Oren Cohen Shwartz, CEO of sports betting and igaming software solutions provider Delasport, urges operators to undertake a thorough examination of the role that personalisation will play in delivering a stand-out player experience.
Personalisation in igaming is an important factor that can have a major effect on a player’s experience, sometimes being the main difference between an engaging interaction and a frustrating one. In a world where many operators have the same content, standing out is becoming increasingly challenging, as is retaining customer loyalty. Personalization is not just a buzzword or marketing hook for operators: it needs to be a culture.
Expectations are high
From web to mobile and in-person interactions, consumers now view personalization as the least a competitive company can do to earn their business. A large proportion of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions and are often surprised and disappointed when their homepage or feed is broad and irrelevant to their interests. And, with the sheer amount of choice out there today, if consumers don’t like what they see, changing their service provider is no big deal.
In sports betting terms, let’s consider a sports bettor who often bets on Arsenal’s games. After logging in, they should be taken straight to an Arsenal fixture event, with a pre-filled betting slip waiting for them, generated based on their previous behavior. Through something simple like this, their journey is immediately simpler, faster and more intuitive. And, as a result, the operator creates a system that gets the bet made faster, as well as a customer that is more likely to come back.
The igaming industry must keep pace. Other industries have had personalisation for some time. For example, Netflix and Spotify curate content based on customer preferences and display it front and center after logging in, while Amazon has suggested products and discounts, and so on.
So, if personalisation has already become the norm for some of the world’s biggest companies, why hasn’t the igaming space followed suit?
A sea of same
With so many suppliers and solutions available, starting up an igaming enterprise has been vastly simplified, resulting in a huge number of businesses popping up around the globe. This has been a boon for the industry, but has also been a double-edged sword, resulting in cookie-cutter templates, layouts, clones of games and betting features.
The quality of these products is not under doubt, but their ability to differentiate is vastly affected as a result. Aside from altering logos and colors, not many platform providers offer the kind of customization needed to distinguish from the crowd.
By adopting a personalised approach to an online casino or sportsbook, operators can increase the perceived quality of their product, together with customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Perceived quality of a product
With so many casinos and sportsbooks appearing similar in structure, layout and content, there’s a real opportunity to have an aesthetic and function that stands out. By having an operation that truly looks and feels different, you can create a sense of excitement and anticipation among players. First impressions like this can go a long way in creating perceived quality, and therefore a better chance of increasing player satisfaction and lifetime value.
All operators want customers to come back, and player satisfaction plays a large part in whether or not they decide to. Player satisfaction is influenced by many factors, but one that is not talked about enough is creating a sense of delight and surprise. Such experiences can show a player that an operator is going the extra mile to make the interaction a good one.
Customer loyalty is hard to win, and even harder to keep – but if achieved, it can be a real asset. While existing loyalty programs, customer retention, and VIP programs can all be great ways for operators to show their appreciation for their players, personalisation takes it one step further. If players genuinely feel like their particular needs and interests are being considered, they will remain loyal customers for longer, and may even become ambassadors.
The ’My’ Era
Suppliers and operators that benefit most from personalization are those who take a unique approach to it. They consider personalisation as an opportunity for a cultural shift, rather than just a marketing or analytics push. They place an emphasis on client lifetime value and search for long-term drivers of growth rather than just short-term successes.
That’s why Delasport has referred to its new products as being part of a new era, indicating that they are not a gimmick or branding exercise, but an entire shift towards genuine player centricity. These products are My Sportsbook and My Event builder, and are the first of a new line of products under the ‘My’ umbrella.
As the names suggest, the ‘My’ range of products are designed to instill a sense of ownership and belonging, where the player is only served the experience they want, and nothing else. In essence, they own what they see, and it is tailored for them.
My Sportsbook – getting to the game, fast
As mentioned earlier, players want to place bets quickly and easily. They don’t want to spend the time to find what they want in a large list of sports, teams, leagues and so on. Instead, My Sportsbook takes them straight to the action. After completing an initial questionnaire on their interests in terms of sports, teams, leagues etc, they will only see events around those preferences when they enter their landing page.
Through the questionnaire, operators will be able to understand their preferences right from the beginning, instead of having to invest the time to analyse their behaviors over a longer term. Of course, this approach can be fine-tuned further through machine learning technology, but through this approach, players get to the action quickly. This is especially useful for devices with smaller screens, such as smartphones. No more scrolling and tapping to find the correct content.
My Event Builder – unique events, made by players
My Event Builder takes this feeling of control and ownership to a new level and effectively gives players the power to create their own unique custom events. The player chooses two real-life teams that don’t have to be from the same league, or even playing at the same time, and pits them against each other in a custom bet. This means that the combinations of bets, teams and leagues is endless.
To put it another way, through My Event Builder, a bettor can pit their local soccer team against an international league giant such as Real Madrid. If that bettor says that their local team (let’s say Barnet from North London) gets three goals in their local match, and Real Madrid score two in their own game, they are creating an event where they bet on a score of 3-2, in favor of Barnet vs. Real Madrid. This match would never happen in the real world, but through My Event builder, it can.
Differentiation done differently
This is just the beginning of the ‘My’ era for Delasport, its partners, and the bettors who will experience it. The award-winning igaming supplier plans to create a similar experience for casino bettors, under My Casino, where they will be able to enjoy highly tailored and unique features made for them. Until then, the push for personalisation will continue.
The industry has come a long way in recent years, with products that go from technical strength to strength. But, the products aren’t the star of the show anymore. The move from product-centricity to player-centricity is quickly gaining pace, and operators who don’t look to supply personalisation as part of their offer may soon find themselves left behind.