An increased focus on a streamlined user experience and retail-grade prizes has led to a redemption boom, according to sales manager at Bandai Namco, Steve Short, and going forward signs look just as positive.
What products, or innovations is Bandai Namco bringing to the redemption market?
“BNAE has always innovated in this sector, because we could see the potential, for family amusement centres. We were the first to introduce electronic prizes, and we continue to develop our own range of redemption machines, as well as distributing the best third-party titles from across the globe. From the management solutions side of the business the exclusive agreement with Embed is an evolving project, which is constantly looking at ways and technology to further enhance both operator and customer experience.”
How important is the quality of prizes on offer?
“The quality of the prize is essential – it doesn’t matter if it is a 5p sweet or a piece of electronic equipment – the player perception is essential. We only offer top brands for confectionary and all of our plush is retail quality. The player must leave with a prize, which is worth winning, not something that breaks on the way home. The prize is the reminder of their trip to the arcade and it is essential that this is a good memory.“
In terms of ticketing solutions, where do you see the most important strides being made?
“Stock redemption systems bring the feel of high street retail to the FEC. Customers want to be dealt with as quickly as possible and a happy customer is a loyal one. The Red Pro system delivers a streamlined experience for the guest while the operator has the hard facts and figures at the push of a button allowing them to understand what their stocks are and identify what is hot or not.”
Redemption appears to be increasingly popular with consumers, why do you think this is?
“Players want to feel like they have had value for money whether they visit a bowling centre, FEC or a seaside arcade for the day. Redemption offers a fun element to what is fundamentally retail. The introduction of better games and prizes have seen revenues increase in redemption centres, which in turn has allowed operators greater confidence to invest in the overall experience.”
In terms of product advancement and innovations, where do you see the market going?
“Over the last few years, redemption in the UK has moved on a lot and the player experience is greatly improved. Operators are continuing to invest in their redemption offering and are understanding the necessity to treat this area of the arcade as a retail outlet, offering top quality prizes and managing their stock, while of course offering a quality mix of redemption games. I think we will continue to see redemption operation become more professional in terms of a seamless experience for the player, with the very latest licensed product for prizes.”