Shopping is not just getting some goodies. It could become a fun activity with all the social connection and interaction. That’s why some people could be in the malls for hours without ever getting bored or tired. However, it is not that easy with online shopping where the human face-to-face connection is almost eliminated.

Then, to boost the fun and interaction again, you need gamification in your marketing strategy. Gamification is the incorporation of fun into your marketing strategy and an element of competition. When you add the gaming spirit to your store, you can trigger the emotional connection with the audience, making them feel like they have won over something rather than just purchasing it.

Why gamification marketing?

Gamification in marketing is not created for fun, even though it does seem entertaining. The gamified concept triggers the emotional spirit of winning something, which stimulates a creative and competitive feeling in pretty much all of us. In the case of eCommerce, gamification not only helps a business boost their online sales but also improve much the site engagement.

For example, eBay’s bidding system is the pioneer in retail gamification. Instead of buying some products normally, they put a bid to acquire the items. The bid only lasts for a limited time. When the time expires, only the highest bidder gets the products and complete the purchase. This tactic creates a sense of competition and encourages the prospects to join and win the game.

eBay gamification strategy with bidding system

This system creates a culture of outbidding other customers and snatching elusive, rare goodies. It also increases the average time on site as well as the number of email signups. The best thing is the competitive nature of bidding gives shoppers more satisfying experiences that keep them coming back for more. In fact, it costs 5 times as much to attract new customers than to keep an existing one. Then using gamification is a smart retention strategy to effectively boost your sales.

Easy ways to apply gamification marketing in eCommerce

The bidding system is not easy for less tech-savvy online merchants. It indeed takes lots of work on customizing the codes and a huge budget on hiring a team of developers to help you to do so. Of course, if you have a good engineering team, you could gamify your system or create an app to grow your eCommerce store. However, if you have no such team with a lower budget, there 3 simple but effective gamification tactics for you to try:

1. Hold contests on Social Media

Contest on social media is a fun way to connect with your customers without spending too much time on upgrading your website technically. You can invite them to join a small game with little budget but still gain better engagement.

For example, M&M ran a small campaign to promote the new pretzel-flavored candies. They applied gamification on the Facebook page with a fun eye-spy game, which challenged the followers to spot out a tiny pretzel guy in the multi-colored M&M candies.

The campaign was a huge success for M&M. It resulted in about 25,500 likes, 10,000 comments, and 5,600 shares. The game also provided a fun way for fans to engage with the brand and spread the words on social media.

You can run similar campaigns to engage your followers. It could be a giveaway for those submitting visual feedbacks or extra discounts for ones who like and share your posts. You can increase the effectiveness of your campaign by partnering with influencers in your niche and running an ad also. What you gain is better social interaction and larger audience outreach with less expense than other traditional marketing tactics.

However, please take note if you decide to give out some prizes, make sure that your rewards should not be too “small”. It depends on your products and marketing goals. If you are selling a $1000 item and give away $5 voucher, it is not that tempting to the targeted customers.

2. Use spin-to-win popups right on site

The spinning wheel popup is the next level of your giveaway contest. This time, you invite the shoppers to play a game right on your website and give them the incentives that could be used immediately. The incentives could by anything, from a coupon, discount, or just free shipping. Plus, by gamifying your popups, you also encourage the visitors to take action by triggering their fear of missing out. If they don’t spin the wheel, they are losing your surprising prizes as a result.

Moreover, the spin-to-win popup does give the store a unique look. Your customers could come across various popups in a day, and the worst thing is most of them are pretty much identical. Some people just close the popup immediately without a second thought on the offer. A fun gamified popup can make your site stand out, and catch the customers’ attention with ease.

However, the popups should be used with caution. In fact, take consideration in putting any types of popups on your website.

  • The content should be inviting: But don’t be too aggressive. Choose your words wisely so that customers are motivated to click.
  • Pay attention to how and where the lead magnets show up: You should customize the targeting of the popups, for example, the specific time and pages the wheel appears.

Exit intent popup with win wheel

Show popups when customers are about to leave the website.

It may seem complicated to create such a popup. Luckily, there are various tools to help people who are less tech-savvy to optimize their stores. You can start with Win Wheel – a gamified feature in the all-in-one marketing app SiteKit.

3. Run loyalty programs

The loyalty program with gamification mechanics like points, badges, rewards, and challenges is another good way to boost your marketing effort. It encourages customers to take action to win points. These points can be redeemed for rewards like discounts, free gifts, and more.

You can take a look at Sephora’s Beauty Insider and VIB Rouge reward programs. The programs are free to join with 3 tiers: Beauty Insider, VIB, and VIB Rouge. Each tier has a selection of rewards available to suit the customers. As customers reach a higher level of the programs, they can unlock more exclusive benefits such as free shipping or makeovers.

Sephora loyalty program

Sephora’s loyalty program is a huge success. They were able to raise the customers’ retention rates by 5% and increase their profits by up to 95%. These numbers suggest that if you can keep loyal customers, your profits are going to boost.

You can build your own loyalty programs or use apps like The app is beginner-friendly with simple design customizations. Plus, it integrates with various marketing tools like MailChimp, Yotpo, and Hubspot to make everything works together.

Ready to up the game?

Introducing some fun games to your customers, whether it is just a small giveaway contest, a spin-to-win game or a whole loyalty reward program, could help you communicate with them better. Of course, there are various other ways to gamify your store. But in terms of effectiveness and simplicity (without any coder needed), you could try out above tactics to boost up your revenue.

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