What lessons can retailers learn from the online casino industry?

On the surface, the first answer to the question might be “not very many”. But if one were to start looking a little more deeply into it, some different replies might start to emerge. After all, if the comparatively short history of online casinos has taught us anything, it’s that they are very good at attracting customers and, equally importantly, holding on to them.

At a time when many high street stores are struggling, thanks to the challenges presented by online alternatives, wouldn’t this be exactly what retailers would want to do?

Bonuses and incentives a big draw

Naturally, offers and incentives have been important in the online casinos’ drive to attract players and there can’t be many retailers who haven’t looked at least one of these ways to drive their business forwards. But perhaps a better lesson could be learned by the way that the online gaming industry has harnessed technology to give it the edge.

 A prime example of this has been the introduction of the live casino. This came as a response to the feeling that the electronic games that many sites offered were good, but didn’t quite capture the atmosphere of being physically in a casino. Luckily, the technology became available to stream live dealers running real games of roulette and blackjack directly to players’ PCs or mobile devices.

Not only did this become an almost immediate hit, but the fact that there was also an opportunity to communicate with the dealer via a chat function also made it an altogether more human experience.

Personal touches key to a good experience

Looked at from a retail perspective, the obvious equivalent to this would be to offer a personalised sales consultation online with the goods being bought and then delivered to the customer’s home. They would be receiving the personal shopping experience usually lacking in e-commerce transactions – and the retailer would be building a connection.

Plus, just as online casinos manage to gather a great deal of data about their players’ preferences and habits and use this to refine their offering, the same could apply to retailers and help them get ahead in the ever-changing e-commerce market.

Because the sales interaction is online, it could be possible to record what styles or brands individual customers favour. This information could then be used to make them timely and relevant online offers, for example when new products from their preferred brands are launched. And, because the personal connection has been established between customer and salesperson, they may well be more likely to respond.

Surely the links between the two worlds will grow closer over time. The other good news for the retail sector is that technology is taking over to create a genuinely omnichannel approach. No doubt there will be many other lessons to be learned, and shared, over time – and, hopefully, this will help to make the retail sector in general as successful as the online casino industry continues to be.