There is a term that you should get quite familiar with in the gaming and entertainment spaces: omni-commerce. It’s a buzzword that has taken the payments world by storm and is inevitably starting to make its round in every corner of business.

Amid varying definitions, the idea at the heart of omni-commerce is ensuring a seamless and effective consumer transaction across multiple experiences, whether online, via mobile or in a brick-and-mortar establishment.

For example, many casinos offer far more than just on-property gaming. Casino operators in some states now offer online gambling like poker and slot play, either free-to-play or pay-to-play depending on the jurisdictions in which they operate. Traditional casinos can also include spas, retail, restaurants, self-service ticketing kiosks and golf within its confines.

Payment solutions today should allow operators to offer payment options that meet the needs of customers and provide efficiencies to operations.  These options should be secure, easy-to-use and available whether they are in-house at a counter, at a kiosk, online or using a mobile device.

Transactions—in gaming and entertainment—now extend well beyond the traditional point-of-sale (POS) system or credit card terminal to include mobile payment collection systems, kiosks and retail sales operations, where necessary.

With the help of omni-commerce payment solutions, gaming and entertainment companies are addressing the needs of their visitors and players in ways they could not before. And regardless of how a business is set up, there are omni-commerce possibilities and solutions waiting.

CUSTOMIZING THE CONCEPT

Omni-commerce can mean something slightly different to anyone you ask in the gaming and entertainment spaces. The commonly asked question associated with omni-commerce is: How do you seamlessly enable commerce to happen for a patron no matter how they choose to do business?

The end goal is to always ensure the same experience when a customer is face-to-face, online or using their mobile device. An omni-commerce payment solution approach should enable this desired experience while also providing operators the added benefit of less cash handling, better accounting reports and generating payments data analytics, so they can see the behaviors and trends of consumers.

Data science has evolved incredibly in recent years and is becoming more powerful for both brick-and-mortar and digital gaming businesses. Data is bringing enhanced insight to the omni-commerce approach, allowing businesses to build pinpoint-accurate customer profiles that can be used for customized marketing and outreach efforts. While similar to how casinos utilize data for player reward programs, data science helps establishments extend this same understanding to customers outside the boundaries of the reward program and to consumers in the market at-large.

Technology now exists to help link brick-and-mortar purchases to consumer behaviors online. This empowers clients to recognize their best customers across multiple channels, facilitate a consistent brand experience regardless of how their customers interact with them and improve digital marketing ROI.

The most tangible example of an omni-commerce approach is from companies tying their land-based rewards programs to digital and social gaming sites. They can utilize player-tracking and pre-paid/cashless programs in conjunction with social gaming applications on their computers/phones/tablets. All of these interactions come back to the rewards program, which provides operators with invaluable insight and enables better marketing communications with patrons.

SECURITY A PRIORITY

Security is first on everyone’s mind—whether it’s the consumer or operator. Sometimes operators aren’t sure how to tackle the security problem, though they have the best intentions in mind.

A payment card can be tokenized so that it can be securely used across channels. This is called an omni-token. That token is only good for a specific gaming operator and only for a specific card number. So any time or any subsequent transaction that specific card for is used, the same token processes the transaction. From a security perspective, the consumer using this product is helping reduce the amount of places where that primary account number hits and lives on a system. The token is also an arbitrary value that can be used for tracking and analytics on the back end.

Token technology helps reduce risk, aids with the scope of PCI compliance and also ties back to the analytics, which really is at the heart of the omni-commerce experience. Security sounds singular in terms of topic, but it actually expands to all aspects of clients’ unique businesses. Point-to-point encryption, tokenization as well as future proofing offerings to support EMV cards are critical in 2016 and beyond.

SOCIAL & DIGITAL IMPACT

It’s an exciting time in the gaming and entertainment industries, especially given the rise of social and digital gaming. These games have grown exponentially in popularity in recent years with the global digital games segment generating $74.2 billion in revenue last year alone, according to SuperData.

They are reaching and captivating
several audiences simultaneously, including the next generation of gamers. In the digital space, there is a demand for instant gratification and a propensity to use an
on-file stored credit, debit or prepaid
card to fund play, so it’s important that payments be more unified than ever before.

The rapid evolution of the gaming and entertainment industries, as well as the rise of social/digital gaming, renders omni-commerce increasingly important. Gamers today expect a payment experience that is both seamlessly integrated into gameplay and simple to execute. So seamless, in fact, that the player doesn’t have to think twice about how or when their purchase occurred. No one wants to see a player leave their game because the payment experience was clunky or slow.

It has never been more vital to discuss the correlation of all of your business’ moving parts. Treating the industry holistically and creating multiple points of interaction ensures a seamless and effective player transaction across multiple experiences.