Exclusive Q&A with Hampus Eriksson, Chief Product Officer/PressEnter Group
Operators understand the need to offer more than just a wide selection of slots and generous bonuses in order to deliver a player experience that blows their rivals out of the water. But what are players really looking for, and what are operators doing to ensure they not only meet but exceed these expectations?
Hampus Eriksson, Chief Product Officer at PressEnter Group, says that ultimately it is about putting the player first and that is exactly what the operator is doing to drive brand awareness and strengthen loyalty and retention across its portfolio of brands. But just how far beyond gambling do casinos need to go and are players still ultimately motivated by the slots and table games stocked in the casino lobby?
We put this question – and more – to Eriksson below:
To deliver the best player experience, is it right to say that casinos must now go beyond just gambling in the proposition they offer? Why?
While I don’t fully agree with that statement, there is certainly a growing demographic and type of player that is looking for additional entertainment elements in their online gameplay. This includes enjoying “on top of content” gamification features or seeking more social elements embedded into the overall experience. However, a large group of players still play for the entertainment and thrill that core products such as slots, table games and live dealer already provide.
What areas of the casino does this impact – bonusing, payments, loyalty? Can you give examples of how?
It comes down to getting the basics right. We know that our players are looking for entertainment and we know we have the games they enjoy. Our core focus has always been people/players first, from our corporate culture to our consumer brands. So we focus on simplifying the player experience and journey we provide. This means a simple registration process, seamless cashier experience and relevant bonusing where appropriate. The core product is always central and we want our players to never be more than one click away from that regardless of where they are on our sites and applications. This player-first approach is what separates us from our competitors.
What is PressEnter doing to provide this experience to its players? What challenges have you faced and how have they been overcome?
We all experience world-leading digital products and smart solutions everyday, be they within the gambling space or outside of it in our day-to-day lives. We take these learnings from outside of our industry and try to implement them within our products to simplify and improve the experience for our users.
In regards to “on top of content” experiences, the major challenge for many is that they end up over-engineering these solutions and the product becomes unnecessarily complicated. Instead, we introduce elements that the team have enjoyed during internal testing so they are proven to some extent.
Our very popular “Ultra Charge” feature at UltraCasino – which awards personalised bonuses each day – or our “Most Wanted Challenge” at RapidCasino are both good examples of very straight forward and easy to understand features that add that little extra element of competition or challenge for our users.
What are the upsides to offering a casino experience that goes beyond gambling? Does it lead to higher levels of engagement/loyalty? Why?
We absolutely see higher levels of engagement. However, whilst many players actively seek these added elements to their entertainment, there are just as many who simply appreciate it as an added value to their gambling session. Moreover, it comes down to the fact that an overall positive experience translates into loyalty. We have found that offering simple-to-understand bonus elements boosts the great engagement and loyalty we already see from our players.
How do you make sure you understand your customer and what they are looking for in an online casino experience?
At PressEnter we have a great deal of experience and knowledge within the organisation, and this makes it easy for us to relate to our users. We don’t need to over-complicate and wait for too many A, B and C tests to come back with enough data to tell us what we already know. We know what we like ourselves and we are not afraid to try things out. If it gets good traction with our users, we continue to invest and further develop that feature. If not, we trash it and try something else that we think our players will enjoy.
How do you see customer expectations changing over the coming months and years? Will gambling become secondary to other aspects of playing online casino?
The spectrum of player preferences is constantly widening and for some segments, this takes quite a deep dive in terms of expectations. Casinos that choose to specialise in these new, speciality preferences will probably attract the majority of users from that specific group of players to their sites. However, looking at the core and majority of users, I think the added and surrounding elements – be it gamification or social gaming aspects – will remain complementary and the gambling element will continue to be the core entertainment experience for most.