racing Retail Display

Transitioning a product, a change-averse audience and an understandably demanding client base away from a successful pure-play print product to a dynamic, up-to-the-minute, interactive digital product. This project built around getting to know the customers and Racing Post’s role in their betting routine in retail, brick-and-mortar bookmaker shops – an exercise in evolution vs revolution as the digital products slowly replaced the print and learning the audience’s tolerance for the new.

THE CONTEXT & OBJECTIVES

This project was all about bringing one of Racing Post’s most profitable (paper) products into the digital realm. The Betting Shop Display was a paper product used by bookmakers to display all of the information about horseracing in UK and Ireland for the day. It was used by punters to assess which horses were running, their record and stats, predictions and tips about which might with the race and the betting forecast for each race put together the night before. By making this product digital, we could offer more up to date information for betters at onsite bookmaker shops, as well as add in more detailed information as our databases grew, more contextualised education and more dynamic data visualisation.

Some of the issues with the paper version included:

  • The information being 12 – 24 hours old by the time the punters were viewing it (the realities of print schedules).
  • Required bookmaker shop staff to manually hang up many broadsheet pages daily.
  • The paper could get smudged, torn or written on by punters through the day, making it difficult for others to use.
  • It couldn’t offer up-to-date info about individual races or track conditions. 
  • Customers had to check a different screen entirely to view the latest live odds the bookmaker was offering.
THE MAIN KPIs
  • Retain retail bookmaker customers during the transition from print to digital
  • Increase in-store turnover as a result of more up-to-the minute information and additional features not offered in the paper version
  • Increase upsell of digital units to current clients – transition most bookmaker shops to digital over 3-5 years
  • Reduce store staff daily management time of Racing Post bet shop products (compared to print versions)
  • Offer a marketedly better product – features and user experience, than their top competitor in the retail space

 

THE SET UP

  • My role: Director of Product Design and User Research
  • Company: Spotlight Sports Group, Racing Post brand
  • Media / Platform: Large interactive physical display
  • Main Team: 2 B2B product designers, 1 user researcher, 1 B2B product manager, development, 1 P&L owners, subject matter expertise, external clients including Entain (Ladbrokes / Coral)

THE PROCESS

How were they using the paper Bet Shop Display in the shop?

 Very few bookmaker clients had eyetracking or heatmapping technology set up in their shops, and the few that did were not keen to share information. So, in order to not go purely on assumptions, we sent out a user researcher out to shops in the UK and Ireland to do customer interecepts and video interviews with punters to get a handle on their horseracing betting process while in the shops. Which info was crucial, which info did they go to BSD specifically for, and what was the interplay with the Racing Post newspaper. This gave us a baseline to start the evolution. 

How do we get a digital product out that a change averse audience can use? Not instantly reject?

As we (Racing Post and the bookmaker partners) were so worried about losing customers on the first introduction of the digital screens (most racing customers skewed over 50 and were assumed to be change averse), we literally started off with a direct copy of the paper design to screen. This allowed us to do further user research on if / why the audience might reject the screen version and also give the designers ample time to evaluate which paper-centric elements did not lend well to digital (e.g. small condensed fonts, colour contrast issues, lack of affordance for interaction).

How do we evolve the interface to look and behave more like a dynamic, interactive product and still give the audience what they need?

From those early launches, we slowly evolved the design to look and interact more like a slick digital product, bring it inline with the new branding and visual direction for Racing Post digital products, and introduce more progressive disclosure for more niche / detailed elements to allow the main content to be easier to digest and to allow more room for new, valuable features like premier tips.

One of the first digital iterations, a straight transfer from the print product.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS AND FEATURES

  • Racing Post insights and proprietary information more up front (e.g. Racing Post Verdict, premium tips ), helping to showcase our specific content and expertise
  • A more interactive looking interface that showcased this product was a dynamic, changeable, powerful, informative betting tool, helping to cement Racing Post’s authority 
  • Up-to-the-minute racing information including weather and race course conditions, live odds, fast results and real time non-runner updates – all which can affect betting up to the race off
  • Accessibility basics: Nearly all fonts met a minimum size and a AA colour contrast setting – as Racing Post’s audience skews older than average, this was an essential a win

THE ORGANISATIONAL IMPACT

Research becoming an integral, respected, demanded part of the product evolution process: At the start, 

More understanding of our retail users: At the start, most stakeholders assumed users were just like them – just as knowledgeable of horse racing, with similar betting, data reviewing and news consumption habits. Through our pre-project user research and validation user testing sessions throughout the project, our stakeholders and subject matter experts gained a more broad, yet nuanced view of who used our products, when, how and why.

Broader collaboration between B2B and B2C Racing product lines: Once trust and understanding were established through the design sprints, the design and research team started to be the first port of call for other departments looking for different or more creative way to solve their day-to-day issues – from how to run workshops better, to consultations about how to encourage constructive challenging and giving actionable feedback.

RESULTS

  • Within 60 days of launching digital screens, turnover increased noticeably at bookmaker shops (most would not share hard numbers)
  • Uptake of digital screens with this product outpaced SSG’s original estimates year on year
  • The new UI has helped bring retail inline with their B2C user experiences and has allowed the flexibility to add more useful, dynamic, timely features to retail customers
  • This product and process provided much needed customer insight for retail, helping to inform strategy and new retail products for 2022 and 2023
  • Racing Post’s customer insights have helped strengthen their position with their retail clients as a racing and racing customer authority in the industry
  • The new display showcases the insight, data and tipping Racing Post is valued for by customers and the industry at large

Want more detail?

This is just the topline . I am happy to go into more relevant detail. Just contact me and let me know which areas you’d like to know more about.

Contact me

Let’s Work together

I am currently in a contract, but contact me for future contract or permanent work.

14 + 14 =

Location

London, UK

Copyright

2023. All rights reserved.