Rachel Coulson, Head of Product Proposition at SIS, highlights how operators can adjust their online sportsbook offering to optimise engagement with both online and retail customers within the current climate.
Retail has long been the cornerstone of the betting industry in many countries and for a significant proportion of bettors it is the place where they will always choose to place their bets.
Yet the repercussions from COVID-19 on the industry have highlighted the need for a more consistent customer experience across channels, now more than ever, ensuring that bettors can access their favourite content without limitations.
Although lockdowns have been eased somewhat in certain territories and the retail sector is beginning to experience a return to normality, bookmakers must still be prepared for further disruptions down the line.
With this in mind, it has never been so important for operators to make sure that their online proposition aligns with their retail experience, making it appealing to both their retail and online customers.
Offering the best for both worlds
Operators need to ensure they offer a consistent customer experience across all platforms, allowing a seamless user experience throughout the day – be that online or in-shop.
Of course, elements of the retail experience cannot be replicated for online, but there are ways to maximise the online offering to make it as appealing as possible.
Horse racing and greyhound events have traditionally been a strong retail product in the UK market, and have since grown in popularity internationally too – as we have witnessed through working with customers in the likes of Latin America, the Caribbean and Sri Lanka, with new markets continuing to emerge elsewhere.
Providing such events online in a ‘Watch and Bet’ format is an effective way to help encourage bettors to engage with these sports on desktop or mobile. Much like with the retail experience, there is no initial need to place a bet in order to watch live events, which allows bettors to familiarise themselves with the markets on offer through live pictures.
The ‘Watch and Bet’ model has worked successfully for many international online operators in recent times and has proven to increase the likelihood of customers placing a bet.
It is why at SIS we have placed a great deal of emphasis on making our 24/7 Live Betting Channels available through the Watch and Bet model. As well as offering horse or greyhound racing channels, we also mix multiple high margin racing products into one live channel, including quality virtual horse and greyhound racing, providing operators with the opportunity to offer their customers a continuous stream and choice of live betting events, resulting in increased engagement and revenues.
Another significant factor that will help with increasing the appeal of online betting to retail customers is the sheer volume of different markets available to them across all hours of the day, so that they are not restricted to shop opening hours. Our highly engaging, 24/7 Live Betting Channels offer profitable short-form betting content every three minutes, all day, which offer online bettors regular betting opportunities at times that suit them.
In addition to the more traditional betting markets commonly associated with horse racing and greyhounds, the online space has the capability to offer a larger number of derivative markets that can help capture the interest of all kinds of bettors. Both are available as standard in the SIS proposition.
Particularly in territories where racing remains an unknown entity for some, derivatives offer the opportunity for operators to engage with a new audience. Betting markets such as casino-style ‘spin-and-win’ and ‘odds-and-evens’ bets can broaden the appeal of these sports due to their familiarity with other popular forms of betting.
The retail sector will always remain an important part of the sports betting industry, but given the current uncertainties, it is important that operators enhance the customer experience across channels.
We are always working on ways to help extend the retail betting experience online by providing more products that will be familiar to existing bettors. Following the acquisition of 49’s, we will be offering this high-margin product that is already very popular within retail outlets worldwide to online operators. We have ambitious plans that will create even more opportunities to engage with this easy-to-understand product across all hours of the day in even more territories.
As the sports betting landscape faces challenges in light of the pandemic, we are committed to helping our operator partners provide an engaging betting experience across channels. For example, we launched SIS Competitive Gaming, the world’s first esports betting product built specifically for sportsbooks.
The esports schedule is optimised for operators and offers markets and bet types that are familiar to current sports bettors, thus helping our partners to unlock the potential of the world’s fastest growing sports vertical. SIS Competitive Gaming launched earlier this year with bet365, and has enjoyed strong engagement levels with bettors appreciating the familiarity of events.
Making the online customer experience as engaging as the retail environment will prove valuable in appealing to both online and retail customers in the coming months.