Revolutionising the commercial pub games market with innovative digital solutions
From start-up to B2C titan
Seizing opportunities and being open to new ideas enables a brand to disrupt and push forward.
It is an ethos that runs through the DNA of home gaming products retailer Home Leisure Direct (HLD). The brainchild of Andy Beresford, who has steered the firm from start-up to becoming the sector’s leading B2C retailer in a little over a decade.
We’ve been digital partners with them since their start-up days in 2008. And we’ve helped fuel their growth with products covering Inventory Management, eCommerce, Logistics and Business Analysis.
A high stakes game
Around two years ago, Andy and his team began to consider ways they could shake up the B2B commercial gaming products market. They chose to focus on commercial pool tables in pubs and clubs.
This was, from the outside, a market that appeared to be a ‘sewn-up’ space dominated by a small number of entrenched key players. It was also a sector that had lacked innovation.
The team began to look for a differentiator, something that would provide a foot-in-the-door and the opportunity to work on something revolutionary in the sector.
The eureka moment came during research with potential customers when the idea of accepting contactless payments in commercial premises on pool tables emerged.
HLD set the wheels in motion, patenting a new payment concept and producing an initial proof of concept to bring to market.
Providing the ‘glue’
Reception to the concept from pub and club chains was positive and discussions around how to implement the new technology were underway.
Alongside development of the physical product, we were brought on board to develop the digital products to ‘glue’ the various elements together.
We built software that took the data from the online merchant services provider and reconfigured it for client billing and reporting purposes.
We also acted as Digital Advisors, trusted to configure, analyse and solve data integrity issues.
Designing a data management system to drive results
Another major part of our involvement was the creation of custom contract management software, complete with comprehensive reporting suite.
This provides pub and club chains with a level of management information that simply isn’t available with coin-operated pool tables - such as best and worst performing venues and revenue by time of day.
The proof of concept has been a great success. A contactless pool table performs 125% better than a coin-operated one.
Ready to scale
The reporting and analysis delivered to the pub chains is already proving incredibly valuable and is helping maximise profit and usage on-site.
The availability of comprehensive management information is also proving a strong selling point for prospective new customers.
The technical infrastructure we have implemented on Microsoft Azure enables dynamic scaling and robust management tools that respond to changing requirements.
For the team at Home Leisure Direct, the new tables and complementary digital products have opened up a whole new revenue stream. They now have ambitious targets to scale-up substantially over the coming months.
Thinking outside with Andy Beresford
Co-Founder and CEO, Home Leisure Direct
What surprised you?
That bluebox were able to do everything we wanted, without exception, even suggesting improvements and additional features along the way. We’ve been able to take a traditional pub sport and revolutionise the way customers can pay and removed the issue of needing change in your pocket to play.
What was fun?
Getting it to actually work! It’s all very well having a cool idea, but you need the expertise to realise it. You can’t beat the eureka moment that what you envisaged is actually possible. Also exceeding our expectations and bluebox producing a system that our considerably larger competitors are still unable to match.
Darts! Interactive darts in pubs is going to be huge. We’ve secured the rights to the iconic TV show Bullseye and will be bringing an incredible interactive darts system to the market where players can play Bullseye in their local pub. It’s going to be amazing. Of course bluebox will pull together all the back-end reporting, performance data and billing for us, just like they did for pool.
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