Bonuses have played a huge role in how online betting firms engage with customers, but for one observer operators should look to enhance the payments experience instead.
Writing for CasinoBeats, Martyn Hannah, Founder and Managing Director of Comparasino, noted that many operators have reduced the extent of their bonus promotion activity.
This has served several purposes – such as bonus abuse, high player churn and squeezed margins – but Hannah noted that it is having the added effect of impacting player acquisition.
To compensate, operators need to look at how the payments journey can be improved. Hannah explained: “By shifting focus away from bonuses and to payments, operators will be able to acquire customers of a much higher quality.
“Sure, the search volume for PayPal casinos is much lower than free spins no deposit bonuses, but the quality of the player coming through for the former is much better than the latter.
“What’s more, in a market where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out through bonuses alone, payments can be a serious differentiator.”
Hannah has five main recommendations around payments processing and customer engagement for casino operators, based on Comparasino searches.
Firstly, firms should add more payment options such as mobile and digital wallets, and ensure a seamless and smooth payments journey.
In the case of the latter, this includes explaining cases of friction to players, such as if document verification is required. This may be of particular importance for UK-based online casino operators given the context of regulatory change in the country.
The Gambling Act review, overhauling the nation’s gambling regulations, contains ‘finance risk checks’ as one of its key measures, and concerns have been raised about the potential impact on the customer journey.
In addition, operators need to ‘speed up payouts’, which will allow greater player acquisition as well as retention of those already engaged with a brand. Finally, if possible, operators should’ provide better protection for player funds’.
In Hannah’s view, players being charged to make deposits and withdrawals as an ‘unacceptable’ policy for an online casino to adopt, whilst security of player funds is also an area ‘where customers are let down’.
“These are all things that players consider when deciding if to sign up for an online casino or not,” he remarked.
“Few brands have really nailed the payment experience offered to players, but with a few small tweaks they will be able to offer a seamless deposit/withdrawal process and, as a result, improve acquisition and retention.”