How to Benefit from Gamification in the Context of E-commerce

It’s clear that gamification is a hot topic among all sorts of business executives. Some say that gamification is just a fad, but people in the know expect it to stay with us for a long time – transforming to serve new business needs and adapting to new media. If you’re skeptical, consider this: today gamification is present in the mainstream of corporate management. Gartner predicts that by 2016 gamification will become a standard practice designed to drive consumer loyalty and marketing. Here are some tips to help you benefit from gamified strategies in e-commerce right now.

Gamification – the basics

What exactly is gamification? It’s an application of game mechanisms to a non-gaming context. By organizing various activities to resemble a game, marketers can drive specific consumer behaviors, engage their target audience with the brand and motivate them to perform actions that require a effort – such activities, when proposed in the traditional marketing environment, usually don’t bring great results or engagement.

Gamification is based on reward and recognition. Players are rewarded with points and badges. The most talented ones should be recognized on a special leaderboard or scoreboard. E-commerce owners can appeal to the competitive nature of consumers and provide them with an incentive for action.

The 4 main components of gamification are as follows:

  • Instructions – consumers are given full instructions on what to do. Of course, lengthy descriptions of the game should be avoided – make sure that rules are written in a clear and understandable language.

  • Challenge – providing your target audience with a challenge, you’re motivating them to take part in the game. They can either challenge themselves or try to beat other players in the game.

  • Reward – this is a crucial part of the gamified process. Promising rewards such as coupons, discounts or products, you’re building a sense of trust so make sure to deliver these promises.

  • Motivation – even when a user completes all stages of the game, gamified tactics will still help you to motivate them to repeat everything once again. You know how it goes in a game – you can always achieve a greater result faster or better. Offer better rewards for larger scores and you can be sure that your target audience is hooked on the game.

Strategies for ecommerce gamification

Now that you have an idea about the basic components of gamification, here are some strategies tailored specifically for the purposes of e-commerce:

Daily reward points

Giving out points, you’ll be using one of the most characteristic gamification techniques. Offering daily points for performing actions on your website will inspire customers to return over and over again – not only when they need something, but every single day. Make sure to have a leaderboard to display the highest- scoring users – it will motivate others to follow their lead and achieve even better results.

Reward programs

How many times have you see rewards given for joining a program, subscribing to a service or recommending the service to a friend? This is a popular strategy used by brands to engage customers and bring in new people to e-commerce websites.

A variety of this kind of reward are loyalty programs, which don’t include points, but discounts on the next orders depending on how much a consumer spent in a store. Such programs have been shown to increase the average order value and the overall number of returning customers.


Another gamification classic are badges – you can reward consumers for completing tasks and give them badges that indicate their belonging to a group with certain privileges. For instance, you can make VIP users from those consumers who submitted at least 5 reviews of your products and made 5 orders at your store.


Any kind of competition has a gamified touch to it. Making consumers compete against each other in earning points and performing specific tasks, you’ll drive engagement and market your brand as exciting. Make sure to run your competition before holidays – a brand egg hunt before Easter is a great idea.

Likes and shares

Finally, you can use gamification to engage your target audience on social media. Award users who write reviews for your products with points. Extra active users – those who share your content on social media and actively participate in the online conversation – should also receive a reward for their engagement since they’re vital to building a community around your store.

Examples of gamification in action – content marketing and social media

Now that we’ve covered the theory, it’s time to see it all in practice. Here are 4 excellent examples of gamification used for content marketing and social media.


A part of Nike+ campaign, NikeFuel motivated consumers to use the brand’s measurement technologies when doing sports and instantly share their results on social media. Consumers were simply to compete against each other with an app that measured their physical activity and transcribed it into points, rewarding users for their effort.

To unlock special trophies and badges, users were motivated to share their results on social media, increasing the brand’s visibility on the web. This is how Nike motivated consumers to repeat selected tasks with growing excitement.

M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel

A great example of gamification in action, M&M’s created a simple game as part of their M&M’s Pretzel marketing campaign. The game was a picture full of candy with one small pretzel hidden among them. Consumers had one task – find the pretzel. The results of this simple game were incredible – it generated over 25,000 likes on the company’s official Facebook page, more than 6,000 shares and around 11,000 comments!

Pleasure Hunt by Magnum Ice Cream

Magnum has recently launched the fourth edition of this incredibly popular web game. In Magnum Pleasure Hunt, the player controls a woman and helps her to collect specific items. Moving around the Magnum website, the character quickly jumps outside and visits other brand websites that are made fun and interactive.

Completing the pleasure hunt, users are invited to share their achievement on social media, and challenge their friends to beat their result, consequently increasing the brand’s visibility across social media platforms and motivating others to join in the game.

Heineken US Open Instagram Contest

An example of a brilliantly executed gamified social media campaign is Heineken’s 2013 Crack the US Open contest held on Instagram. Heineken put together over 200 photos to create a large mosaic of tennis fans sitting on the stands. Following a series of clues in photo captions, users were to reach the final photo and comment a special codeword to win tickets. Definitely better than your regular giveaway contest! The 7 photo hunts attracted 1,500 people and Heineken noted a 20% increase in follower number of their @Heineken_US account.

Remember that games wouldn’t be games if not for the element of risk to them. When launching a gamified process on your e-commerce website, make sure that the rules are transparent, progress noted and the best players are recognized. Needless to say, gamification is a powerful tool for driving consumer engagement and brand marketing for the purposes of e-commerce.

The article was contributed by Marleen Clover of a UK store closing times directory –

Sectors: Marketing Services
Countries: Europe
Topics: E-commerce
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