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Is Gamification Right for Your Brand?

Nearly everyone loves a good game, and gamification as a loyalty strategy taps into that.

What is Gamification?

Gamification refers to using elements of games, including points, competitions, and challenges, to encourage greater participation from consumers and drive up loyalty by providing both tangible rewards and intangible rewards.

What are the Benefits of Gamification? 

There are a number of different ways in which the use of gamification in loyalty programs supports the goals of a business. Gamification drives customer retention and helps provide better data about customer motivation and behavior. Customers who are engaged through gamification are more likely to be active in your loyalty program, champion your brand and buy more often.

Gamification also drives collaboration between customers and increases word-of-mouth. Referrals on social media can be rewarded, and customers may also be more eager to promote a company online. Gamification encourages customers to interact with a company online. It also allows a company to offer rewards to customers, such as access to information and higher status that do not cost the company monetarily but motivate the customer all the same. All of these elements increase a customer’s sense of belonging to something more significant, which in turn increases loyalty. 

9 Proven Gamification Strategy Tips and Techniques 

So how do you incorporate gamification into your loyalty program? Here are nine strategy tips to take your loyalty program to the next level with gamification.

  1. Points. The use of points is probably the type of gamification most people are familiar with, from stamp cards for lattes or sandwiches to more sophisticated programs with hotels, airlines, and credit cards. Points create a simple feedback loop in which consumers are motivated by seeing their points increase toward rewards. 
  2. Social. A social element may seem new, but it is really only the technology that is new. The popular Green Stamps program of the 1960s led to friendly competition among friends, and social media can be harnessed in a similar way by rewarding people for social media shares and for bringing friends into the program. Social media integration also provides a sense of community. 
  3. Levels. The concept of levels comes straight from the gaming world and helps consumers track their progress. Perks are important, but they aren’t the prime motivator when it comes to levels. Status and a sense of exclusivity drive motivation to reach higher levels.
  4. Quests. Challenges that build loyalty and engagement by giving consumers a sense of accomplishment are called quests. It is essential to identify what will motivate any particular set of consumers to participate, and successful quests are often short with specific rewards at the end.
  5. Badges. They are a bit like levels, except they generally do not have perks associated with them. Instead, Badges are an online marker of achievement that can be displayed to friends. 
  6. Rewards. They must be carefully targeted based on what motivates any given group of consumers. Access to badges, content, or even just a sense of accomplishment should be used more frequently than concrete rewards like products or cash and can be just as effective.
  7. Onboarding. This is the process of educating new members about the features and benefits and advising members who have just reached a new level the new perks or opportunities they have for participation. Onboarding often comes in the form of a tutorial.
  8. Engagement loop. An “engagement loop” refers to the cycle of positive reinforcement that keeps consumers coming back for more. A successful engagement loop involves many of the techniques mentioned above, along with calls to action and invitations. 
  9. Constraints. They can be used to keep people more motivated. Successful constraints blend a challenge, such as a time limit, with a reasonable certainty of being able to complete the challenge. 
how to improve loyalty program results

Amazingly Successful Gamification Examples 

Below are a few gamification loyalty program examples that show how these programs have benefited companies. Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, and Nike have all integrated digital gaming components to their loyalty programs.

Examples Gamification Loyalty & Reward Programs

Food 4 Less 

Gamification strategies can bring together several organizations for mutual benefit. This is the case with the Food 4 Less gamified promotion. Working with Greenfence Consumer, the promotion uses blockchain technology and appeals to Los Angeles-area soccer fans. Fans can text a number or visit a website to play a Scratch N’Win game. The promotion encourages re-engagement by allowing customers to come back each day for another chance but also introduces the limitation that the challenge only lasts until the end of November. Rewards include collectible cards and LAFC merchandise and tickets. The social element is introduced by allowing players to share or trade prizes with friends who are also participating. 

Food 4 Less Uses Gamification for Soccer Promotion
Food 4 Less is engaging consumers with blockchain-driven gamified experiences.
how to attract new loyalty members

Shell Drivers Challenge 

A challenge run by Shell in the United Kingdom made use of the knowledge that more than one-third of its customers preferred to fill up their tanks to a round number. The Shell Pump Challenge gamified this by awarding points to customers who hit certain amounts such as £30 or £40. This gamification meant that if they missed their original goal, they tended to keep going to the next level, creating more revenue for the company. Customers also had the opportunity to test their skills at pumping just the right amount of gas with an online game beforehand. Purchases went up 9 percent. 

Shell Pump Challenge

Coca-Cola Company 

Sip & Scan picks up where the Coca-Cola Company’s previous loyalty program, My Coke Rewards, left off. By scanning the Coke product, consumers have the opportunity to participate in sweepstakes and other experiences as well as getting perks. This type of gamification encourages customers not just to use the product but to engage with the company, driving up brand loyalty. 

Coca-Cola Sip & Scan
Coca-Cola’s Sip & Scan is an exciting way to access experiences, rewarding perks & sweepstakes.

According to Nielsen, two-thirds of Americans older than 12 consider themselves gamers. Taking into account that these forms of gamification will appeal to both those who call themselves “gamers” and those who do not necessarily use this nomenclature but enjoy the competition and more traditional games, companies that use gamification techniques have the potential to capture the interest of nearly every one of their customers.

Take Your Loyalty Program to the Next Level

Times have changed, the economy has changed, and your competition is barking at your heels. Your loyalty program, which worked so well at the beginning, may be losing its luster.

Customer Insight Group’s Loyalty Audit puts your program back on track. It’s a detailed review that puts more muscle into your program so that it works harder and keeps your customers out of your competitors’ reach.

Sallie Burnett
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