E-Sports Betting company shares strategies to thrive in the current COVID-19 pandemic
In this week’s podcast Milan (Head of Growth) and Dom (Strategy Director) from the EBO team spoke to special guest Quentin Martin, CEO of Luckbox, about the challenges being posed by COVID-19 and the next step for the industry as a whole.
Luckbox.com is an esports betting platform based in the Isle of Man. The startup is just 2 years old but has done incredibly well, covering almost all esports. They are a young business serving a young audience, putting the customer experience first, innovating regularly and reaping the rewards.
- Serving a younger audience
- Being one of the only technology-first iGaming companies
- Why we’re still not seeing real innovations
- The real block to AI
The hardest job in gaming?
Luckbox is uniquely placed. Their particular niche, esports, is a part of the market that really is different. The audience – anyone under 35 – are notoriously demanding with high standards and low loyalty to brands. As a result, a business serving them needs to be fast-paced and move continuously in order to stay ahead of the next trend. So as an iGaming company, Luckbox has it doubly hard. They are taking on not only the pressures of regulation and licensing but also the added challenge of working with the toughest customer base in the world.
The impact of COVID-19 on the company
Luckbox is a great example of the robustness of technology-first companies. When it came to the pandemic, little needed to change. They are used to working remotely, working across borders, and offer flexible working to staff as standard. Moving the customer service team to home offices was a smooth transition when they closed their offices 2 weeks prior to official lockdown.
The business side has taken off. For all the obvious reasons, Esports is doing better than ever right now. Everyone who’s 35 and under is a gamer of some kind* and playing more and more in this lockdown world.
*18 – 25-year-olds watch more computer games than they do traditional sports’ even before COVID 19
Being truly digital – an anomaly in gaming
Luckbox has found that to thrive in this business means being tuned into the changing customer needs and wants, with the technological set up that makes that easy and cost-effective. This is a company that really puts tech first. This industry is not known for operating digitally with its reliance on physical shops and human-heavy customer service operations. Dom, who is on a mission to fully investigate the gaming sector, points out how refreshingly out of place Luckbox’s approach is. Quentin puts it down to both their age as a company and their audience. Esports is uniquely placed in that the market is entirely young people. The company, therefore, cannot fear change but have to meet it every day. Every trend in device usage, media format and interface styling needs to be met with an open mind and innovation. While other companies tend to battle these changes, Luckbox can’t and don’t: they are operating at ‘the cutting edge of the gaming industry’. They look at process changes and customer experience optimisation as a part of business as usual.
A lesson for the other players in the industry?
COVID-19 hopefully shows us that on many levels, digital isn’t just ok, it’s better. But we’re also finding that things need to change in order to take full advantage of digital – from decent internet access to school’s ability to receive homework online. Quentin refers to the opportunity here for traditional gaming companies that are operating online but are yet to digitalise: ‘to look at the silver lining this will force the digitalisation of a bunch of processes that were fighting to resist..’
Technological shifts, predictions
- Humans vs computers.
The unavoidable costs of being in this industry are always rising, so something has to give. We have to choose. Technology means we can offer the same services just delivered in a different way. ‘I’m under no illusions that computers will be better than humans’, Luckbox are working with both – freud, marketing, segmentation ‘these are all things that computers can do better’.
- Culture: changing our thinking
It’s clear that the culture at Luckbox is key to its success. Technological revolutions are only possible with an attitude that allow them. The optimisation of processes, such as digitising customer support, must feel like a normal part of the business. ‘Embrace tech as part of your DNA’.
- Sophisticated customer experience: the new marketing
The strategies that technology allows for – such as micro-segmentation, personalisation and price-point optimisation mean that customer experience and marketing get closer and closer. As Dom puts it ‘great customer experience is the cheapest marketing in the world’.
What does Quentin think is stopping the industry when it comes to innovation?
The term ‘AI’ alone seems to induce fear – ‘many companies aren’t interested in optimising but surviving’. Paradoxically, many are saying they wished they’d automated customer support 6 months ago.
AI, and all technological revolutions, come through into an industry from younger startups challenging the traditional big players. In the case of gaming, it’s almost impossible to enter as a new player. The tech changes, therefore, need to come through as a b2b offering, and the likes of EBO.
And finally, what should iGaming CEOs be prioritising?
‘Shift away from the product and on to the user and what need of theirs you’re satisfying’. Get that right by putting in the technology that allows you to adapt to needs, and any change in the market, pandemics included, will present less of a challenge.
Our iGaming video series looks to bring in some of the sector’s biggest influencers to discuss challenges, trends and innovations in the sector. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss out.
Published April 2020
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