HOW GAMIFICATION CAN BOOST YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS —Gamification has long been part of the daily shopping experience. Leading brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Perrier understand the effect that entertaining shopping experiences have on customers, as do e-commerce brands Amazon, eBay, and Zappos.

If you’ve ever earned airline miles or shopping points, you’ve participated in gamification. Increasing numbers of businesses have been using gamified strategies like these to increase customer engagement and help sales. The basic principle behind gamification for customers is to make shopping fun – reward them for their participation, encourage them to continue interacting with your brand, and foster a sense of loyalty.

Gamification is a fun, yet often overlooked method of solving some of the most common yet challenging e-commerce hurdles. E-commerce businesses, irrespective of size, face certain challenges such as abandoned carts, acquiring loyalty and creating a memorable unboxing experience. All these problems have common ways to be overcome. But one overlooked method is to introduce gamification into your online store.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of using a sense of reward and achievement to encourage someone to take the desired action. Gamification can be used in many aspects of life – business, learning, training, and personal growth – and, e-commerce. Gamification is just the use of game elements and game design techniques in a non-game context – in our case, an e-commerce website. Gamification has the ability to turn what might be considered mundane and ordinary into fun and possibly addicting, a game.

Gamification principles

Prior to utilizing gamification to jumpstart your business, it’s necessary to understand the core principles. A well-designed gamification system provides users the motivation to do something (a reward), the ability or space to engage in the action, and finally the trigger to throw themselves headfirst into the “game.” Gamification in e-commerce appeared to be an extremely effective sales tool.

Gamification and Trivia, The Game Changer

Engagement is the keyword. Your gamification marketing tactics need to be such that they inspire participation and conversation. In fact, engagement and customer experience matter so much that 88% of customers are willing to pay more a better experience.

When customers are motivated by a clearly defined set of rewards they are more likely to act on them which will result in a better experience. This motivation can be set up with the help of steady interactions with the customer in the form of gamification.

There are numerous methods to set up more engagement. What better way to engage than to challenge their intellect (trivia and quizzes) and let them have some fun (gamification). Gamification strategies are an easy and effective way to simplify the buyer’s journey with little effort and reward. It elicits strong emotions as it taps into the drive to strive, compete and improve.

This is beneficial to your brand as it results in repeat engagements driven by the game. Games are fun and a little fun does no harm.

Gaming and game related industries have become wildly popular and continue to grow. The theories and elements of games are found all around us.

You might be asking yourself “Do my users even play games?” Well, as a matter of fact, we all play games. Elements of games are being injected into many aspects of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. We do not all play Xbox or Playstation but we all play games in one way or another.

Integrating Gamification Into Your Website

Doing e-commerce gamification is not an easy job. Yet, there are things to be considered before you set up your own game. The most basic part is you need to consider the game itself. There are tons of games out there. And you can’t just pick one genre and set it up to your site. Your business model and business industry are important as your basic game model.

For example, if you have an online food store, you can create a simple game like getting a random bonus when you buy a specific amount of food at one time. Or you can challenge your friend and get free food from the challenge.

There are many gamification strategies, but I want to highlight some popular and effective techniques for e-commerce. However, it is ultimately up to you find how your users are motivated and what tactic will benefit your site the most.

Achievements & Badges: Many games offer virtual rewards such as badges or achievements for completing small or large tasks. Users can show off their badges or achievement count as a status symbol and additionally, this strategy keeps users engaged by returning to earn more badges.

Countdowns: In many games, you must complete a task within a given time limit in order to win. This is just like that. A countdown is a great way to push users through the conversion funnel. If a user makes a purchase or completes a form in that time, they win (and receive the benefits associated with winning)

Point System: Users receive points when they make purchases, write reviews, refer friends, etc. Points systems are similar to loyalty programs but can have some more fun added in. Such as “player levels” and statistics associated with the user. This method is really effective at building loyalty and bringing users back to the site.

Scavenger Hunts: Online scavenger hunts are a great way to get shoppers to view multiple pages and products on your website. Companies like Wayfair have used scavenger hunts to cross-promote their Pinterest accounts which led to a 37% increase in their number of followers. Why this is so important is Pinterest’s sharing ability. Those new followers share products on their feeds that can create a viral effect for certain products.

Referral Contests: Referral contests are an excellent way to gain exposure to new leads. Promise a discount after 5 friends sign up for a newsletter, offer BOGO deals when a friend makes a purchase, and even offer cash or gift cards for referrals. Dropbox offers a referral system in which users are given storage upgrades for referring new signups. These type of referral contests keep customers interested and interacting with your brand and website. Even if referral contests aren’t for you, remember that social buying can be a powerful tool.


The customer’s journey toward a purchase is not always a rational process. They are more likely to act if there’s a clearly defined course of action with signposts leading to consecutive steps. Gamification in business helps achieve exactly that, it allows the customer to progress through a predefined set of options preferably ending with a purchase.

Small e-commerce businesses can do this exactly this to elicit a set of positive behaviors ranging from recommendation to purchase. Adding gamification strategies to an e-commerce website has proven to boost sales and increase web traffic. Achievements & badges, Scavenger hunts, referral contests, and point system are some of the most successful tactics used in the e-commerce industry.

However, you will need a web developer to create the game and run your e-commerce gamification. After that, promote it to your customer and see its magic.

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