Public Gaming International Magazine May June 2023

33 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2023 If “Retail is Detail,” as the saying goes, then an important detail for success must be engaging retailers themselves. This was the focus of an e ective program that introduced New Jersey Lottery retailers to an interactive web-based portal to manage and grow their lottery business. In a coordinated e ort led by operator Northstar New Jersey, lottery sales reps communicated the benefits of the new tool to retailers and encouraged them to take advantage of it. As a result, one-third of the state’s retailers were signed up in the first year, with more continuing to onboard today. The approach and success of this retailer engagement program o er useful ideas for other lotteries to consider. FORWARDTHINKING The roots of the initiative go back to the time before most of the world had ever heard of COVID-19. The Northstar New Jersey team had been discussing the future role of the lottery sales representative (LSR). “Our LSRs are highly e ective at what they do, and we were proactively looking at how their role could evolve to support continued success,” explained JohnHodor, Vice President of Sales Northstar New Jersey. “It’s common for a retailer to see their LSR for 20 to 30 minutes every couple of weeks. And right after the lottery rep leaves, maybe a snack-food rep comes in to talk with the retailer, then a succession of other product reps. By the end of the day, what happened to that lottery conversation? We knew that both reps and retailers would benefit if retailers had an immediate touchpoint to access detailed lottery sales data, promotions, and other related information whenever they need it.” The discussion proved timely, as it soon became imperative for lottery sales reps to work with retailers remotely. During the pandemic, New Jersey’s LSRs quickly found remote and virtual means to support their territories, as well as promoting sales through vending, as the state had recently completed an equipment refresh, installing new IGT GameTouch™ 28 and GameTouch™ Draw self-service terminals. Beginning in late 2021, retailers were also presented with the option to upgrade from the existingNew Jersey retailer website to IGT’s RetailerWizard tool. Retailers can log into this interactive and easy-to-navigate portal right from their mobile phone, tablet, or laptop to get the latest sales and marketing information. The portal includes sales reports, electronic-funds transfer details, instant ticket orders, details about when packs are activated and settled, monthly retailer newsletters, winner awareness information, and more. “Retailer Wizard o ers all kinds of content that retailers couldn’t access previously,” said Hodor. “Our sales reps visit roughly 100 retailers each on a regular basis – that’s a lot to manage when you’re trying to grow the business and build sales. Now, retailers have sales and inventory data at their fingertips. What’s more, sales management can upload important and useful information for all of their accounts. This really benefits retailers and levels the playing field for reps by giving retailers the ability to manage their business through virtually any connected device.” Previously, retailers would need to contact their sales rep for information or could retrieve only limited data from the terminal at the store. THOUSANDS AND COUNTING Corporate chain retailers were given first access to Retailer Wizard, as the portal not only provides reports for accounting but gives local store managers insight on broader sales performance, trends, and other data that could be used to generate lottery interest and engagement. “The New Jersey Lottery sales team works with IGT to review the retailers’ feedback and suggest enhancements to the tool,” said Danielle Davis, IGT Director Product Management, Retailer Management & John Hodor, Vice President of Sales, Northstar New Jersey IGT’s Retailer Wizard interactive website provides retailers in more than 15 jurisdictions with an additional touchpoint between visits to obtain pertinent information they use every day.