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How to win the battle for attention in retail marketing

by Julie Lundfold

November 25, 2021

Competition within the retail industry has intensified throughout the past couple of years. Especially as a consequence of the pandemic, e-commerce has experienced an enormous growth, with sales accounting for a third of all retail spending in 2020 according to the ONS. This growth represents the hard and fast evolution of the retail market, and has proposed both huge challenges and opportunities for marketers.

The rapid scaling of the market and the increased volume of new competitors have forced retailers to quickly adapt to a new normal, evolve how consumers shop with them, and acknowledge how customer loyalty has been thrown into the wind. Brands can no longer necessarily expect customers to shop the same way as they always have, and it has therefore become more difficult to retain customers and delight them. As a consequence, retailers now need to rethink how they can deliver exceptional, meaningful experiences for their customers to capture their attention and stand out from the crowd.

Customers are now in the driving seat

With the increased competition of retail, consumers are now more willing to shift from one brand to another than ever before. According to McKinsey & Company, 75% of customers continued to switch brands in 2021 - 90% of whom are millennials and high-income consumers. Couple that with the fact that consumers are now aware that they can say no to cookies, turn off notifications, and that other alternative brands are just one click away. This shifting interest means that consumers are now in full control of where and when they want to engage with brands. It is no secret that this has created new challenges for retail marketers, who now have to find new ways to cut through the noise and retain customer loyalty in a fiercely competitive market.

As today’s consumers are busier than ever and simultaneously fully aware of their power in the retail market, they expect a more sophisticated shopping experience. To keep their interest, customers now expect better and more meaningful interactions with brands, and if brands are not able to deliver this, they do not hold back on shifting to other alternatives.

How gamification fits into the world of retail

But how can retailers create these meaningful relationships in a busy and very competitive market? The answer comes in the form of marketing gamification. In a busy environment, the connection with the individual consumer is essential to succeed. A challenge that marketing gamification can help solve.

In short, marketing gamification can be described as the use of play and games in your marketing campaigns. By using their marketing message to encourage your customers to play, brands can meet different KPIs in terms of acquiring new customers, increase sales, and even retaining and deepening engagement with existing customers. And this is not just something we say —there is actually powerful psychology behind it. As human beings, one of our basic instincts is to seek out play and pleasure. Therefore, when a brand manages to offer a well-crafted experience using play and games, it will be more memorable to the consumer because it taps into human nature. Moreover, when playing games, our brains produce endorphins, which create a positive brand association.

This creates great opportunities for retailers to overcome the challenges of busy and fickle customers. Grabbing attention through gamification, retailers are able to appeal to their customers on a human level. Hereby, they can take the first steps in cutting through the noise and meeting the customers’ increasing expectations of meaningful interactions and memorable experiences.

And the best part of it all? Using gamification, retailers allow the customers to still be in the driving seat. As the customers have to willingly participate and engage in playing these games, retailers avoid tricking their customers to opt-in. Customers will therefore not feel that they are just being marketed at, but rather still feel in control of their decisions. In turn, this will help retailers boost engagement, increase sales, and create personalized experiences.

Masai’s use of gamification

We’ve seen that it works. An example of how well gamification works in the world of retail is the case of the Danish clothing brand, Masai. They wanted to find a way to generate more leads, while simultaneously collecting zero-party consumer data, as this information could help them with both product development and retail coordination.

To solve this challenge, Masai used Leadfamly’s personality test in several countries. Here, respondents answered questions about clothing fit, shaping, styling, and pattern preferences. In return, the respondents received a guideline of what type of clothing would fit their preferences and body type.

The results from the campaign were quite noticeable. More than 160,000 people participated in the personality test, generating 60,000 new permissions. All of the responses helped Masai make informed decisions about their retail and wholesale planning, while also ensuring a data-driven design for the future product development process. In addition, the use of gamification reduced the cost-per-lead by 50%, and also lowered the time to purchase considerably - from four months to just one week. That’s impressive.

“Game mechanics give us a way to listen to our customers’ preferences and use that information to direct products to the markets that they’ll perform best in,” said Maria Stigsnæs-Eriksen (head of e-commerce sales & campaigns at Masai). “Gamification campaigns have also lowered our CPL and reduced a new customer’s first time to purchase. In addition to all of this, the data we gathered also enabled me to write a brief to our organization about what our audience wants from Masai.”

With fierce competition and busy consumers, it can be difficult for retail marketers to find the right way to cut through the noise and retain customers. However, by creating memorable experiences and meaningful interactions through gamification, retailers are able to drive attention, increase sales, and retain existing customers.

Read the full success story for fashion brand Masai here.


retail marketing
data acquisition