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How to improve visibility in retail by engaging your customers through gamification

March 4, 2022

The fight for attention in the retail market has never been as tough. With more retailers online than ever, the noise in the market has increased and the battle for consumer attention has intensified.

Retailers have fought hard to engage both new customers as well as build on established relationships with existing customers, whether they were offline or online customers previously.

To get such consumers to listen isn’t easy. Consumers are wary of marketing message-overload and are also increasingly aware that they hold the power over the data that retailers require to create more engaging experiences for them.

And they don’t necessarily want to share that information unless there is something in it for them. In a YouGov survey of more than 5,000 consumers across the UK, US, Netherlands, Scandinavia and Finland (commissioned by Leadfamly), consumers admitted they were more willing to share data when there was a reward for doing so.

So, what could that reward be?

The bait that will hook your customers

One such reward comes from introducing the concept of playable marketing through gamification into your marketing plan. It introduces a new element of engagement that not only demands attention from the consumer but also rewards it.

On one level it can engage them via simple, intrinsic rewards – such as playing for fun or to find out more about a brand.

On another, it can provide extrinsic rewards, for example games that allow the consumer to play for a prize.

And it works in persuading them to share the first-party data that retail marketers are increasingly reliant on. In the YouGov survey, which formed part of Leadfamly’s new Marketing is a Data Game report, four out of ten consumers (41%) said they were open to sharing data and preferences through gamification (for example through a quiz) if it meant they got better offers from a brand in the future.

The preference to share was highest amongst younger customers, with millennials and Gen Z 57% more likely to share data than baby boomers.

The survey showed that respondents were most willing to share data regarding gender (67%) or age (64%), but using game mechanics as part of a retail marketing strategy can help boost sharing of other data too - such as family status (44%) or location (38%) which can help when trying to target customers.

Gamification as a complement to retail

In many ways gamified marketing can reflect many of the attributes about retail that can make it an experience that consumers love. Like shopping satisfies a basic instinct for many, so gamified marketing satisfies the deep-rooted human desire to engage in play.

In that state of mind the consumer becomes more open to a marketing message, and therefore much more likely to engage with the retailer as a result. The report showed that consumers are 56% more likely to click a gamified ad (like a quiz), as compared to a normal advert.

This feeds through to how they feel about a brand or retailer, with a third of those interviewed saying that game mechanics help to improve brand opinion. This was particularly true among younger customers, where 45% of millennials and Gen Z said that games positively influenced brand opinion.

Understanding what to offer as a reward

As we have seen, consumers are more willing to share their data in exchange for a reward. And in retail those rewards can be used as incentives to encourage purchasing, either through offering discounts that can be redeemed online or through physical prizes that need to be collected, therefore driving footfall to physical stores.

The discount code format can be a powerful motivator. Although many retailers offer discount codes as standard to encourage spend, the Leadfamly research showed that the psychological impact of playing for such discount, for example through a Spin the Wheel game, can prove of greater value. More than half (51%) of respondents said that winning a prize or voucher from a game was more valuable to them than a coupon code made available to all.

Prizes, particularly those that drive customers in-store, don’t have to be expensive rewards. More than half of consumers (56%) want to play for physical prizes but prefer to play in games where there is a higher chance of winning even if that might mean that the value of the prize is lower.

The retailer, Costcutter, ran a Valentine’s Day themed ‘spin the wheel’ game, with a range of prizes including prosecco, chocolates, and theater tickets. Driving footfall to stores was one of the key aims of the campaign so a location finder button at the end of the game flow helped to direct customers to stores. More than 1,400 campaign visitors clicked through to find their nearest Costcutter store.

But emotional reward is also a motivator and customers are proven to pay for other extrinsic rewards too – for instance 22% of consumers just want to play for fun and 10% the sense of achievement they get from completing a challenge.

Leadfamly uses five game mechanics: challenge, reward, mirroring, compete and having fun. And these have different outcomes. At clothing retailer Masai the company offered a quiz-style game to try to help customers ascertain the right fit for their body type. Although they did offer a reward of 20% off the next purchase to customers taking part, the real value, for both customer and retailer, came from the zero-party consumer data gleaned, as well giving customers better guidance on what to buy.

Customer response to the game saw more than 160,000 people take part in the personality quiz across multiple markets. As well as 60,000 new permissions it provided a rich database for the company to better target products by location and gave invaluable guidance on what customers wanted from the brand in the future.

“Gamification campaigns have also lowered our CPL and reduced a new customer’s first time to purchase,” Masai’s head of e-commerce sales and campaigns shared. “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.”

Engaging the busy customer

The value of game mechanics in retail marketing has many benefits. It helps engage customers, surface valuable customer data, and allows your customers to have fun. The benefit of that is building loyalty and customer relationships in a world where customer loyalty is harder to gain than ever. It gives retail marketers valuable eyeball time with the customer with consumers spending an average of 67 seconds engaging with a brand through a game built in the Leadfamly platform.

And in a retail market that is now busier than ever, that can give you the time you need to persuade the customer to buy.


retail marketing
consumer engagement