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Playable Shopping: Using Gamification to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Playable Shopping Using Gamification to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Online shopping has had an impressive growth over the past few years. There are currently over 2 billion e-shoppers contributing to the ecommerce industry, estimated at $4.8 trillion in 2020. This huge purchasing power pushes marketers to constantly explore new opportunities to grab the e-shoppers attention. Thankfully, with the enhancements in digital technology there’s an infinite pool of opportunities to create and design online shopping sprees that are hard to resist. This is where e-commerce gamification comes in place.

Gamifying the way customers shop from you means using game-like techniques to motivate your audience towards a behavior your business targets and offer them rewards. This could be offering a discount code for downloading your app or completing a challenge for participating in an exclusive sale. Nonetheless, it’s a process of enhancing a service for the sake of creating additional value for your customers, fostering an on-going engagement and generating more sales.

In this article, we will share with you how to successfully implement gamification and how it can increase your ecommerce sales. We will take a look at the main elements of a compelling gamification strategy and the different types of rewards they offer. We will also look into how to measure their impact and how to achieve an immersive user experience.

The Four Core Elements of Ecommerce Gamification

Do you know why games are so entertaining? It’s because they are able to inspire one to work hard and reward that effort effectively. Game-inspired activities can be very efficient when it comes to motivating people to stick with an experience for a long time.

To reach the utmost success with this approach it’s important that both the technical and the emotional aspects of a gamification are implemented well. This means that the design, visuals, feedback and progress systems should be optimized and properly combined with the psychological motivators and that these include the following four fundamental elements.

  • Goals – When implementing a game-like experience into your ecommerce business, it’s worth considering what you want users to do. You may aim, for example, to decrease shopping cart abandonment, ease the purchase decision-making process, or inspire more mobile app downloads. To motivate your clients, however, you have to present them with a fun experience that is meaningful. You would have to give them a goal that they can work towards.
  • Rules – The rules of a game-inspired engagement serve as both guidelines and limitations to achieve the goal. The purpose of this is to inspire the player to think about creative ways in which they can fix a problem or reach their target.
  • Feedback – Implementing a feedback system is necessary to indicate how close users are to reaching their goal. This can take the form of points, badges, levels, progression bars, leaderboards, etc.
  • Voluntary Participation – This element implies that any player who participates in a gamified ecommerce experience should willingly acknowledge the game’s goals, rules and feedback system.

Let’s look at Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” campaign as it is a really good example of ecommerce gamification. The fast food chain wanted to increase the number of downloads of its mobile app, so it offered users a 1-cent Whopper. Here is how they applied the above mentioned core gamification elements.

  • The Goal: The goal for the players, i.e. consumers, was to get that 1-cent Whopper.
  • The Rules: The player had to download the Burger KIng app and get within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location to activate the offer.
  • The Feedback: After placing their offer the players were redirected to the nearest Burger King restaurant to retrieve their reward of a 1-cent Whopper within one hour.
  • Voluntary Participation: What a better incentive to play the game than winning a 1-cent burger?

Reward Your Customers Well

Games make people happy because they let them practice voluntarily chosen work or quests. A gamified experience enables users to focus their energy towards something that they are good at and can make them feel better. Additionally, it can boost positive and creative thinking and provide a sense of belonging. By getting people in a state of optimistic thoughts, game-like experiences help foster positive user engagement.

In order for your e-shoppers to stick around and play “your game” it’s important to provide them with good rewards. These are an essential part of a great user experience as they help make the activity fun and rewarding on its own.

Here are some examples of what these tokens of appreciation can include:

Empower Progress

It’s important that you identify what steps your audience should take to get your offer and reward them for the progress. This can be in the form of points, badges, strikes, leaderboards, etc. where the progress made can yield exclusive prizes. An example of this is e.l.f Cosmetics’s Beauty Squad Rewards Program where members can earn points and rankings which in turn earn them access to exclusive sales, free deluxe products and early access to new products.

Give It a Thrill

To make your gamified experience stand out, it’s necessary to design the perfect challenge for your audience. It should make them put in some work to get their reward. For instance, it could be in the form of a digital scavenger hunt like Lancôme’s AR scavenger hunt in Hong Kong or a competition like eBay’s bidding system.

Add Meaning and a Purpose

When a player feels that they are doing something important while contributing to something bigger than them, it gives them a huge sense of fulfilment and devotion. As a result they can willingly show loyalty and ambassadorship to your brand.

For example, Nike took a step further with their app to offer Nike+. The + is for personal as the app connects the members of Nike+ Training Club, Run Club, and SNKRS, offering them tailored product and service experiences. It covers every aspect of an athlete’s life – training, competition, sport-style, and it’s stocked with performance product recommendations and customized feeds. The app also enables members to train together and have fun together at special Nike+ events.

Nike+ app

Source: Nike App

Extract Feedback from Customer Activity

When businesses implement gamification techniques into their products and services, they do so with a purpose. Usually, the goal is to motivate customers to engage with their brand in a fun and interactive way, which increases the potential for conversions.

Moreover, incorporating it into your funnel can give you a detailed overview of what users do and what activity they have with your business. The gamified approach comes with well-structured processes that track the “players” progress to understand their behavior, do analysis and make predictions.

This measurable nature allows businesses to extract feedback from users based on their activity and interactions. Thanks to it, brands can take note of all behaviors, no matter how tiny, then quantify and present them as raw data, points, progress bars or levels.

This can then help companies find the best ways to nudge customers to buy, without overwhelming them with too many sales pitches.

Build a Virtual Community

Simply put, the more friends that are on board the more people you can sell to. So, think of building a virtual community where friends and strangers can interact together.

The classic pattern in this process goes like this:

  1. Invite a user to sign up
  2. Give him a reward
  3. Ask him to perform an activity (like inviting a friend)
  4. Motivate him to do it with an additional reward

For example, Airbnb is offering their customers in Japan the chance to earn 1 point for every ¥200 they spend on a booking. The points are added to their account 72 hours after they complete their trip and these can be used at any one of the T-point alliance partners.

Airbnb Earn T-points

Source: Airbnb

Achieve a Gamified Flow

The key feature of a game-like customer engagement that hooks audiences for a long time is to keep them interested to continue playing. How do you do that? By providing them with some type of recognition or a reward on a constant basis.

When the reward disappears so does your client’s interest because their sense of self-improvement and self-fulfillment is no longer stimulated. To keep the excitement alive you can introduce daily or weekly quests, like discount coupons for selected items, or having a quiz that can reward clients with a freebie.

On a bigger scale, in terms of the entire gamified process, it’s crucial to create a rapid cycle between the moments when a user starts the gamified activity, accepts its rules and receives a reward. The tool that can help you do this is The Hook Model by Nir Eyal.

The HOOK Canvas Graphic

This model considers how behaviors occur and explains the link between triggers, rewards, action and investment. When a user is really invested in the process their expectations to receive more rewards in the future increases. Hence, they will be more inclined to participate and enjoy in the game-like experiences your brand creates and motivate them to buy from you.

For instance, Kenzo created it’s Shopping League campaign to let shoppers put up a virtual fight if they want to get themselves a pair of their exclusive Sonic Sneakers. Applied to the Hook model their ecommerce gamification looks like this:

Gamification Flow - Kenzo Shopping League Graphic

Once you have locked down your flow, make sure you measure your users’ activity. This will help you know what triggers and rewards to introduce to them in the future, as well as how well they are responding to your approach.

Additionally, if you allow users to see the measured progress themselves, touching upon their competitive tendencies, you will motivate them to keep engaging in your gamified shopping experience and increase your sales in the long-run.

The Takeaway

Online shopping is here to stay and with so many options out there it’s crucial that you are willing and able to provide not only an amazing “prize” worthy product, but also a shopping experience with the thrill.

By gamifying your ecommerce user experience you can really get your prospects excited and motivated about choosing your store. So select your challenge, set your rules, dangle that reward, and immerse your players into an intriguing game related shopping experience.