NB: This article originally appeared on TotallyGaming.com on 15 August.
To the untrained eye, not much has changed since last season in terms of product, but most bookies have refined their offering with the new season in mind. In a market as competitive as European online sports betting, success boils down to the small alterations that boost customer experience and engagement. Just take a look beyond the big-money marketing campaigns and you will see operators tweaking and adding to their product in countless ways.
We see there are two trends happening simultaneously.
The first is a drive to increase the amount of product content. Like any ecommerce business, keeping customers on-site, whether to cross-sell into gaming or grow share of sportsbook wallet, can mean the difference between a low value customer and one with a steadily increasing value for the duration of the season.
For new and emerging sportsbook brands, in particular, competing with the big players in terms of content depth and variety is a necessity. Why risk losing an in-play football punter to a rival bookie who can further engage them with regular horseracing markets and an exciting virtuals product?
This is less about chucking every conceivable product on the site and more to do with selecting the products which are intrinsically linked and that complete the customer engagement journey.
As an example, we’ve just launched our new Racing Manager product and while it works as a traditional horseracing market, operators have shown great interest as something which sits alongside in-play markets. The frequency of racing events is arguably the perfect supplement to in-play football and tennis markets.
Bookmakers must not ignore the more passive punter who browses and clicks around the site rather than heading straight to his regular market. Human nature dictates that we will often spend on impulse. Like flash sales on shopping sites, customers will buy items they had no intention of buying – but only if it’s pitched and positioned well enough.
At the same time, the trend to create a frictionless customer journey continues to accelerate. Bookies are racing towards a light-touch and refined experience, and many have done an amazing job already. Hygiene factors such as offering the right range of payment methods and fast log-ins can no longer be labelled that. They have become as vital to customer engagement and spend as anything else.
This strategy, combined with personalised marketing (product personalisation remains a work in progress) is arguably the number one priority for bookies right now. As ever, the underlying challenge is anticipating what the customer wants and delivering it at the right time, and bet recommendations is something our clients are having great success with.
Stripped-down UX works best when it is combined with meaningful marketing. And when those messages can be relevant to an event-level granularity, engagement and turnover are only going one way: up.
Of course, it is overly simplistic to divide customers into these two disparate sets. Many will be both at the same time, depending on the time, place and device on which they are active.
But the lesson is simple. Only operators who can truly cater for both ends of the customer spectrum can be confident in winning the battle for share of sportsbook wallet.