The term may not sound nice and engaging but the function of this marketing strategy is “to engage”! In short, gamification is adding game mechanics like progress bars, points collecting or just any type of a game into a website to make it more interactive and engaging.
To play or not to play?
Many marketing wise men have been elaborating on the subject lately. And it became such hype that every owner of a webshop wants to have it, but is it worth your time? It seems like it is, as the statistic show that in 2010 corporations spent $100 million on gamification and this number is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2016.
There are even more numbers here, 53% of Facebook users play games and about 19% say they are addicted. That all makes 56 million people playing such games daily. Out of those gamers, 30% click the ‘like” at real world brands' fan pages on Facebook.
Engagement is not yet a marriage!
The main idea behind the gamification is to engage your customers, so that they’ll visit your webshop more often, or even get addicted to your website. If well-planned, you may increase your traffic by gaining a reason to remind old customers about your existence and driving new ones. However, a lot of people will play the game and maybe enjoy it but after a time they’ll get bored and leave you for something more exciting. In that scenario you may be left with an expensive game strategy or app and too few buyers. The example of a risky strategy, was Gap, they organized jeans giveaway on Facebook. The problem was that the number of pairs was limited, so when they were all given away there was really no point in signing up for an event and play. To read more about the issue check the article by Mike Wu the Principal Scientist of Analytics at Lithium Technologies Inc.
No to be such a doomster I have to admit that there are quite a number of engagements that end-up in marriage.
Although, your customers may be long past primary school when you plan the whole thing wrong they can bite and shout! Wouldn’t you get the feeling of injustice if you spend your free time doing something that brings you nowhere? To avoid this, check what is there to offer to shoppers and how is the reward different from your usual discounts or promotions.
And most importantly, prepare comprehensive rules and follow them to the point!
The problem of unfair treatment is the reason why the Free Miles program is being ignored by many. To sign up you have to go through a complicated procedure and for some people the incentive of free miles does not compensate for the time spent trying to sign up.
Planning such a strategy you have to bear in mind that you’re doing it, so that potential and loyal customers of yours can have fun. Through gamification you simply have a chance of creating a more enjoyable shopping experience.
Take a look at Magnum example. This game doesn't offer any real rewards but just lets you have fun at the same time conveying the company's message. You'll remember about the ice cream after playing it.
Gamification is definitely not a way to save a broken business, it's rather a way to create a buzz around an eshop that has quite a good position on the market. It's rather complex strategy and needs a lot of time and research to be planned, that's why it should be done by an e-business that's not desperate for a quick success.
A good reason for game mechanics at your webshop would definitely by a new product adaptation or expanding offer with new products or services. In those cases shoppers are encouraged to learn more about the newbies. It's a great way to engage people with new stuff and remind about older products. Just like coca cola does it, reminding you about its classic products and introducing new ones while playing.
Whether you feel that the whole concept of gamification is a marketing mumbo jumbo or it's a true innovation, one thing is certain – it's a way to market and it should be considered. Maybe it suits your business?
Have you ever tried gamification? Would you decide to run such a campaign with your online shop?