One of the hottest new business phrases these days is “omnichannel.” Marketers use it to describe how they reach out to customers across many different touchpoints. Bankers use it to describe how they enable customers to bank in a branch, on computer, via a mobile app, etc. Healthcare providers use it to describe how hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, health insurance companies and others can create a more coordinated care experience that allows patients to interact more seamlessly with clinicians.
In the world of gaming, omnichannel is now — or at least should be — an absolutely crucial part of an operator’s strategy.
So what is omnichannel in the casino industry? There are really two different levels of omnichannel that people think about: front-end omnichannel and back-end omnichannel.
Front-end omnichannel describes the elements of the gaming experiences that players and casino staff interact with; it’s what most people are usually talking about when the subject comes up. Imagine you have an exciting new dragon-themed slot game. Ideally that game should work similarly and be available in the casino, online, via a mobile app, etc. Or imagine signing up for a player’s club. Once again, ideally the sign-up experience should be similarly seamless whether the person is doing it with a live casino host, or at a kiosk, or online. If someone starts signing up on one channel, they should be able to finish via another channel. In the real world, this often isn’t the case.
Back-end omnichannel describes the elements of the gaming experience that the player and the casino staff don’t always see. This is the concept of integrating all data about a player across every channel, so that the casino can get a truly 360 degree view of player interactions of what happens on the casino floor, on a sports-betting or iGaming platform, at the hotel, at the restaurants, and more. This creates a trove of useful data for the gaming company that can deliver a far more personalized (and profitable) experience to the player.
Here’s why omnichannel has gone from nice-to-have approach to being a critical pillar of pretty much every operator’s strategy.
The consumer experience. In 2023, players don’t see convenience, flexibility and access to their favorite games across different platforms as cool extras — these are table stakes. Customers expect to be able to access their games not just at a land-based casino but also through a desktop, smartphone or tablet. Front-end omnichannel ensures users can play a game on one device or in a casino and then seamlessly continue their experience on another device. And it’s not just games. Patrons expect to be able to reserve a table at the restaurant using their phones, potentially pay for their meal or their room with their points, ask their host a question from any device, extend their stay from their app, and more.
Protection against fraud and money-laundering. Sadly, the gaming industry is no stranger to fraud and money laundering schemes. By merging user accounts and giving companies and government regulators more comprehensive, accurate data on player behavior, gaming companies’ security become stronger, and it becomes easier to monitor for suspicious transaction patterns,like multiple accounts being used by the same individual. It’s a proactive approach to combating fraud, protecting customers, and avoiding compliance fines. The result is that both consumers and governments will have more trust in the casino, enhancing its reputation and attracting more patrons.
Responsible gaming. Whether online or land-based, gaming companies and casinos know better than anyone that working with governments to promote responsible gaming is better for everyone. Omnichannel means companies don’t have to stop at the border of each platform in trying to observe problem gaming behavior from customers. With omnichannel, guests can set time or spending limits on their gaming — regardless of whether it’s on a website, mobile app or land-based establishment. Gaming companies get more and more accurate data to identify at-risk customers, and can flag when it’s time to cut them off. And it can even send at-risk customers to online gambling-addiction resources. Players get to play in a safer and more controlled gaming environment, with their fiscal, emotional and mental well-being a priority no matter where that gaming actually happens.
Improved data collection. In the 21st century, all businesses — not just gaming companies — run on data. By adopting an omnichannel strategy, companies get that valuable data from almost every possible touchpoint. Consolidating user data into a central system provides a deeper, more holistic view of customers’ preferences and engagement patterns. This, in turn, means patrons get more personalized experiences and your company gets more return on its investment, from individualized marketing campaigns to more tailored gaming experiences. The end results include increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, data-driven decision making, optimized game offerings and higher player engagement and revenue.
Omnichannel isn’t just about making life more convenient for users. It’s about making all aspects of the gaming experience more secure, more responsible and more data-driven on both the front and back end. It’s an investment that is already driving the long-term success of the companies that are adopting it.
This is an English version of a story that was first published in Revista Casino in Spanish.