Customers want both convenience and value which is why the industry needs to sit up and have a look at what betting brokers can bring to the table, for both the punter and the bookmaker. SBCnews’ brokerage expert Nico Jansen, of Bet IT Best, explains.
Over five years ago operators looked at their customer experience and realised there was a problem. The growth in the industry in the early part of the 21st Century in terms of product range had caused big bumps in the back end operations of online gambling sites. Plugging in extra games from a variety of suppliers onto platforms at the time not built for multiple products did not offer the smoothest player journey.
In practice it meant that customers who liked to play on a variety of products had to spend time moving their funds in between different ‘wallets’ despite the fact from the customer’s perspective it was all with the same company.
It led to a big push to be able to offer customers a single wallet experience, or at least making moving funds a less painful experience, allowing them to seamlessly move between betting, poker and gaming areas. The customer experience (CEX) was improved, making the cross-sell of products which is so vital to realising customer values these days a far easier and more alluring prospect to the end user.
The operators realised that a single wallet is good for the customer and therefore good for business. The problem is that the convenience factor stopped there. However now is the time for the single wallet solution to move up another tier, from company-level to industry-level.
There are three main reasons for this:
- Customers have become more price & technology sensitive; meaning they want to use their own device (mobile, tablet and / or desktop) with the best price available;
- Due to industry competition, companies need to reduce costs while increasing possible revenues;
- The whole industry has adopted services all across their value chain (stats & scores, odds, technology, payments etc.), therefore the availability of bookmakers offering and using standardised feeds and / or API integration increased gradually.
Therefore social and technological barriers do no longer exist, meaning firms like Bet IT Best can disrupt the existing model by providing an extra layer of convenience mainly to customers but to bookies too.
While affiliate sites have been offering a great service using the price comparison model by showing punters the odds, it is now possible to offer an even better service that not only fulfils that function but allows users to obtain the best price without having to fiddle about between a number of accounts.
This model is less like the price comparison sites and more like the takeaway food services such as Hungry House and JustEat, which offer a standardised and easy to use software & billing model to their restaurants (B2B) to onboard and pay them, while offering the same simplicity of one wallet across all devices for their customers (B2C) as well.
In the end they align customers to restaurants’ needs by matching demand and offerings in the easiest to use way! As simplicity rules, everybody wins.
For example, a sports betting customer wants a bet on the winner of Euro 2016. Firm A has the best price, but the customer only has funds in Firms B & C. Does the user remove funds from B&C in the hope they clear in time to take the best price with Firm A? Or do they just accept the lower odds offered by Firms B & C because that’s where the money is at the moment?
Using a single wallet broker removes this problem for the customer as the winnings from Firms B & C will already be in a central account that can meet the stake for Firm A. As demonstrated, a far, far more user friendly and more profitable betting experience for the end user.
From a bookie’s perspective, the above mentioned single wallet example is also advantageous. So while facing direct cashing in, user administrative costs, identification and technology costs within the actual model, the brokerage model offers a single wallet to the bookies as well.
So if Firm A accepts bets from 1,000 customers, the broker can just transfer the overall betting amount of all bets to Firm A and take care of all the other costs. So instead of dealing with 1,000 wallets, participating bookies only have to deal with a single broker wallet.
The disruptive nature of this model means that some bookmakers are still cautious about buying into the set-up and over-protective. We found at Bet IT Best that as soon as we spoke to one of the decision makers within any company, they recognised the advantages of direct and indirect cost cutting of this model and understood the offer across all devices and one wallet with the brokerage model, and it was then much easier to secure co-operation.
Unfortunately at the initial stage it can be hard to get a hearing as many operators are reluctant to believe us when we say that we are not interested in their customer database, which let’s face it is by far the biggest asset that any bookmaker has – possibly their only real asset. We don’t need it. All we need is an indication whether a bookmaker will take a specific bet from an identified customer. A quick yes or no. Simple!
As we are offering direct revenues of sports betting customers from one single wallet to the bookies, we need to fulfil the same regulations as the bookies themselves. So the current regulations mean that we have to provide our customer data to the preferred bookmaker in any way, twice in fact for checking and placing a successful bet. So in the end we are providing customer data to the bookies and not the other way around.
So besides offering a single wallet to our participating bookies, it is in the behaviour of the end user where we will see additional benefits of the single wallet brokerage model. A single front and back end across all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop) that provides the opportunity to get the market’s best odds easily and fluidly. And what’s not to like about that from the punter’s perspective? And a happy customer is a spending customer.