In Search of an Instant Win on Mobile

CBClaire Barry, head of digital strategy & planning at Camelot, outlines the UK Lottery operators approach to mobile

A few years ago, the general jubilant shout for many businesses was: “the year of mobile has finally landed!” However, for us at Camelot it wasn’t until 2015 that we were able to echo that cry. Last year, we witnessed for the first time the tipping point from desktop to mobile traffic’; partnered with Barclays to enable its Barclays Pingit customers a ‘quick pay and play’ experience; and re-launched our National Lottery apps to enable direct play – instead of them just being a tool to check draw results. The instantaneous nature of mobile enables quick ticket purchasing, in many ways replicating spontaneous in-store player behaviour.
The story really began in September 2014 when we launched a new digital platform, which offered our players a fully responsive mobile service – something we’d never had before. Operating one of the top ten eCommerce sites within the UK is not without its challenges, and means that we have to not only consider volume but also the diversity of our player base. We need to provide a great user experience for everyone, ranging from 16-year-old smartphone natives, all the way up to an 80-year-old technophobe. Accessibility is an absolute necessity rather than a nice-to-have, and goes beyond just providing an intuitive user experience on mobile.

One of the core features of the new platform is the ability to play Instant Win Games across all mobile and tablet devices, and the overnight uptake far surpassed our expectations. The National Lottery’s online Instant Win Games and in-store Scratchcards have recently been brought together under the umbrella brand ‘GameStore’ across both digital and retail channels. GameStore aims to make it easier for players to identify and play their favourite instant games wherever they are, and we have very recently witnessed the shift of majority play from desktop to smartphone. This has, in turn, influenced our decision to stop coding games in Flash – we are now only coding in HTML5. This presents a huge opportunity and means that our online Instant Win Games can move far beyond being animated versions of Scratchcards, to become engaging, innovative games in their own right.

Does this mean that we are now on our way to becoming a truly mobile-first business? I’d like to think so, however driving that concept into a reality is more challenging than just creating a fantastic mobile experience for our player base. The fact that the vast majority of our customers still play in traditional retail outlets means we are investigating ways in which we can use mobile to bridge the gap between our digital and retail player base.

Our first foray into this area was a couple of years ago when we partnered with image-recognition and Augmented Reality firm Blippar, to bring one of our Christmas-themed Scratchcards to life. This saw over 120,000 unique users Blipp’ the Scratchcard to unlock special features.

Cross-channel convergence
More recently, we have been trialling a digital interaction on our popular Monopoly Scratchcard, which enables players to enter a unique code on a microsite for another chance to win. The scale of the uptake impressed us enough to know that the appetite for cross-channel convergence is ready and waiting. Our challenge now is to trial even more of these activities. For example, players have told us that they want the ability to scan the pink retail ticket for instant results via our apps. We are hoping to launch this capability later in the year.

In the drive for a truly mobile-first approach, we must translate this way of thinking outside of our Digital team. This means working even more closely with our Marketing team and helping the Contact Centre develop ways for users to get rapid help on any device. Our Retail team is also exploring how we can make the most of mobile with our retail partners in recognition of the fact that many of our retail players use smartphones, so we are looking at further ways we can complement and enhance their retail experience through that channel.

We will continue on our mobile journey with an exciting, ambitious roadmap for 2016 and more direct marketing spend – as we can now actively measure our performance and success. Our 2015/16 half-year sales results saw mobile sales surge by 72 per cent on the same period the year before, and sales through smartphones and tablets now account for over 35 per cent of all sales across our direct channels. February kicks off our biggest digital campaign to date, and there is genuine interest to see how well can use the mobile channel in order to influence our brand appeal and game propositions to millennials.

Have we got everything right? Not yet, but we know that strategically this is where we need to continue to invest our time and resources to make the most of this opportunity.

This article first appeared in the February 2016 print edition of Mobile Marketing. You can read the whole issue here.