“We need to think about the retail differently — how can that experience be modernized? We also need to look for opportunities to perform our business better from a customer service perspective. Lastly, we need to look for opportunities for digital integration,” explains Gass.
There is certainly a thirst for innovation at BCLC and a desire to take calculated risks and put ideas into action.
“There will be two parts to our lottery success,” says Gass. “The first step is stabilization, where we will seek out new, short-term opportunities and try new methods that may turn out to be high-value activity that will correct the downward trend in lottery sales. The second part is transformation, which will be a long-term plan to make fundamental changes to create year over year growth.”
Innovation is key
Despite the heavy focus on the need for change, it is important to note the lottery business has seen its fair share of innovation. To address the challenge of shifting shopping patterns, BCLC introduced Lotto Express, which enables players to buy lottery tickets while they check out their groceries. Big box stores and their added convenience have changed the way people shop and in light of this, BCLC struck a partnership with Costco and for the first time in North America, Costco is selling lottery products, in the form of Scratch & Win ticket packages, across B.C.
BCLC is also one of several jurisdictions that offers lottery tickets online. These new distribution channels are not intended to replace the traditional retail outlets but they provide players with more options and avenues to play. While the distribution in lottery across Canada is very strong, it is ultimately new content which will expand the player base and keep existing players interested.
Lightbody draws many parallels between the lottery business and the soft drink business and gleans inspiration from the soft drink industry’s voracious appetite to introduce new products to the marketplace.
“Take Coca-Cola or Pepsi for example, where distribution is also critical for their success and survival. Coca-Cola has not rested on the laurels of its solid brand recognition; instead it has introduced a wide range of products from Vitamin Water to Coca Cola Zero and Powerade – they did not choose to rely solely on Diet Coke or Coke. For the lottery business, we need to recognize the need to introducing new products,” says Lightbody.
The lottery business is not going to change overnight and nor should it; developing and introducing new content will take time, creativity, patience, boldness, and a willingness to experiment. Both Lightbody and Gass express the importance of creating a workplace that recognizes the value in taking calculated risks, learning from the results and moving forward.
“We can continue along the same path because it has been a safe and successful one but I believe maintaining the status quo is the last thing we should be doing,” says Lightbody. Any business that does not innovate and adapt will not prosper and that includes the lottery business.
About the author:
Jessica Gares is a Communications Officer at BCLC. Connect with her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.