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TPN Insights

Evolution of Gamification in Retail

Gamification is all about leveraging gaming elements that appeal to people for marketing campaigns. With this method, marketers are able to drive high levels of engagement and specific actions. The idea has gained traction since 2010 and marketers have kept innovating with it to drive loyalty and bring customers through retailers’ doors.

The Appeal Of Gamification

The reason why Gamification is successful with audiences is rooted in psychology. Humans are wired to have an innate urge to be the best at an activity. We want recognition and rewards for having expertise and dedication. In turn, we like to participate because Gamification speaks to those wants. Below is what it offers that drives us to participate.*

  1. Desire – the strong feeling of wanting to have something
  2. Incentive – something that encourages an action
  3. Challenge – an invitation to a competition or contest
  4. Achievement – something done successfully by effort, courage, or skill
  5. Feedback – dialogue resulting from an action
  6. Mastery – control or superiority over something

Traditionally, Gamification was applied by giving customers incentives or achievements such as points, badges, discounts, and deals when they buy. The My Starbucks Rewards program is one example. For every purchase, Starbucks rewards the customer with digital stars on their profile.

If enough are collected, customers can get deals such as free drinks. Customers can even achieve a “gold” status that qualifies them for exclusive offers as well as bragging rights.

Examples such as this do well to speak to a buyer; but, there still are opportunities left open to leverage Gamified experiences throughout the whole customer journey.

How Gamification Has Evolved

From the start, marketers have used incentives and achievements to engage the buyer. However, this only scratched the surface of Gamification’s potential. As marketers continue to innovate, they are finding creative ways of using it to engage all the retail modes: consumer, shopper, buyer, and influencer. Today, Gamification is applied across TPN’s entire Modal Dialogue.

By giving them a challenge, consumers can find something they can become involved in. Whole Foods rolled out the “14-Day Blast Off” campaign on their website that called on consumers to improve their eating habits through the store. The campaign challenged consumers with a set of missions that focused on making healthy life choices such as eating better or getting exercise.

Throughout the course of 14 days, badges were released as consumers completed missions of healthy living. With this program, Whole Foods built brand credibility with health conscious consumers and continued to establish themselves as the place to go shop for a healthy lifestyle.

Giving shoppers an interaction to master invites them to discover your brand. Lloyds TSB launched an interactive digital sign that acted as a driving game to promote its Personal Current Account smart features. The “Sidecar Grand Prix” game has users race down a track and collect five icons in the fastest possible time. Each of those icons represents a smart feature the service provides. As shoppers play the game, they pay attention to messaging and gain an understanding of the service. And as shoppers learn about the service, they are more likely to become buyers.

The Evolution Of Gamification

Marketers can even find ways to engage the influencer by rewarding their contribution. Samsung Nation Gamified their social loyalty program by using brand ambassadors to contribute to Samsung.com. For on-site behaviour like reading articles, reviewing products, and submitting answers or questions to Q&A, Samsung recognizes users with badges, points, levels, and even trophies. As a result, influencers are motivated to help curate great content on Samsung.com that can then help shoppers make decisions when they visit the website.

The Future.

With new technologies coming out every day, the potential for Gamification will only grow. Marketers are already discussing how they can use augmented reality and iBeacons. And as new tech continues to open the door to new opportunities, Gamification will surely become the core of many customer loyalty and engagement programs.

*Sources: Retail Touch Points, Leading Retailers Use Gamification To Boost Customer Engagement And Loyalty, March 2012

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