Maximizing Sales with New Instant Game Launches

For lotteries and their retailers, new game launches can be a successful path to maximizing sales. Leveraging our resources and experience, IGT’s Retail Sales and Execution Team (RSET) has developed a number of strategies that, when embraced by lotteries and their chain retail store partners, can help new instant ticket games quickly become the top selling/earning games.

Below, I’ll demonstrate these strategies, using sample data from a major convenience store retail chain.

New Game Launch Sales Graph

At first glance, the lines depicted on the graph above may look like the heartbeats on an EKG monitor. In actuality, the above graph represents the daily lottery scratch-off sales trends from 1,200 locations of the retail chain. The weekly reoccurring high peaks are all Fridays, and the reoccurring valleys are all Sundays.

With close examination (and the aid of the small red circles), a small “heart murmur” has been identified, which appears to reoccur on the first Tuesday of each month. If these really were heartbeat patterns, we would all probably be very concerned. In this case, however, the murmurs represent the sales increases retailers could experience if/when they embrace and promote the new game launches each month. The sales increases over a year’s time for this particular chain was equivalent to $800K-$1MM. So instead of being concerned about how to stop the murmur, my advice would be to find ways to spread this trend to as many retailers as possible.

Here are some of the tools and strategies used by this retail chain and various lotteries to maximize sales during new game launches:

  • Use promotional signage for new games. Prominent point-of-sale instant ticket merchandisers, floor decals, and branded lottery balloons or streamers are all great ways to help create excitement in store. Window clings for the entrance doors, with new game promotions facing out and “thank you” messages facing in, can also help raise awareness among shoppers. And, if not included with each new game pack, lotteries should ensure that all stores have display tickets prior to new game launch day that can used to promote the games.
  • Send planograms to retailers at least one week prior to the new game launch date. This gives them the ability to properly coordinate the timing of the communication to their stores. The planograms should clearly identify where the new games are to be placed, and should include a list of tickets to be removed from the old planogram on day one to make room for new games. (For example: “Remove Game 404, and replace with new Game 501 $10 Lucky for Life™.”) Be sure to include a reminder that all removed games will be picked up and credited out, where permitted by state. Lotteries should also keep in mind that many retailers’ email systems are size-restricted, so keeping the file size for each planogram below 250k is often appreciated.
  • Send a new game launch reminder one or two days prior to the actual launch day. The reminder email should contain low-res images of each new game and information like the game number, name, UPC, and ticket value. Including the list of the games to be removed in this email will increase chances of a successful implementation. Lotteries may also want to send a second reminder email on the morning of the new game launch.
  • Send new game launch activation reports to the lottery category manager each morning. This gives the them the information necessary to follow up with each of their delinquent stores. Continue sending each day until the retailer reaches 100 percent activation. Activation report emails should also contain a written summary of the remaining stores with tickets not yet activated; this will allow category managers to easily forward the information to their stores. Once they reach 100 percent activation, a celebration email to the category manager will give them the ability to praise their teams for a job well done.
  • Provide Retailer Incentive Programs to reward retailers for speedy activation (usually within 72-hours).

If many of the above strategies are implemented by all parties, newly launched games can easily transform into top sellers.

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