By Cameron Waldie, President of Carmanah Signs, and Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE, the parent company of Carmanah Signs Let’s face it, consumers don’t venture out into the retail environment like they used to. They are changing how they shop, creating new patterns that impact Retailers, Brands and Lotteries. Millennials are contributing to this battle raging within retail: the battle between brick-and-mortar and .com to win the consumer. Brands such as Lotteries can’t reach the mass market with media such as television as efficiently as they once could. Instead, engaging consumers within the retail environment, at the point-of-influence, is becoming essential. Advanced technology is playing into the customer’s decision-making process, and those most influenced by technology are Millennials. In 2015, Millennials will spend $2.45 trillion. By 2018, Millennials will eclipse baby boomers in their spending power. The time to prepare for this new generation of smartphone users being the dominant buyer has arrived. The fuse is lit. What can Lotteries do to really engage consumers in-store? Here is a three-step plan to leverage technology and be a successful Brand in the new retail world. First, stand out and be cool. A Brand should become more impactful to the Millennial who is saying, “I am the one spending money and you need to impress me”. Accordingly, retailers are adding digital technology to create brand experiences that generate repeat visits. For example, Stratacache/Carmanah’s digital full video menu boards for Convenience Stores and Quick Serve Retail (seen in the image above) provide compelling images and information that attract customers and help keep them coming back. The images, videos and pricing can be scheduled remotely, with the capability of micro-targeting specific imagery to individual stores and the flexibility to push content based on time of day. Lotteries can optimize their existing digital sign networks and/or install new digital sign networks in their retail channels. Second, mobile apps and mobile web connections with the consumer are essential. Everyone is vying for landscape on the consumer’s mobile screen. If a Lottery doesn’t have a voice on a consumer’s mobile device, then which indirect or direct competitor will? Lotteries can both add value to their mobile app experience and engage players at retail by implementing iBeacon or BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology. An iBeacon installed at retail allows a Lottery to know when a player is at a specific Lottery retail location, enabling a tailored message to be sent to their mobile device. Products such as Carmanah’s iBeacon EnaBLE™ Jackpot signs allow Lottery marketers to collect visit data and, more importantly, send custom messages to mobile players, enhancing the player’s retail experience and increasing the perceived value of the Lottery’s app to consumers who have not yet downloaded it. Third, consider installing interactive technologies in the retail environment. Consumers want to enjoy shopping in stores and will become loyal if they do. Interactive technologies such as touch or gestural screens create more opportunities to interact with consumers. Since data can be analyzed from every consumer interaction, the user experience can be continuously improved, allowing for a higher customer satisfaction over time. Examples from the Stratacache/Carmanah product line of interactive technologies are touch screens embedded in play stations and touch screen entertainment modules. Thoughtful use of retail technology is the key. Consumers lead busy lives and are demanding more from their shopping experience. Changes in technology and shopping patterns mean that all Brands, including Lotteries, should increase their investment in the retail environment. The Brands that do the best job at of using retail technology to attract and engage consumers will be the most likely to grow their sales in the years to come. STRATACACHE is a global provider of digital shopper marketing, retail conversion & mobile activation strategies. With 1.3 million active devices in retail environments, STRATACACHE helps influence and convert consumers every day. Carmanah Signs is STRATACACHE’s Gaming Division.