Retailers have been using customer loyalty programs to get repeat customers for decades. Today’s innovative retailers are combining unique elements of loyalty programs, games. and social connectivity to custome loyalty to the next level. This marketing tactics is known as gamification, and was first seen in Farmville and Foursquare.
How does it work? Traditional games are powered by core elements: desire, incentive, challenge, reward, and mastery. These game mechanics are the groundwork of gamification. Similar to playing a game, shoppers are wired for achievement and success while shopping. Tokens, points, rewards, personalized shopping deals, and loyalty programs are all pieces of gamification that speak to the interest of shoppers while adding mutual value between brands and consumers. Gamification provides engagement, achievement of status, and exclusive (often times personalized) rewards for the most loyal customers.
Token, points, rewards, and other gamification achievements come in symbolic and physical forms. For retails, tangible goods are going to be far more successful than virtual rewards. Gamification elements that entice the customers to buy via exclusive discounts, sales, etc. work best. I personally prefer credits for referring friends, and spending a certain threshold at the store as well as elite badges to put on my blog. Gamilication achievements thrive on the virality of their design (and people’s interest in being socially connected). Customers love sharing details about great deals and reward perks they’ve earned with their friends. They also like to encourage more people to buy a brand or product if it adds additional benefits to their game profile!
Since retail gamification is still in it’s infancy, many retailers are getting it wrong. As you work to develop the strategy that is right for your business, keep in mind that every gamification element needs to be built with the intention to get shoppers closer to making a purchase. If your application will not get current customers and new customers to purchase you are missing the mark. If implemented correctly, gamification will get you a higher ROI on your marketing spend. Good luck, and may the best gamer win!!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, thanks for reading it. I welcome your comments and questions below.