Rewarding excellence

Scratch cards and draw-based games are among the best-selling FMCG products, with high rates of impulse purchase
Scratch cards and draw-based games are among the best-selling FMCG products, with high rates of impulse purchase

With its new Star Store initiative, National Lottery aims to drive excellence in retailing through incentives and rewards with a view to growing into a billion-euro business in the coming years, writes Doug Whelan


Brand Central

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18 May 2016

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NL_StarStore_StarStore_logoIt’s said among retailers that the Lottery is among the most profitable two feet of floor space in your store. It’s also a widely acknowledged fact that lottery games are two of the most impulsive products in the entire FMCG sector: 40% of Lottery draw games and 75% of scratch cards. The combination of these two truths means that positioning is everything when it comes to Lottery products. It impacts sales potential massively, as does presentation.

NL_StarStore_StarRewards_logoWith this in mind, after a long period of research and development, the National Lottery has unveiled its Star Store initiative, a brand-new programme designed to create and promote a new standard of excellence in lottery retailing. The objective of the Star Store programme is to drive sales growth and profitability in stores by making the National Lottery Retail Agent (i.e. you) central to its success. The programme is based on a number of key strategic areas in-store: equipment positioning, product range, availability, display and merchandising standards, promotion and execution.

NL_StarStore_StarPlan_logoTo learn more about the Star Store programme, we caught up with Niall Andrews, head of Sales with the National Lottery. He told us about the three ways the Star Store programme breaks down: the Star Mark, the Star Business Plan and Star Rewards. “The Star Mark is an area we have developed to grade each individual Lottery agent using certain criteria,” Andrews explains, “with the objective being that every agent in the country achieves a ten-star mark.

“The higher the star mark,” he says, “the better compliance to the retail programme. This compliance will in turn drives sales and profitability.”

NL_StarStore_StarMark_logoThe second area on which Star Store is developed is the Star Business Plan. “What this does,” Andrews explains, “is set out a plan for the retailer to move from the mark they are on to the maximum ten-star mark. We’ll have a plan in place for each retail agent. The third part then is Star Rewards, which is the most innovative part of the new programme, and one that is sure to get retailers and their staff very involved in the project.

“Star Rewards is when agents who score above a certain set of criteria will get just that,” says Andrews. “They’ll be rewarded by the National Lottery, as will the staff who look after the Lottery and retail.”

Growth inspires growth

Niall Andrews and Ray Hannon discuss the ins and outs of the Star Store programme

Niall Andrews and Ray Hannon discuss the ins and outs of the Star Store programme

Niall Andrews tells us that the National Lottery is investing a massive €3m in the Star Store programme, which follows significant investment in the past 12 months since the renewal of its license in November of 2014. The old adage “you’ve got to spend money to make money” springs to mind here. Andrews explains how the National Lottery was almost a €700m business last year, and growth on that is the main objective of the Star Store programme. “€700m is massive for the FMCG sector,” he says, “and so it’s our ambition to make the National Lottery a billion-euro business in the coming years.”

The aforementioned investment by National Lottery in the new programme takes the form of new point-of-purchase equipment, new Impact Dispensers which Niall Andrews tells us have been specifically designed to accommodate the Lottery’s new Multiplier range of games. “Over the coming months,” he adds, “we will begin installing the latest industry-leading Lottery Counter Units [LCUs], which will transform lottery display and productivity at the point of sale.

“The LCU’s unique design combines the traditional terminal surround, ticket dispenser and jackpot communicator into one ergonomic unit,” Andrews says, “and will join the existing dispenser range of four, eight and 12 facing units.

“These will ensure we have the right equipment to support an optimised product range for your store,” he says.

The overall aim of the Star Store programme is to benefit both PLI (Premier Lotteries Ireland) and its 4,000+ retail sales agents across Ireland, boosting sales and profits and bringing in a new generation of players in the coming years.

Star Programme: A retailer’s perspective

Raymond Hannon is a retailer who owns a string of c-stores and forecourts, and he counts the National Lottery as one of the “must-have” products in any store. “Ever since the Lotto first came along,” says Hannon, “everybody’s aim was to get a machine in. Whether it was a quick pick or a full lotto, it has always been one of the most fundamental things that attracts people in to your store.

“The impulse element of the tickets is such a big draw,” he says. “When they’re positioned right, they’re talking directly to the customer.”

Ray Hannon, representative of retailers across the country, was only too happy to row in with the National Lottery to help launch the Star Stores programme. “It’s a really good idea,” he says, “and very focused on their category. I was saying to someone else earlier today, there’s no other company doing what the National Lottery are doing here. They’re saying ‘this is our category, and we are going to drive it. It’s up to ye now to come and join us.’

“They’re doing a great job, fair play to them,” Hannon continues, “and if they can grow their business to €1 billion, then that will benefit us too.”

Hannon says he fully intends to name one of his staff as his ‘National Lottery Champion’, because, as he puts it, Lottery is a simple upsell. “People don’t mind being asked,” he says, “so it’s upsell, upsell, upsell.

“And we’ll get our rewards too, please god. I’ll either give it towards a staff member who has done the most work in promoting the national lottery, or maybe towards a night out for everyone. An awful lot of companies don’t give back enough, so for the National Lottery to give back to retailers like this is fantastic.

“We’re at the coal-face,” he says, “we’re the ones who know what the customers want, and deal with them on a daily basis. So it doesn’t have to be much, but a thank-you from the company means an awful lot.”

And on the topic of the Star Mark itself, Hannon says he’ll be striving for the full ten in all of his stores. “There’s something in it that will make everyone want to work for the full ten stars. I strive for the best of everything all the time, so it’s not impossible.”

Star Rewards ShelfLife Award

National Lottery has also announced that the programme will tie in to its ongoing sponsorship of the Retailer of the Year Award at the annual ShelfLife National C-Store Awards, which take place later this year.

All Lottery agents that achieve a ten-star rating will automatically be nominated for the National Lottery ‘Star Store’ Retailer of the Year Awards. The shortlist of ten retailers will then be invited to attend the ceremony where one will be unveiled as the ultimate winner.

As if the Star Rewards system itself wasn’t enough of an incentive to get involved!

For more information about the ShelfLife National C-Store Awards, visit

For more information on the National Lottery’s Star Store programme, contact your local National Lottery Field Sales or TeleSales representative.










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