Does 'Gamification' Work As An Innovative Retail Solution?

Couple shopping online using laptop

One of the latest innovative retail solutions gaining traction is “gamification,” an integration of gaming mechanics — such as encouraging play, competition or earning rewards — to engage customers online.

An article on the Forbes website highlights the trend. Gaming techniques have been used in education or training as a way to encourage and motivate. Now retailers are using gamification techniques as a way to stand out among their competitors.

Gamification can be a good way for retailers to educate customers, build loyalty and boost sales. For example, retailers could include on receipts an offer to play a game at their website. The game could highlight the advantages of being a loyalty program member, current deals at the store, new product offerings and more. In that sense, it’s educational — the customer is learning more about the store.

At the same time, the game should entice the customer to return to the store by offering a coupon, for instance. The game also serves as a test of how viable a retailer’s online channel is; in other words, can they attract customers to their website? Does gamification correlate with an increase in sales? It’s important to measure the results of such games to see if they’re having any impact on customer loyalty or the overall business.

The article cites several examples of gamification, including allowing customers to check into a retail site from Foursquare, “like” a new product on a Facebook page or post a photo of their new purchase on Instagram. The more gaming interaction a retailer can create, the more time customers will spend on the website or social media page.

A recent survey conducted by Gigya, a gaming platform, found that gamification on websites increases user engagement by one-third, visitor comments by 13 percent, sharing on social networks by 22 percent and discovery of content by 68 percent.

Here’s the bottom line: In a digital-centric world, it’s vital to offer customers more than they expect, and innovative retail solutions such as gamification can give your business a winning edge.

Source: Forbes, September 2013