As Millennials replace Baby Boomers as the dominant shopper demographic, the retail landscape is fundamentally changing. Shoppers are now and will continue to be in the future, connected to devices and data, and move seamlessly between digital and physical channels. Thus, they are more informed than ever before, and demand shopping experiences that are like other facets of their lives: personalized and immediate.
With 86 percent of global consumers now shopping across two channels (PricewaterhouseCoopers), physical retailers are working hard to offer something beyond the convenience provided by online shopping. Physical stores will always have the advantage of giving consumers the opportunity to touch, taste, see and feel products, but consumers are increasingly expecting retailers to use technology to capture and apply consumer data to drive more personalized in-store experiences.
Retailers that focus on data and analytics, which pinpoint information on a consumer’s preferences, will be able to tailor products, services, communication, and even price to a specific individual. However, tools that simply allow consumers to select, for example, a color for their shoes from a range of preset options are already being dismissed as faux personalization. Consumers are increasingly seeking products and services that feel bespoke, unique, and specially crafted to match their personal circumstances and requirements, and retailers are using data to personalize discounts, with better offers and prices reserved for their most frequent shoppers.
Along with personalized experiences, connected shoppers crave instant gratification. Shaving off minutes or even precious seconds by speeding up transactions and reducing friction is essential to appeal to the new breed of shopper. Inefficiencies and delays have become more than nuisances; they are now some of the biggest liabilities for a retailer in the on-demand economy. Self-service, order-online-pick-up-in-store, and technological advances in payments are all reducing effort for the consumer, while Amazon’s recent venture into checkout-free stores is setting a new, high bar in terms of frictionless physical shopping.
The needs of the lottery industry are diverse and complex. IGT is seeing key trends emerging that will shape the future of lottery, and is focused on identifying, evaluating and in some cases piloting, products and solutions that create frictionless experiences for players, including camera technology to deliver real-time analytics, personal digital signage, directional sound, embedded cameras, and near-field communication tagging. Demonstrable examples of these are all housed in our Player Experience Lab in Rhode Island, and our dedicated Lottery Innovation Team is building on these experiences all the time. Please speak to your Account Development Manager if you would like to visit and experience the future firsthand.
Michael Roygaard is a Senior Director in the Lottery Innovation Team at IGT