Since the first IGT GameTouch™ 20 unit was deployed with the retailer in 2018, state lotteries’ use of the machine has steadily expanded. At the end of 2020, the retailer was selling lottery in more than 2,500 stores, with IGT’s 20-bin GameTouch 20 machines placed in more than 1,570 locations.
In fact, more than 80% of the retailer’s U.S. stores selling lottery are now equipped with the award-winning GameTouch 20 machines. Designed to fit the specialized requirements of the chain retailer’s environment, they provide a state-of-the art means to offer traditional lottery products and additional lottery product facings, and ultimately increase same store sales.
Lottery product sales tracked by IGT’s Retail Market Insight tool, which covers 80% of the U.S. population in lottery states, shows that the retailer generated over $493 million in sales for the retailer’s 2021 fiscal year (which started in February 2020), with $29 million in retailer commissions and more than $137 million in transfers for the causes supported by the partner lotteries.
Lottery’s Brand Ambassadors
Since the self-service machines began to roll out at a wide scale in 2019, several lotteries have introduced successful ambassador programs to support adoption and sales.
These programs bring lottery representatives into the stores to educate players and store personnel on the ease of play and operation of the new lottery vending machines. Ambassadors greet customers, answer questions about the machines and products, hand out brochures, and provide general Lottery information.
As more shoppers become aware that lottery games are sold in the retailers’ locations, and as retailer managers become familiar with the lottery product and processes, average store sales have continued to grow.
For example, the New Jersey Lottery is currently seeing exceptionally positive results with its ambassador program. Sales via the self-service units began in October 2020 at the retailer’s New Jersey locations, all large-format stores carrying both grocery and general merchandise. Since then, weekly sales have risen from an average of $1,009 per store to as much as $5,519 – with an overall average weekly sales per store of $3,237.
IGT teams collaborate closely with the retail giant and have held biweekly meetings with the retailer’s team for the past several years to keep advancing the functionality of the vending machines and accommodate related processes.
The teams work together to identify best practices with execution, training, new terminal functionality, UI optimization to drive player awareness, and more. The program is evolving as IGT continues to partner with the retailer to fulfill various opportunities and operational goals.
Moving Forward from the Pandemic
“When the pandemic hit, a lot of retailers had to move their technology budgets and goals over to different areas for much of 2020 to react to the new normal,” says Gina Easley, IGT Senior Manager National Chain Accounts. The retailer did see changes in consumer behavior after states went on lockdown. But while there was an initial decrease in sales, people began coming back into the stores not long after. “The end of 2020 saw a sales lift due to holiday sales and the increased foot traffic, which drove awareness that lottery products were available for purchase,” she notes. The retail giant is also exploring new POS materials and marketing to create additional visibility.
“Now projects that were put on hold are picking up again in 2021,” says Easley. For one, IGT is leading the effort to develop and establish the specs for daily interface files, which the retailer uses to help with reconciliation, pinpoint errors, and detect theft. IGT is also underway with other roadmap items that will be important to the retailer’s business.
IGT is committed to supporting our customers with effective tools and forward-looking innovations to drive growth. To learn more about the advantages of self-service vending, contact your IGT Account Representative.
Read about how the New Jersey Lottery’s rollout of self-service has created a new “upside” for social-space retailers during the pandemic and beyond in the March/April issue of PGRI magazine.