Engage and Conquer: Marketer’s Guide to Gamification

Engage and Conquer: Marketer’s Guide to Gamification

marketer's guide to gamification
More often than not, our efforts to engage with consumers fall on deaf ears. What we as marketers consider fun and engaging, consumers often dismiss as dull, tedious and irrelevant.

The world around us is changing: we are now fighting for hearts and minds, not just wallets. We don’t want people to simply consume our product, but to rather authentically fall in love with our brand.

To complicate matters further, retail brands are facing increasing competition from online and mobile channels. Brick and mortar stores need solutions that tap into unique value propositions that differentiate physical space from the online world.

Consumers value many things, besides low prices and convenience that online stores and mobile apps can offer. Real world interactions, experiences that engage all five senses and instant gratification are just a few aspects that cannot be replicated online.

That is why creating memorable and positive in-store experiences is of paramount importance for any brand that has a physical presence, be it a retail store or a quick service restaurant.

Gamification is taking the world by storm

Gamification done right is an excellent tool for enhancing in-store experiences.

Gamification is an application of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. It is an excellent way to engage and motivate people to complete tasks and achieve goals by tapping into our basic desires, needs and impulses.

By turning mundane tasks into fun experiences, gamification makes consumers fall head over heels in love with a brand. And what is even more important, taking into account the growing ineffectiveness of traditional outbound marketing techniques, gamification discreetly motivates consumers to action.

By gamifying the in-store experience, brands can go a step further by emotionally engaging consumers, reducing perceived wait times and making daily activities, such as shopping or eating out, fun and memorable. Done right, in-store gamification can enhance customer experience, encourage return visits and build long-term loyalty.

Why so serious? Gamification is conquering the world of retail

Explorium, a unique experimental mall in Shanghai is a playground for brands to test new omni-channel models, strategies, and technologies in a controlled environment. Thanks to this innovative initiative by Li&Fung and IBM, marketers can observe and analyze in real-time how consumers engage with new technologies. Here, an underwear brand Jockey demonstrated how gamification can be used to engage in-store customers.

Prominently positioned digital screen attracts consumers to play an engaging and interactive game by using their mobile phones as remote controls. Players need to knock off pins in a virtual bowling alley by tilting their mobile phones left or right. The winners receive digital coupons, coupled with a call to action that appears directly on their screens. Those coupons can be redeemed for prizes and special promotions in the store.

Such efforts strike a chord with consumers, who can’t be enticed anymore by traditional marketing and consumer loyalty programs. For one, consumers are finding that traditional loyalty programs aren’t what they expected. A study revealed that 54% of consumers stopped using a loyalty program within a year, citing difficulty in obtaining reward points. They don’t feel that the program is made with them in mind, and feel penalized for not spending enough money to earn those points, ultimately quitting such programs.

Brands can’t simply blast a homogenized marketing message from a fire hose anymore. Consumers expect brands to offer highly personalized experiences, using customer data to offer tailored deals through a seamless omni-channel experience. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they connect with brands through a multi-channel program; businesses that lose their way in trying to create a cohesive experience across channels, lose the consumers.

Gamification for Quick Service Restaurants

Technology has drastically changed customer expectations. All the more reason why QSRs should utilize mobile devices and in-store digital signage to incorporate gamification into their engagement efforts.

Offer fun games that consumers can play only in a restaurant, and they will keep coming. Taken a step further, in-store gamification – pardon the pun – ups “the game” in terms of building customer loyalty and foot traffic.

An in-store game will trigger positive emotions – determination, resolve, elation and a desire for more – which will then prompt consumers to share this experience with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks. When a QSR connects its in-store game to social media outlets, it can stand back and watch the tweets, likes and shares multiply. It’s worth noting that, thanks to social media, the global gamification market is set to grow to $11.10 billion by 2020.

Lastly, another reason to consider gamification is a big one: consumer data. Put away the costly and often inaccurate customer surveys – consumers will do the work for you. QSRs can collect personalized data through games, using in-the-moment and historical data to better plan individualized menu offerings and price deals. This is a case where the customer will always be right.

Gamification – boosting loyalty programs

By adding an extra gamification element to a loyalty program, a QSR will make consumers feel that collecting reward points is fun in itself, rather than a mindful slog toward a prize that involves spending more money than they want.

4food, a fast food chain that originated in New York, exemplifies how gamification can enhance a loyalty program. The QSR has no real menu. Instead, customers create their own meals, naming, branding and marketing their creations while they’re in store, via social media and to existing 4food groups. They earn 4food cash credits with every sale of their creations. New creations and best sellers are displayed in-store on a menu board and interactive media wall, as well as online and social media feeds. By feeding the need for creative expression, 4food makes consumers crave for more.

In-store Gamification Wins

On-location gamification is a more effective tool than online games and apps because it takes advantage of the physical space, where a brand can be fully absorbed through all five senses, in a natural way. Consumers’ minds are concentrated on an engaging game, and are subtly absorbing all the positive feelings a brand engenders.

Wrapped up in a competition, this marketing effort won’t feel heavy-handed but naturally captivating. Moreover, consumers won’t notice wait times or other operational shortcomings.

A Domino’s Pizza store in the Netherlands used in-store gamification to stop consumers from aimlessly loitering for 5-8 minutes while they waited for their orders. Domino’s turned to on-location gamified experience. A large screen, strategically placed near the waiting area, acts as an activator, attracting consumers to play a competitive, addicting multiplayer game on their mobile phones. The game lasts five minutes, just enough time for consumers to not notice they’ve been waiting.

Want to learn more about how you can engage consumers on-location and enhance customer experiences in your QSR chain? Click here to sign up to SCREEMO blog today!

Adir Zimerman

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February


By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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