Listening to customers has always been a focus for suppliers, but now is the time to take it one step further, argues Marc Thomas, Head of product at SIS.
At any step along the supply chain in the betting and gaming industry, the question is always the same – how can I best satisfy the needs of my customer?
Growing importance is being placed on the requirement to anticipate the needs of customers, and deliver the products to suit them.
No longer is it a case of simply showcasing a suite of services and letting their reliability or breadth of coverage, for example, do the talking.
These elements are still incredibly important, but more is now expected from suppliers than just data and pictures.
There is an added pressure to develop products that satisfy specific needs which, sometimes, operators may not even know they have yet.
Of course, ensuring that those core data and picture products continue to improve and develop is the first point of call. Thankfully, new and existing technology is allowing that to happen.
For example, streaming technology gives bookmakers a way to get more information, more quickly and across extra channels easily and at low cost.
Streaming also provides ways of creating personalised content that can be tailored to specific areas and regions, which provides a flexibility that enables operators to geo-target their data supply into betting shops to the players that want it most – whether that’s a specific sport, match, team or event.
This is especially relevant with most major operators now having access to their own content, either self-produced or through the myriad live sponsorships that sportsbooks have.
Developing the core products is certainly one way for suppliers to remain strong in the industry but, as we enter 2016, what can take that personalisation a step further?
This is where anticipating the needs of operators come in. Suppliers must first form strong relationships with their customers, understand where they’re coming from and the direction their company is headed.
More markets, bets and games
Then it’s about identifying possible ways in which your offering can fulfill more for your customers and their punters. The acute need for the market, currently, is simply ‘give me more’.
More markets on more sports, extra ways to bet such as in-play, and the rise and rise of casino games and virtuals have brought more choice than ever for players.
How can suppliers provide their customers with that extension to their current offering, building on products that are already successful but adding a new piece to the jigsaw that can provide even more betting opportunities?
Providing on-demand betting opportunities is just one way. We’ve already seen in television how users are adopting this style of consumption – think BBC iPlayer or Netflix – and the viewing share of on demand programmes continues to grow.
It demonstrates that consumers are less inclined to wait for what they want, and the same goes for betting opportunities. Why wait for a horse race this afternoon when you can play a virtual one in a few minutes?
Taking that a step further, and the on demand ethos is now being applied to racing, and I’m sure we’ll see development in this area as the industry moves further into 2016.
The interesting aspect of the TV analogy is that linear TV continues to go from strength-to-strength which, again, will hold true in the betting industry, particularly for the foreseeable future.
This is why any new products, such as on-demand games, should be an addition to an already strong and stable product offering, rather than a replacement.
Whether it’s localisation, streaming, on demand delivery or some other aspect of a product suite, one thing is clear: suppliers will need to continue to evolve their product suites.
If they don’t stay one step ahead with development of new ideas, delivery methods and more, operators will look elsewhere.