerman.
But working with retailers doesn’t stop with advances in technology. “Being relevant within the store of the future of retail has many faces. First, it means something different if you are a supermarket or a petrol station/newspaper store. And it’s not technology for the sake of technology,” Zimmerman said. “Take the example of digital screens. The content is very important.”
For instance, in one Belgium petrol station, the lottery uses digital screens outside and inside the store. The lottery did a FMCG promotion where if players bought a 5 euro scratch ticket, they got a coffee, chocolate or water bottle for free. The results were outstanding. It was the best-selling month for this petrol station; it jumped from their fifth key channel to their first in sales.
“It was very important that we position ourselves as a FMCG brand and not as a national service product. So the promotion was with Douwe Egberts (coffee), Milka chocolate bars, and Spa, the national water in Belgium. All of them are top consumer brands,” Zimmerman said. “We paid the media and the production. But the retailer paid for the coffee, and then he went to the chocolate and Spa company to do the promotion with us. A competitor of this petrol station saw this promotion and was so excited that he asked us to do it.”
Evolving the idea of lottery as a true, relevant FMCG in the minds of potential new retailers, however, is a different challenge. Many retailers have a preconceived idea of what the lottery offers and sometimes it is completely misplaced. “We see a huge opportunity in super markets. We are in only two super markets for the moment but not in the biggest; for us, of course, if we can go into 500 stores in the biggest retailer in Belgium that would be great. We realized early on in our pitch that they saw us as a service for their clients. They didn’t see us a FMCG brand,” Zimmerman said.
“We have 6 million players, which means 80% of your customers are our customers. We know them. We can generate traffic in your store. We can generate loyalty. We can increase frequency of visits. We can do more for you marketing wise. You are thinking about us how we were yesterday… We are one of the biggest FMCG brands in Belgium—as big as Coca-Cola,” Zimmerman continued. “And they are looking at us like, we didn’t know that!”
But this effort is lost if the lottery isn’t relevant for the players. The lottery revitalized their brand image with their players by investing in a pop-up holiday store on one of the most-visited shopping street in Belgium. The store was built in three weeks and stayed open during the holiday season. “Lottery is a very good gift for Christmas, but placing it in newspaper stores and supermarkets doesn’t make it magical. [So we decided to] do a gift shop in a dreamy environment and see if we can’t also make some special products,” she said.
The lottery created higher price point packaging. One offer was a package that looked like a Christmas Tree with 24 scratch tickets in it. It cost 48 euros. They also had a golden box with its own suite of scratch games that cost 60 euros. The endeavor was a huge success. The lottery pop-up store was the sixth best seller, yet it only sold scratch tickets. They plan to do it next year, hopefully in three different locations.
“We sell through third parties, so it’s their image. We are selling in a shop with a certain element that we don’t control,” Zimmerman said. “They don’t sell dreams. While we were selling product, it was also a positioning campaign for what we stand for. Before, we could only claim it in advertising, but now we could claim it in a physical environment.”