What is Gamification?
Gamification comes from the word “Gamify” which means turn something into a game. In modern marketing it has become increasingly difficult to engage your customers with the amount of advertising and competitors in the market. As a result, companies have started to gamify interactions with their customers to turn them into repeat customers. Early versions of Gamification that I’m sure you are familiar with include:
- Earning an informal “regular” status at your local pub or coffee shop and getting freebies on the house
- Collecting stickers for a free 10th coffee or sandwich
- Earning air miles for redemption for upgrades or free tickets
The above early Gamification examples have been around for years and most of us don’t pay much attention to them anymore. Because of that, companies have had to become more engaging in their rewards programs. Now you’ll find companies offering double rewards points on certain days, tiered rewards points etc. This is almost a fully fledged Gamification system.
A full Gamification system rewards customers for every interaction with the company, not just transactions. Points might be awarded for sharing a product on social media, writing a review or “checking in” when a customer visits the shop. These points can then be converted into discounts, free products or services or other rewards that make a customer want to continue collecting points and returning to redeem them.
How can it help me?
This is obviously the biggest question any business would ask. The key goal of Gamification is getting your customers to return to your place of business time and time again and naturally purchase additional products or services. A secondary goal is for your customers to become part of your sales and marketing team and refer your shop to their friends and on their social media accounts. Think about how powerful a recommendation from a friend is versus a banner ad on buying decisions.
The bottom line is Gamification encourages your customers to buy more and promote you so others start buying or also buy more.
How and where should I use it?
This is the tricky part about Gamification. Because it can get quite complicated tracking all those interactions with your customers, the ideal company and use of Gamification is an online shop or service. All points and rewards can be tracked electronically and automatically and you don’t have too much admin to do once the system is set up.
If, however, you run your business in a more traditional way with a brick and mortar storefront then you can still use Gamification – it will just be a little more difficult to set up and track. What you may have to do is reward your customers highly for their marketing activity of your company and manually add rewards for transactions with your shop. This is usually when a rewards card would need to be issued for the transactions to be tracked in store.
Another way to use Gamification that is becoming increasingly popular is to use it internally. So, instead of rewarding customers for interactions, you reward your staff for meaningful interactions with the company. This works especially well for companies with demotivated sales people who need a fresh motivation to continue to bring you lots of new customers.
For information on exactly what tools are available on the market please see page 2