Driving sales up
Want to stand out from the competition? Give customers more reasons to repeatedly visit your store instead of your rivals, through offering a varied range of services and products for which there is a real consumer demand, and that help make you a one-stop-shop destination, writes Gillian Hamill
13 August 2015
Niall Andrews, head of Sales, Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) – National Lottery
In the battle for consumers’ spend retailers need to make sure they are a destination for their customers. How can The National Lottery’s retail offerings help drive significantly higher footfall and increase loyalty?
The National Lottery is one of Ireland’s best-known retail brands and a significant footfall driver with over 700,000 transactions processed daily on terminals throughout the country. Brand favourites include Winning Streak, All Cash, Bingo, Crossword and Congratulations scratch cards. Hero games such as Lotto and EuroMillions continue to be firm favourites with participation rates exceeding 60% of the total adult population on a regular basis. Three-quarters of scratch cards and almost half of all draw games purchasing decisions are made at the point of purchase. Positioning at the primary till will ensure the greatest return for our retailers. Every community has benefitted from National Lottery funding with the monies raised for good causes to date topping €4.5 billion which has resulted in many worthwhile projects receiving support from The National Lottery Beneficiary Fund.
Over the last 12 months what innovations have delivered the greatest sales for retailers?
In November 2014 Premier Lotteries Ireland, the new operator of the National Lottery, undertook the biggest retail transformation programme ever, with the complete refresh of all equipment in the full retail estate of 3,900 agents. The National Lottery’s new owners Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and An Post have invested significantly with the installation of 20,000 pieces of new equipment across the retail network. The installation of advanced technology terminals with new user functionality ensures the National Lottery is best positioned to optimise game innovation and grow our retail player base in the years to come. Super 7 and Replay options are just two of the new concepts which have greatly enhanced the user experience and enable retail owners and staff to upsell and promote the full range of National Lottery draw games. Fast keys highlight our most popular selling products and accelerate customer service times in processing transactions quickly and efficiently.
Are there plans for any new products in the pipeline?
The National Lottery commercial team are working on extensive plans to ensure the product portfolio remains attractive and appealing. Product innovation is at the core of what we do in the National Lottery. All product ranges are being reviewed and plans are advanced to reinvigorate the full range of our games. Scratch card product research is extensive with new games such as All Cash Tripler, our new €3 offering, sure to be very popular with new and existing players alike. Premium scratch card games (€5 and above) account for 30% of sales with further developments and game extensions planned. Draw Based games are constantly under review, new innovations are planned and will be launched in due course. Customer service is a key component of our business model. Retail-driven strategies are fundamental to the success of The National Lottery, new customer programmes to improve in-store execution and maximise store potential will continue to be our commercial focus.
The retail sector is very competitive, and understanding how to optimise the performance of each store is critical.
Mercury Systems, established in 1996 and based in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, has supplied and installed footfall counting systems to more than 300 retail stores and shopping centres throughout Ireland.
What has become the critical KPI (key performance indicator) for retail is the conversion rate – the ratio of customers who enter the store versus the number of transactions. Retailers are often surprised to see a conversion rate of typically 15 – 30% which highlights the sales opportunities that are not converted.
Based on the footfall counting data and conversion rate, various informed decisions can be made and the such as:
- Product offering – Are seasonal and cost options optimised?
- Stock levels – are the correct sizes/flavours available?
- Store management performance – Good managers = good results!
- Which marketing campaigns offer the greatest return?
- Staffing levels – What level of staff to customer ratio gives you the highest conversion rate?
- Opening hours – how do opening hours affect conversion rates?
- Store benchmarking – When comparing stores, the conversion rate is always a valid benchmark irrespective of actual footfall traffic.
- Understand how holidays, special occasions and the weather influence your business.
Store with 5,000 visitors per week at 20% conversion rate – Average transaction value of €40
Sales per week: € 40,000
Target: Improve conversion by 2% sales increase: € 4,000
Annual increase: €208,000
Do more in store
Part of the An Post Group, PostPoint was established in 2000 and has been helping local retailers and communities ‘Do more in store’ ever since.
PostPoint retailers process over 18 million transactions every year, including essential footfall driving services such as mobile phone top up, bill payment, waste management, gift cards, tolling, parking and international calling cards.
PostPoint stores offer products and services which are useful, practical and simple. And, because PostPoint is part of An Post, customers can trust that all payments will be processed safely, securely and efficiently.
Over the last year, PostPoint has boosted its bill payment facility to over 150 billers, one of the largest in the country, allowing customers to pay the majority of national and regional bills through their local PostPoint shop.
In addition to regular utility bills, customers can also pay their Local Property Tax and TV licence renewal as well as many of their local waste payments and local City and County Council payments through PostPoint.
Added to these services are exclusive An Post products such as postal products, stamps and One4all Gift Cards, as well as new innovative online payment products like Paysafecard.
PostPoint supplies electronic services to over 2,000 retailers nationwide and works hand in hand with thousands of retailers in every town and every village across Ireland. By joining PostPoint retailers enjoy the support of a dedicated customer services team as well as an award winning sales support team on the road.
PostPoint retailers can order stamps and One4all conveniently and quickly through the PostPoint helpdesk. All orders are delivered free of charge straight to the retailers door.
PostPoint works with all major retail brands including Spar, Centra, SuperValu, Tesco, Gala, Mace, Londis, Costcutter, Daybreak, Topaz and Applegreen. You can find more information about joining PostPoint at www.postpoint.ie, or you can call PostPoint Retail Support on 1890 20 42 20.
New ergonomically designed Compact Kiosk
Mitsubishi Electric’s range of photo gift kiosks are affordable multi-touchscreen digital photo gift solutions, designed for retail stores, copy-shops, pharmacies and forecourt shops. In-store customers can easily upload photographs from their mobile devices to instantly create full-colour prints and beautiful personalised photo gifts such as calendars, greeting cards and collage style albums. The new ergonomically designed Compact Kiosk incorporates the gift product display shelving of the Plus, whilst requiring the minimal floor space of the Flex, making it ideal for smaller areas.
Each one of the eye-catching kiosks is integrated with Mitsubishi Electric’s dye sublimation printer which produces high quality durable prints in a choice of size and finish. Images can be imported using the kiosk’s Android and iPhone cable connections, Bluetooth, a memory card or from a customer’s Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr and Dropbox accounts. Customers who download the Kiosk Prints app, available from Apple and Google Play, can upload their photos directly from a phone or tablet. The touchscreen editing suite enables customers to re-size, crop or adjust the colour before creating their prints or personalised photo gifts.
Mitsubishi Electric says the kiosk system provides an excellent return on investment. The initial outlay is set at an affordable price and in most instances the machine has paid for itself in the first year. The self-service kiosks are designed as stand-alone stations incorporating a 23” multi-touch screen interface for customers to use independently, so suitable for retail outlets that don’t have trained photographic staff on hand. However, the network manager software enables store managers to keep abreast of sales by centrally tracking the usage statistics of kiosks located across a number of sites simultaneously, with full reporting capability.