Hot Retail Topics at La Fleur’s Lottery eConference

IGT co-sponsored the second annual La Fleur’s Retail Lottery eConference on Friday, February 14th. This digital educational event treated participants across the lottery industry to updates and panel discussions on major retail-growth topics such as InLane solutions, route sales management, retailer-lottery relationships, and more. IGT’s Gina Easley, Senior Manager National Retail Accounts, presented on the expansion of the Route Sales Management model and participated in a panel discussion on the subject.

The eConference kicked off with a keynote by Gary Grief, Executive Director of the Texas Lottery Commission, who provided a national perspective on the current state of lottery at retail and where it’s headed. While lotteries across the country have been enjoying record-breaking sales in the past fiscal year—due in part to robust Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots and continued growth in instant ticket sales—this success also creates a challenge: continuing to produce results that stakeholders and beneficiaries have come to expect. While many factors are involved in driving business and profits forward, at the heart of the matter is our ability—as an industry—to innovate lottery products and advance distribution and sales methods.

Panel Discussion: Route Sales Management Model

Throughout the eConference, various lottery employees and vendors participated in panel discussions on key retail topics of interest. In her presentation, “Route Sales Model Chain-Expansion Opportunity,” Gina Easley, IGT Senior Manager National Retail Accounts, discussed retail giant CVS’s interaction with state lotteries and their consumers. Currently, the CVS selling models vary from state to state, from traditional over-the-counter, to self-service only, to the retailer’s preferred method, the route sales model. Originally developed for CVS by IGT and the California State Lottery in 2006, a new expansion plan was recently approved by CVS with the goal of replicating the California route sales model consistently across U.S. states.

The route sales management model offers unique benefits for retailers and is also profitable for lotteries, but its operation differs enough from traditional lottery sales models that it has not been widely used, In the route sales model, a lottery pays a flat weekly fee to rent space for its machine in a store, similar to an ATM, and provides the retailer with additional incentives based on weekly sales. The lottery assumes responsibility for both labor and instant ticket inventory. While this can be a challenge, it also provides the opportunity for the lottery rep to have full control over the product mix and assortment, and help to improve out-of-stock situations, all of which can result in higher sales at a location. Lottery reps play a critical role in the success of this program. They’re responsible for maintaining the lottery vending machines, collecting cash, and reconciling with the store manager. IGT’s software design and reporting for the route sales program creates efficiencies and protection for both retailer and lottery rep. Easley stressed that it’s important to set up a program that makes sense for each unique jurisdiction to help ensure long-term success. For more detailed information about the route sales program, email retailsuccess@igt.com.

Following her presentation, Easley participated in a panel on route sales management with representatives from the Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Lotteries. Topics in this panel include current retailer projects with CVS, Costco, and the Richmond International Airport; ways lotteries are rewarding their retailer partners via various commission structures; steps taken to streamline processes and increase efficiencies; methods to address challenges that have arisen; how these programs can continue to evolve; and more.

Overall, panelists found that the route sales management model allows scalability to drive efficiencies and address retailers’ demands and changes. While there is always risk changing a program, there is a bigger risk in not trying. Lotteries adapting this new model are truly setting a new paradigm for the industry, and a common theme throughout the panel was that “you don’t know until you try.” Sharing information about what has worked and what hasn’t benefits the industry. Because lotteries aren’t in competition with one another, all can move forward.

The topics covered throughout the La Fleur’s eConference highlighted an exciting time of advancement for the Lottery industry. Finding ways to creatively navigate through complex legislative, consumer, and retailer challenges will ultimately help the industry grow and innovate into the future.

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