Why You Should Include Gamification In Your Online Store

Guest post by Rob Brooks of Rapid Campaign

Your online store is great, but it’s static.

Potential customers follow a set purchase path, trundling down the funnel towards the checkout page with little incentive to stop them from leaving and looking for a better deal somewhere else. And they do, don’t they?

Either they bounce near the top of your purchase funnel, or they drop a few items into the shopping cart only to abandon it before purchasing. Conversion is a constant problem for online retailers simply because it is way too easy for customers to get distracted and leave.

So, what would make them stay?

If it works for games…

We all like to play.

What we play varies enormously, but we all like to engage in some sort of game from time to time. And one of the key features of game playing is the desire to see the outcome. Some people want to win at all costs, others are simply happy to take part. For the winners, the reward is prestige, bragging rights; for the losers, closure. Either way, win or lose, we all want to know how things turn out at the end of the game.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could apply those principles to online retail so that our customers would feel compelled to see the job through – to convert?

Well, we can. It comes down to two things: rewards and simplicity.

Motivation in the right place

Motivating consumers with the promise of something extra is a tried and tested formula, all the way from ”buy 1 get 1 free” in brick-and-mortar stores to website banner ads offering various discounts.

Retailers have been aware of this since forever, but motivation has been limited to marketing with the focus on driving traffic to the website. What about motivation for customers who are already in your online store and just a few clicks away from actual purchases? Shouldn’t they be the ones who you are really trying to motivate?

This is where gamification comes into play. Gamification by definition is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ contributions.

Getting your game on

But it doesn’t mean complex video-game style games, rather something much simpler that’s cost effective to build, easy to place in your online store, and doesn’t take much brainpower or time to play. In retail, this means smart promotions like interactive scratchcards that reveal a voucher code, or spin-the-wheel-to-win-a-prize games that offer rewards such as gift cards, or free shipping.

Gamification is about enhancing the customer experience and providing motivation, and a natural place for gamification is within offers and promotions. The key is that the rewards are relevant to the customer, the purchase they are making, and that they keep the customer in your online store and moving towards the checkout page.

Smart promotions that combine gamification with brand experience produce interaction rates that are around 10 times that of rich banner adverts and website traffic, and consequently drive 10 – 15% more sales.

And let’s face it, everyone wants more sales.

Subtle but effective

Everyone has a great sales statistic that they are just dying to tell you about, but they don’t end up meaning much unless you can show some proof.

A great example of the effectiveness of gamification in retail comes from the iconic Finnish glassware design brand, Iittala.

Iittala has very strict brand guidelines, and wanted to be sure that the sales promotion would fit their online store. They created a subtle promotion that fit perfectly with their branding, and they ran it over the 2015 Easter holidays.

The results surprised them.

31% of visitors to the Iittala online store interacted with the promotion, and 5% of those that interacted redeemed the reward.

Amazingly, Iittala’s conversion rate doubled during the promotion run as compared with the Easter week from the previous year.

You read that right – doubled.

Hanging on to the shopping cart

It’s not rocket science, it’s just basic human psychology: we will do almost anything given the right motivation at the right time.

But we’re not talking about naked bungee jumping here. You probably sell everyday items that people buy, well, every day. And if a customer has already gone as far as to place items in a basket on your online store, then they are already extremely ready to buy from you. They just need a little nudge to help them take that final step.

Incentivizing customers with rewards, and giving them a simple and fun way to proceed with their purchase is just the nudge a hesitant customer needs.

Smart promotions are easy to build and easy to place in your online store. You control the design, define the rewards, and ultimately, enjoy the benefits.

Are you ready to get your game on?

Rob Brooks works as a Content Producer for RapidCampaign, a Finnish startup that enables online retailers to create smart promotions that combine gamification and brand experience.

When Rob is not writing blog posts and producing content, he is out running half-marathons in the Finnish countryside. You can contact him @RobiBrooks

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