What’s the small idea? Getting the app details right

What’s the small idea? Getting the app details right

Monday, December 19, 2016
Competing for consumer attention is tough

Gambling might be the business equivalent of persona non grata when it comes to the Apple app store but gambling apps still sit on the same iPhone and iPad hardware and, moreover, they will likely take their place on a user’s home-screen cheek-by-jowl with the giants of the world’s digital economy. This proximity brings with it a heightened level of competition.

“We’re operating in an ecommerce world where we are not just competing with William Hill or Paddy Power, but also with Uber and JustEat,” Andy Wright, head of trading at Sky Betting & Gaming tells TotallyGaming.com. “The consumer is very discriminating.”

The benchmark is set by some very serious competition. The bar of customer expectation for how an app should work – any app – is set by Facebook, Twitter and Uber and as such the hurdle for consumer satisfaction is set very high, regardless of sector.

 “Customers are - quite rightly - intolerant of experiences that don’t quite work, or are clunky, or are badly put together and will vote with their feet,” says Will Mace, head of strategic development at Kindred Futures. “There is little excuse for having a bad UI - it is a bit like saying you don't care that much about your customers; you don’t care that much about the experience they are having.”

Getting this right isn’t a trivial matter. It’s about re-working the user experience and putting the pieces in place to make their user journey as seamless as possible. Often this isn’t about the giant leaps, but rather the process is best described as being about small steps.

“What you are looking for is smaller, incremental improvements that can help the user,” says Andrew Daniels, managing director at web and mobile app developer Degree 53. “It’s the subtle things.”

It’s all about ensuring the customer acquisition process from the customer point of view is smooth and seamless, with every step designed to ease the pathway to sign up and deposit. “You look at the small things,” Daniels tells TotallyGaming.com. “On the registration form, for instance, you look at every piece of text and every click. When you have a form like that you have a lot of steps because you need to verify people.”

Gambling companies are at somewhat of a disadvantage compared with other sectors due to the hoops that operators need their prospective customers to jump through in terms of age and identity verification. It adds extra layers of complication, particularly given that consumers are now used to single-click registrations with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. But as Daniels points out, there are still solvable issues that can be relatively simple fixes. “One of the things that are a real conversion killer are drop down boxes,” he points out. “If you are typing on a keyboard, it would be five times quicker to type it.”

At Sky Betting & Gaming, Wright points out that sometimes making what would appear to be negligible changes can have an outsized effect on the user experience and ultimately the bottom line. “Imagine if you could reduce the amount of clicks to get through to a bet from three to two,” he says. “That would be a huge improvement. We are constantly looking at tweaking things.”

For the betting industry, this type of customer-first thinking doesn’t come naturally but Wright points out the landscape has changed and that an attitude of giving the customer what they want, when they want it now predominates. “This business is now about alleviating the customer pain points. The market is so competitive and it is so easy for consumers to switch to other providers.”

Mace at Kindred Futures agrees. “Given the competitiveness of the industry any even remotely broken or sub-optimal customer journey is going to directly impact usage and retention rates,” he suggests.

He points out that every stage of a customer journey will influence the overall perception of the brand and that a bad experience, no matter whether it is just a small part of peripheral to the primary gaming experience, will colour the customer view of the entire journey.

Mistakes can be costly, and in more ways than one. Testing is vital, seeing what works, finding the glitches and ironing them out before a product goes live. Recovering from a mistake while in the wireframe process can be easy and cheap to fix – less so once the product as gone live, when any mistake will be magnified by a potential loss of market share. “In such a competitive and mature industry, you can’t afford to make mistakes,” says Daniels from Degree 53.

Totally Gaming says: The competitive environment isn’t destined to get any easier. As the recent news from Sky Betting & Gaming on the launch of its Cash Out Boost product shows, innovations are coming along thick and fast as the fight for market share gets even more cutthroat. Getting the product right is a high-stakes game even, as the history of Apple attests, the invention of the new is reached only by degrees.

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