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Authored By: Stephanie Mansueto of Arrow Consulting & Design and Hotcakes Commerce

gamer1At this point, you have probably already heard the term, Gamification used before. In fact, you have probably participated in a form of gamification unknowingly. Gamification uses traditional gaming mechanics such as earning points, badges, or incentives in order to affect customer behavior. A business might use gamification to increase sales, encourage customer engagement, or gather data for future marketing campaigns. Last year, the video game industry saw over $63bn in revenue and trends show that there is nowhere to go but up in the future. Clearly human beings love to play games and it shows in our history. Our ancestors were motivated to be good at sports by giving them the possibility to enter a public completion to level up their social status. Frequent flyer miles have been around since the late ‘70s while scouts have been completing challenges for badges for the last century.

The art of motivating people to do something.

At its core, marketing is all about influencing people’s decisions while convincing their subconscious to do something. The best way to do this is by motivating someone to have fun while they work toward a goal.

Gamification has proved to be a successful motivator that can increase sales for e-commerce businesses by encouraging the users subconscious that they are having fun. One of the most popular forms of gamification when it comes to e-commerce can be found in the form of badges and points. An e-commerce business might offer points to customers for doing simple tasks (liking their facebook page, subscribing to a newsletter) that can be used later for discounts. Another way might be to offer points to customers who submit reviews of your products. It makes sense that some business owners are skeptical about implementing a review system to their e-commerce site because of the potential of a negative review. According to Revoo, bad reviews actually improve conversions by 67%. People that seek out and read bad reviews convert better and are paying attention more to the products and are more than likely in “purchase mode”. On top of that, 68% of customers trust reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or fake reviews when they only see positive. So, with that in mind..

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Let the (e-commerce) games begin!

You want to start offering a game to your customers but don’t know where to start? Understandable. Implementing a gamification tool can cost a lot in development costs and marketing budget. Having a good understanding of what your overall goal is as far in advance as possible. Here are some common goals for gamification in e-commerce and ways to make those goals attainable.

1. Increased Registered Customers

Registered customer’s means more long term data and more than likely those customers plan to return to your store. An e-commerce site might offer a customer who is checking out the option to register with the incentive of future discounts delivered to the inbox, a discount off the current order or even just points towards future orders. All of these are incentives for the customers to register and provide more information to the business that can be used for future marketing effirts,

2. New Customer Referrals

Once registered, your customer might be reminded to share their recent purchase with their social networks to increase their points, receive more discounts or even get a new badge. If their friends make a purchase after seeing their referral this can bring even more points to your original user. With their network involved, generating interest in forums, content sharing and general competition can increase engagement with and about your brand by registered users. By doing this, you have created brand evangelists.

3. Acquiring Points

Distributing points is the simplest form of gamification for an e-commerce business. Simple tasks such as a sale, a review, sharing a product or forum participation are all ways that a customer could increase their points on an e-commerce site. Sephora, a premium cosmetic store, offers customers the chance to earn points on purchases and turn those points into cash that can be used for future purchases or samples.

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Further points can be awarded throughout the checkout process. Encouraging customers to move through the process by showing a progress bar can limit cart abandonment and dropouts.

Final Thoughts

Gamification is an extension to loyalty programs offered by 65% of all e-commerce stores. It is designed to boost your site’s visibility, brand awareness and social media reach. Ignoring its importance, can leave your e-commerce business lacking.

Learn more about adding gamification to your e-commerce site and start reaping the benefits today!

About the Author:

Stephanie Mansueto is a Digital Content Strategist at Arrow Consulting & Design and Hotcakes Commerce. She manages, creates, and publishes all content both for Arrow Consulting & Design and their clients. Thanks to her extensive experience in digital marketing and ecommcer, she has a great understanding and in-depth knowledge how to create, improve, publicize and promote web content which is compelling to both human readers and search engines. Hotcakes Commerce is a full-featured ecommerce platform that easily enables you to incorporate gamification into your online store, built on top of the DNN content management system (CMS).

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