Is gamification a fancy word used by brands to describe ‘promotions’?

badgesIt’s no surprise that businesses are using gamification to boost sales and to increase conversion rates but why call it gamification to describe something that is no different from promotions?

Gamification is a phenomenon originated by the combination of game design elements in a non-game context. Several brands are using Gamification as a software service layer of rewards and reputation systems like levels and badges.

The question you need to ask is would your brand benefit more from a single points/ rewards system or do you feel that your customers are eager competitors and you could drive more sales if they were competing against each other? If there were an element of risk involved, would that make them purchase more?

Doesn’t matter how you label it, in the end it all comes down to promotions. You offer incentives and customers should come back for more.

Gamification is not limited by digital technologies
The objective of any game designer is to create a game that the user wants to keep on playing. The objective of Gamification within an eCommerce website is to compel the customer to keep on buying. More points equals greater rewards, usually, what normally can be described as promotions.

Gamification isn’t necessarily suited to every company as it could end up undermining the brand values, but Gamification should not be limited to digital technologies. For instance, a customer could unlock special events that happen in store.

Customer journeys can be the criteria to display Gamification content
There are many points and rewards systems out there that do a great job of incentivizing customers but not many that integrate that capacity in a seamless commerce experience.

When a visitor journey matches the criteria of more than one offer set in your ecommerce backoffice, there must be some rules in place that will determine which one is going to be applied for that specific case. When Gamification is a concept applied to your multichannel offer, the responsibility of picking the best offer is now in the hands of the consumer and not on the algorithm only.

Promotions can be presented in their own game-based scenario. For instance a user registered on your website as a VIP (e.g. buys frequently and engages with the brand at least once a month on average) searches for ‘ black dress’ and instead of looking at a list of products merchandised by the product manager, the system presents the customer with a roulette wheel game – clicking on spin would randomize the customer’s promotion – perhaps offering them the choice between 10% off the black dress or 5% off the entire basket.

Examples of Gamification in Ecommerce
Some brands are adding gaming elements to increase customer loyalty and the results are engaging and fun. In May ASICS America launched their new website as part of an ongoing global rollout and included a free app where the user can log runs on the go with an iPhone or Android.

running asics

‘MY ASICS’ lets you create a customised training plan based on the years of experience that ASICS has in running performance and then the app analyses your own running performance. This is a classical example of the customer competing against himself before competing with others.

What other examples of gamification have you seen in Ecommerce websites? Do let us know in the comments below…

Maria Morais is Digital Commerce Consultant at neoworks.

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