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Tips Four key questions to answer if you’re considering ticket lotteries.

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Jul 8, 2020

When a handful of ski resorts reopened for a brief end-of-season hurrah, lotteries were something that quickly became a thing in the ski industry. Why? There are a few reasons. Lotteries are a simple way to soften the burden on your ecommerce store. They also make things more fair for folks with different work schedules or internet connections.

As we’ve helped clients work through their own lottery needs and built various solutions, we’ve found a few key questions you need to answer if lotteries are on the table.

Are you creating a data silo?

Before you reach for a form-specific platform like Formstack, Google Docs, or TypeForm, look at your Email Service Provider (ESP) first. Your marketing database should already be integrated with your ESP and the forms your email platform provides are designed to handle just about any volume of traffic you can throw at them.

In other words, you need a form for your lottery but start with forms within systems you’re already integrated with. Only create a data silo with a new tool as a last resort.

What do I need to send winners…or losers?

First, ensure that messages to winners spell out everything they need to go from their inbox (for email notifications) or messages app (for SMS notifications) all the way through to purchasing their tickets online. Otherwise, you risk overwhelming your call center with questions. Second, find a clear, positive message you can send to those who don’t win. Do they get a consolation prize? An increased change the next time?

This makes the first question even more important. Using your ESP’s forms to run the lottery will make it much easier for your team to ensure communications are sent, and received, by your customers.

Is this one time or recurring?

Perhaps most importantly, decide whether this a one time or recurring lottery. If it’s one-time, you can get away with a little bit of manual work in the solution you adopt. If it’s recurring? You’ve really gotta automate as much as possible – ideally everything – so you don’t have someone on your team spending hours every day loading/uploading/syncing data.

There is a happy medium where a lottery is only done every month or perhaps every week, but try to be extra thoughtful about the workload you’re committing to if you’re planning recurring lotteries.

What limits do I need to impose on winners?

While the lottery can help buffer traffic and add equity to the group that arrives at your store, you need to ensure you can limit purchases to keep tickets sold within your on-hill capacity while still guaranteeing that all winners can purchase something.

After all, if you have 500 tickets available but they’re gone by the time half your “winners” get to the store, you’re asking for trouble. Same goes for a family of 4 who can only buy 3 tickets. Setting up promo codes or purchase limits for winners is something you’ll need to have an answer for.

Let’s talk

If you’re considering a lottery for the upcoming season, we’d love to dig into that with you. We’ve spent a lot of time designing solutions based on the dozens of different scenarios that may play out. At the least, we could point you in the right direction. Just use this form to let us know what you’re hoping to accomplish.

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