Gamification in Retail: The Interactive Trend Driving Loyalty and Sales

Gamification in Retail

Gamification might sound like another one of those marketing catchphrases of the moment, but behind the hype is a legitimate trend that’s driving loyalty and sales. And it’s only growing in popularity.

Turning something into a game to encourage the right behavior is nothing new. Chances are if you think back to the chore charts and stickers of childhood, you can see how parents and educators have been using games to make everyday tasks appealing for years.

Now, brands have perfected the art. From enterprise-level corporations to boutique brick-and-mortars, retailers of all sizes are finding ways to gamify their customer experience to increase engagement and, ultimately, sales. Here’s everything you need to know about this method for increasing brand loyalty and revenue.

What Is Gamification?

What Is Gamification?

Gamification applies game concepts to everyday business activities. It’s the art of creating a set of challenges and rules that an individual must navigate to obtain a prize or reach a goal. This individual could be anyone from an employee, loyal customer or lead. Gamification strategically brings an element of fun, competition and socializing to what are otherwise less appealing tasks.

In retail, gamification can occur online or in store. It can serve to surprise and delight customers. It also helps develop an ongoing customer relationship by creating more positive touchpoints between the brand and consumer.

Gamification in Retail: A Look at the Numbers

It’s all fun and games until someone sets some key performance indicators — then it becomes a business strategy. Here are the hard facts about gamification in retail based on a recent gamification report.

  • The global gamification market is scheduled to grow by 25% between 2020 and 2025, and retail holds the largest share.
  • Gamification has been shown to increase customer acquisitions by as much as 700%.
  • Gamification tactics raised engagement and loyalty by 30% for brands such as Walgreens, eBay, Threadless and more.

Yet 80% of companies are currently under-utilizing gamification techniques.

Why? It can seem difficult to leverage gamification. A lot of retailers think it involves creating a brand new mobile app geared toward gaming — and that takes a while to launch.

You don’t have to make your gamified efforts complicated. They just need to be fun and relevant. The report cited above defined bad implementation of gamification (yes, it happens) as efforts that rely on generic tasks and challenges. When it comes to gamification, consumers are looking for games that showcase creativity and customization, not simply a digitized punch card.

Using Gamification to Drive Revenue

Recent research by McKinsey shows 75% of consumers have tried different products during the pandemic, and 60% plan to integrate new brands into their lives as the pandemic winds down. Consumer behavior is shifting rapidly, which brings the importance of loyalty to the forefront for retailers.

Gamification strategies tap into the human instinct for competition, which can spur retail shoppers to stay engaged throughout the customer journey. Here are several methods retailers are using to drive loyalty through gamification.

  • Badges or designations: Earning a certain status through an app or loyalty program can keep customers coming back for more.
  • Progress updates: Gamifying progress can be as simple as creating charts or sharing stats to show customers how far they’ve come. Measure anything from purchases to friend referrals to personal achievements.
  • Challenges: Creating digital or physical challenges can encourage consumers to collaborate while engaging them long term and pulling them into the brand ecosystem.

While early gamification strategies thrived on simplicity, consumers are gravitating toward more meaningful gamification that personalizes their journey.

Take WW, for example. Losing weight and improving fitness levels isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of a fun adventure. WW (formerly Weight Watchers) knows this. So they gamified the experience by not only letting customers track their activity but also by presenting their accomplishments in a Personalized Video.

The personalized year-in-review highlights milestones and helps underscore the personal success each member experienced.


This technique works well. Take a look at the success stats below from this campaign.

WW success stats

How Gamification Gets Personal and Boosts Sales

Part of gamification’s appeal is that it’s intensely personal. It allows you to showcase your skills and achievements, comparing these with others to help you feel a sense of accomplishment. Games allow you to bring your own personality into the strategy. Gamifying retail is a way to encode personalization into the DNA of your engagement strategy.

And that’s the kind of customized experience consumers are now demanding. Research indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands have offered a personalized experience. Gamification is just one tool in your toolbelt that facilitates this.

The savvy of this approach to improving revenue is proven by the data. Statistics show that initiatives that target returning customers perform 3 times better than those aimed at the mass market. Not only does gamifying reduce the need to spend more on customer acquisition, but it can help increase customer lifetime value by providing brands with increasing amounts of data on their customers. And that data can be used to further personalize messaging for upsell and cross-sell opportunities going forward.

Getting Started With Gamification in Retail

Getting Started With Gamification in Retail

Retailers don’t have to — and shouldn’t — settle for generic gamification techniques. No matter your size, there are scalable strategies that will grow with your organization.

Here are three tactics to consider for creating gamified experiences:

  • Interactive videos: Hide digital Easter eggs or make the viewer “catch” a floating discount. Better yet, these can link the viewer straight to an online shopping cart or your website (or wherever) so they can take action right away.
  • Quizzes: Gamified quizzes are not only interactive and engaging, they can help you gather new data about your customers, so you get to know them better. Send your quiz as a video to increase CTR and completion rate.
  • Gamified rewards: An engaging loyalty program shouldn’t offer generic rewards. It should be personalized based on that individual’s past behavior and interests.

Almost any digital gamified retail experience gets an engagement boost when it becomes video. Video draws more consumer internet traffic than any other medium.

Fun fact: Happiness is actually the most common emotion people report when watching videos from brands.

Video can be an effective medium for gamification because it’s versatile and engaging. Imagine a video previewing a new product with a floating offer you have to “catch.” Or think of a video that lets you level-up your loyalty rewards by sharing it on social media or taking another action — right from the video. The possibilities are endless.

Just imagine if the video above had a prize or discount hidden in one of those boxes. Wouldn’t you keep clicking?

Gamification Meets Video

While gamification has long been a marketing and sales strategy, with the accessibility of mobile phones and apps it has become increasingly sophisticated. Video takes it to the next level with personalization, cinematic quality visuals and immersive storytelling. Retailers that strategically combine the two, offering a personalized experience for every customer, are well positioned to be at the forefront of customer loyalty in the post-pandemic world.

Want to learn how you can personalize interactive digital experience for every one of your customers — whether it’s hundreds or millions? Learn how other global brands are boosting sales and retention in retail and loyalty. Or get in touch to set up a demo and see how it works.

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Yotam Benami

In his role as Idomoo's CMO, Yotam is responsible for supporting the company's continued growth in its core Enterprise market and for driving its fast-growing platform business.

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