The Power of Play: How Gamification is Transforming eCommerce Design 

By Kali Kasprzyk

Marketing Consultant, Echidna

Who doesn't love to play a game? Since childhood games have provided a source of entertainment and excitement and as adults this still rings true. That's why gamification has become such a popular trend for eCommerce retailers.

By integrating gaming elements, retailers can create a more engaging and interactive experience for customers of all ages. It not only helps create a more enjoyable shopping experience, but done right it can enhance loyalty and ultimately drive sales.

Incorporating game elements such as points, badges, and rewards into the shopping experience can help retailers create a more engaging and interactive experience for customers.

The basis of gamification is simple. eCommerce retailers use various forms of loyalty programs to reward customers for repeat business or interactions.

This can come in a variety of forms, with some of the most popular being:

  • Badges and Achievements
  • Contests and Sweepstakes
  • Point Systems
  • Interactive Quizzes
  • Progress Bars
  • Virtual Rewards

Integrating gamification in eCommerce design

When using gamification techniques in eCommerce, it's important for retailers to consider the user experience and ensure that the game mechanics are integrated in a way that enhances the overall shopping experience. 

Make it relevant: The gamification elements should be relevant to the shopping experience and add value for the customer. For example, Nike's NikePlus membership program offers exclusive content, events, and rewards for members, and also includes personalized coaching and training plans to help customers achieve their fitness goals. 

Keep it simple: The game mechanics should be easy to understand and navigate. Customers should be able to participate without feeling overwhelmed or confused. Sephora's Beauty Insider program is a popular example of gamification made simple. Members earn points for their purchases, which can be redeemed for rewards, and can also level up to higher tiers with more perks.

Provide clear results: Customers should understand the benefits of participating in the gamification elements, whether it's earning points, unlocking discounts, or receiving exclusive content. Starbucks' rewards program, Starbucks Rewards, offers points for purchases that can be redeemed for free drinks and food items. Members can also earn bonus points for completing challenges, such as trying new menu items.

Avoid overwhelming customers: Too much gamification can be overwhelming and distracting. eCommerce retailers should strike a balance and ensure that the game mechanics don't overshadow the shopping experience.

Incorporate social elements: Incorporating social elements into the gamification experience can help create a sense of community and encourage customer engagement. For example, Duolingo is a language learning app that uses gamification to make learning a new language fun and engaging. Users earn points and rewards for completing lessons and can compete with friends on a leaderboard.

Ensure accessibility: The gamification elements should be accessible to all customers, regardless of their device or ability. For example, the Target's Circle app supports both Voiceover (iOS) and TalkBack (Android) to read the contents of the app's screen out loud to users who are visually impaired. The app also supports Dynamic Type, which allows users to adjust the size of the text within the app to suit their needs and Android's Accessibility Suite, which provides features such as text-to-speech and magnification. Retailers should consider factors such as mobile optimization and accessibility guidelines when designing the gamification experience.

Monitor results: eCommerce retailers should monitor the results of their gamification efforts and make adjustments as necessary. This can include tracking engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer feedback. 

Play your way to stronger customer relationships

For eCommerce retailers, gamification has proven to be a powerful tool for improving customer loyalty and increasing sales. Incorporating game elements such as points, badges, and rewards into the shopping experience can help retailers create a more engaging and interactive experience for customers. Using gamification techniques in eCommerce requires retailers to make it relevant, keep it simple, provide clear results, avoid overwhelming customers, integrate social elements, ensure accessibility, and monitor results. With these factors in mind, retailers can create gamification experiences that enhance the overall shopping experience and strengthen the relationship between the brand and customers.

JUN 2023