Talking Omni Channel With Tom Light


Tom Light SBTech’s  – Vice President of Business Development. 

What is Omni-channel?

As one of main current industry buzzwords, a lot has been said and written about Omni-channel. For SBTech, one of the recognised leaders in the field, it’s principally about providing the same level of service across all channels – online, mobile and retail – in order to offer maximum choice and versatility to players. In practice, that could mean placing a bet in-shop, taking the ticket home (or even losing it!), monitoring the progress of the match on mobile, using cash out, partial cash out or ‘bank my stake’ and then using the funds on casino or placing more pre-match and live bets. In other words, it’s about being a customer’s go-to destination whenever and wherever they are and whichever product they wish to enjoy.

What are the rules of thumb for a successful Omni-channel operator?

Everyone has a different approach. Many traditional companies have simply applied existing retail approaches to their online operations, but this often means integrating solutions provided by two different companies. This will never deliver the seamless experience that’s at the core of a successful Omni-channel service. SBTech had the luxury of coming late to the retail sector, which has enabled us to offer a genuinely harmonised Omni-channel solution, driven by a unified back office and a centralised betting engine. In short, we didn’t have to become an Omni provider – it’s been in our DNA right from the outset.

How do you measure the overall success of an Omni-channel offering?

Different KPIs certainly apply to the various customer touchpoints. For example, an operator naturally wants a player to spends less time on an SSBT and longer on their personal device. You don’t therefore, want to create the same experience across all channels. The trick is to custom-tailor UI/UX to each device, even in terms of the range of markets you offer and the overall look and feel. Again, it’s about delivering the same quality of service, without necessarily replicating the same journey.

A successful Omni-channel offering is also one which is geared towards timely, appropriate and rewarding cross-selling. When cross-promoting between retail and online, for example, operators should always consider channel-specific offers, whilst bearing in mind that the average Omni player is worth around two-and-a half times more in terms of lifetime value.

How does the psychology of mobile betting differ from betting on desktop in terms of bet types and behavior?

Over the past couple of years, mobile betting revenues have risen to account for more than 50% of turnover. That’s a trend that applies across the board – not only in sports betting and casino. Problems can arise, however, when operators fight for mobile real estate, attempting to shoehorn their entire offering into a limited space.

Simplification works much better, but how do you choose which top events or markets to promote to players when you cover tens of thousands? The answer, of course, lies in personalisation. Some operators think that it’s enough to offer bets on a player’s favourite team – but that’s segmentation, not personalisation. Only by applying big data intelligently – by suggesting bets, for example, on events that indirectly affect a player’s team or on markets where the player has previously enjoyed success – can you create personalisation that truly feels “one-to-one.”

The other key driver of mobile revenues is live betting. Making fast calls on in-play events is ideal for on-the-go betting, and as pioneers in the field of Fast Markets – where you bet on exactly what will happen in the next one or five-minute period of a live football match – we’ll soon be rolling out our new “Pulse” product, which will represent the next generation of live betting. Watch this space!

There aren’t many operators who have nailed Omni properly. How have you managed it?

One thing that any operator has to bear in mind is that there are pros and cons to providing an Omni-channel experience. There’s a real balancing act in terms of pricing – similar odds and promotions across retail and online can mean that retail isn’t profitable enough while online isn’t sufficiently competitive. Short-term revenues can therefore be impacted, but the upside is that brand loyalty is inevitably improved, since you’re effectively providing a one-stop service, with the experience customised to play to the unique strengths of each channel. Over the long term, in an industry where M&A is increasingly defining the landscape, that’s a top priority for all major players.

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