Belgium’s National Lottery lets players experience the dream of winning by operating holiday pop-up stores in December. From the moment that a consumer glimpses the shop’s outdoor signage showing the forest animals from the end-of-year advertising campaign, it is clear that this is a magical store. Overhead signage displays the lottery’s best-selling brands—Lotto, Euro Millions and Win For Life.

Entering the store, the player sees a festive gift shop that only sells lottery tickets—no cigarette brands, candy or other products competing for attention. It is a dreamy atmosphere. The magic continues with premium lottery holiday products packaged in golden boxes, die-cut Christmas trees or bright red themed gift envelopes. Cheerful lottery staff answers questions. Lights on the Christmas tree twinkle. The décor perfectly matches the aesthetic of Loterie Nationale’s end-of-year advertising campaign.

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“The shop is only open in December so most people who come in are curious and enthusiastic,” said Stephanie Zimmermann, Business and Innovation Management, Loterie Nationale.

Last year, Loterie Nationale operated one holiday pilot pop up store in Antwerp on one of the most-visited shopping streets in Belgium. The experience was so successful that this year the Belgium lottery opened two pop up stores, one in Antwerp and one in Liege. Both shops measure approximate square meters.

The lottery uses their own personnel to man the shops utilizing employees from all departments, and they choose to work from two to five days. Employees come from all the lottery’s departments, including marketing, sales and HR. It is good team building and a good way for lottery employees to meet their customers. Because the lottery’s employees are the ones working with the customers, they are in a powerful position to explain the lottery’s products in holidays packaging.

Belgian National Lottery stays true to its desire to show how buying a lottery ticket is magical through the products marketed and the packaging. They sell three different gift envelopes (10, 20 or 25 euros). There are three different versions of die-cut Christmas trees that feature popular lottery game (24 or 48 euros). And there are golden boxes (that rival the luxurious packaging on Godiva Chocolates) that are priced at 20 and 60 euros.

The gift envelopes and golden boxes have a unique attribute: They always contain a winning ticket. “Thanks to this we are increasing the winning experience for our customers. And it is a strong selling argument for people looking for a small gift. They can be sure the person at the receiving end will be lucky,” Zimmermann said.

The 10 and the 25 euros gift boxes are by far the most popular. With the trees, it is the small tree with 8 Win For Life tickets, which is 24 euros. This is our most popular scratch card so it’s not surprising,” said Marleen Segers, Innovative Retail Project Management, Loterie Nationale.

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Pop Up Store

1.) Make it a real experience store. Think of everything from the interior design of the store to the packaging of the instant tickets.

Marleen Segers, Loterie Nationale

2.) Convey the correct message. Lotteries benefit society. You really need to communicate what your lottery stands for.

Stephanie Zimmermann, Loterie Nationale

3.) Don’t underestimate the work to launch a popup store. From decorating to getting people to work the shop, there is a lot that goes into it.

Marleen Segers, Loterie Nationale

The shop also reaches far more people than its existing customers. It is the perfect new and trendy gift shop so the lottery reaches each generation including the younger ones (+18 year) who wants to spend 10 or 20 euros for a Christmas gift for their parents.

Loterie Nationale’s holiday pop-up shops have attracted significant publicity. “You really see the power of regional news. People came into the shop because they’ve already heard or read about it,” Zimmermann said.

But the shops don’t appear out of thin air. Segers was very clear that any lottery attempting to do this understand that it requires a lot of work. The team began setting up the shops one week before the first of December and had to work day and night to get it ready in time. But the project started already three month before the opening. “You cannot imagine what you have to do. It is such a big list – from internal agreements to interior design, the creation and printing of the packaging, security, payment facilities, pre-packaging of the products, finding the people to work in the shop, ….” she said.

Joke Vermoere, Corporate and Brand Management, added that it also important that lotteries have a clear objective for the store. “The cost remains higher than the revenue we had. The first objective [for Loterie Nationale] is a positioning- and experience campaign. That’s why it’s important to use the existing end-of-year advertising spot for the interior- and packaging design,” stressed Vermoere.

“Also it is the perfect moment to explain our customers something that they don’t necessary know about us: for every euro that you spend on lottery products, 30 % goes back to society and good causes. So our customers can feel truly good about their purchase. Not only because they might win some money but certainly because they are really helping others through all the good causes the lottery can support thanks to its numerous players.”

“And for the first time Loterie we made this tangible: When a player leaves the store with his purchases, he or she receives a wooden coin with the word Thanks. The customer goes to the “Good cause wall” where they can donate the coin to a good cause of their choice. It is the materialization of our mission statement. The good cause which collected the most coins at the end of December, receives—next to the yearly financial support— an extra communication support.” Zimmermann ended.

In terms of sales, the pop-up shops achieve their highest volume in the week before Christmas. “Our top traffic is on the weekend,” said Segers. “We did a total of 55,000 euros at the Antwerp store and 65,000 euros at the Liège store. The lottery’s highest sales day occurred on the 23th of December.”