What Can Your Business Learn From Casinos?

Lee Schwartz  |  February 18, 2011

Most businesses spend enough time thinking about the products they offer. Casinos are at the forefront at thinking first about their customers—their habits, their experience, and what will bring them back. What can you learn from them?

1. Traffic Flow. Casinos are laid out according to tried-and-true methods that ensure players are always near the most-profitable games—the slots. This is why you’ll frequently find the Roulette Table or Craps Table in the center of the casino, and why it might be harder to find the poker tables. While every casino’s layout is different, the way that traffic flows throughout the building has been carefully planned in every location. (Grocery stores and convenience stores and Wal-Mart are also masters at this.)

2. Reward Good Behavior. Casinos practically invented the practice of rewarding customers for making the types of purchases and playing the games that make the casino most-profitable. Knowing what incentives will make people spend more and knowing what you can afford to give back to your customers should be a carefully-thought-out strategy, not to be taken lightly. Customer-loyalty is important to every business, regardless of size.

3. Impulsive Decisions Are Good. Whether you’re selling diamonds, cars, or slot machine play, appealing to the emotional, impulsive side of your customers will always result in getting them to spend more money. There are many reasons why people make impulsive decisions: nostalgia, pride, the need to be “cool” or “seen”, wanting to (later) tell their friends about the experience, and yes—even intoxication. There is good reasoning behind why you often see casinos offer premium concerts, shopping, dining, lounges, and hotel accomodations—the good feeling they provide leads to happier players who are in the mood to splurge.

4. The Experience Is As Important As The Product. Casino players play to win, but they know they won’t win every time. When they don’t, they still expect an experience that is rewarding in itself. In other words, if they lost 200 it’s more palatable if they lost it over 3-4 hours, and if they were treated well while they lost it. Not every cup of coffee I’ve had at Starbucks has made me swoon, but the experience and atmosphere there is almost always good. Not every book I’ve ever read at Barnes & Noble has been memorable, but for some reason I feel smarter just walking in there? You should always be able to guarantee a valuable customer experience, no matter what the product is that you sell.

Posted in: Business, Customer Experience