Want to improve the participation on your customer loyalty program? Explore gamified loyalty program.
Ever bought a coffee and got a stamp? Collected 10 stamps and got a free coffee? Stamps, badges, cards, points…these game-like tactics or gamification has been a part of marketing strategies for ages. And this trend has caught on with eCommerce as well.
Consider these statistics for gamification loyalty programs and gamification rewards programs:
- Gamification helps increase customer interaction by upto 40%
- Gamification can boost customers’ browsing time by 30%
- 93% of eCommerce marketers love gamification
- Starbucks gamified rewards app drew in 25% more loyal customers
- KFC Japan increased sales by 106% with the help of gamification
But how do gamified loyalty programs really work?
Gamification brings psychology into play. Most people play games at a high level of engagement. Games have the power to pull people’s attention in. Not just attention, games induce emotions, too – happiness, excitement, etc.
These are the powerful tools that help brands pull customers in. Through gamification, you can use clever tricks and techniques to influence your customers’ emotions, and get them to take desired actions.
Gamification can be used in various ways on your Shopify store. You could even combine it with your loyalty program. Don’t know how? We’ll tell you all about it and also introduce you to the gamification loyalty app you can use for it!
Loyalty programs have become a common element of online stores. According to Gartner, 71% of retail businesses have a loyalty program.
But with so much competition, every brand is beefing up their program to create more personalization and emotional connection for customers. And one tactic that’s common across loyalty programs is gamification.
Gamification of loyalty programs is when you bring in game-thinking or games into your loyalty program with the goals to improve customer engagement, increase sales and strengthen customer loyalty.
For example, buy products worth $500 and earn double the reward points. Or cross a certain threshold of points and upgrade to a higher level of rewards. These are all gamification tactics that apply the diversion mechanics to influence customers’ actions.
Online gamified loyalty programs also leverage customer data to offer personalized and relevant experiences that add value to the brand’s relationship with the customers.
Gamified loyalty programs have many more advantages for eCommerce retail brands.
Every other online store has a loyalty program in place; but let’s take a look at why gamified loyalty programs are gaining popularity in e-commerce.
Games stir emotions. To many, they remind of childhood. Games instantly excite and engage us. When you provide a well done loyalty program with gamification, you can induce emotions and get customers to take actions.
Imagine a mundane loyalty program based merely on sales – you buy products worth a certain amount and earn some reward points. And that’s that.
But what if the loyalty program is combined with exciting activities? For example, you receive free points once you collect a certain number of points. Or you get to compete with other customers to reach the next loyalty tier.
Gamification improves not just the numbers of loyalty programs – attracting more new customers, increasing the number of loyal customers, but also helps build strong customer relationships.
Gamification involves multiple steps as opposed to a one-time transaction or offer. This helps increase engagement because customers will keep coming back and engage with the multi-step method of earning loyalty points.
Moreover, gamification enables you to use different tactics to improve engagement during low engagement periods.
For example, offer reward points simply to log in to the customer account or to refer a friend. These non-purchase activities can also help increase engagement.
Again, gamification brings in long-term engagement as customers would keep coming back for more. When customers interact more with brands, they start to feel like they’re a part of the brand. This builds a stronger connection between the brand and the customer. The result: improved brand value.
For example, when you ask customers to download your loyalty program app and offer a discount, they feel they received something valuable. Offers like these build deeper relationships with customers and reinforce the value of your brand.
Gamification can keep customers engaged and make them keep coming back. This deepens engagement and leads to increased CLV.
Besides, every time customers interact and engage with your brand, you can collect valuable data that can be used to craft personalized and more targeted campaigns to increase sales.
Gamification of loyalty programs is not only about sales. Gamification also helps provide non-transactional experiences to customers. How? Through AI and machine learning.
You can use AI and machine learning to craft personalized offers and events that motivate customers to take action.
This way, you can offer your customers what they want, when and how. You can adapt these experiences to customers’ needs and preferences. This, in turn, enhances customer engagement.
When you plan to gamify your loyalty program, you should know the end goals you have in mind. When you know the outcome you desire, you’d be able to gamify it better. Besides, your goals will help you track your progress by measuring those metrics.
Since you’re using gamification to engage your customers, it’s critical that you align your program with your customers’ interests. Hence, you should begin by getting an understanding of your customers.
If you have broad-base customers across demographics, you would have to gamify in such a way that it appeals to all your customers, and not just one segment.
One way to create a good gamified loyalty experience for a broad audience base is to look at how other brands with similar audiences engage their customers. Another thing you could do is ask your customers what they’d like.
To truly engage your customers, you’d have to create a gamified experience that includes a plot – what exactly should customers strive for when they use your loyalty program? To do this, you could center the plot around your brand.
For example, ask yourself how your loyalty program is different from other brands? What makes your program unique and appealing to customers? How would you build a program exclusive to your brand? When you answer these questions, you’d be in a better position to build your loyalty program plot.
The average adult spends three to four hours a day on mobile. Today’s customers want everything to happen on their fingertips, in a few clicks. From shopping to payments, returns to loyalty programs – customers use mobile to perform all activities.
To engage your customers in your loyalty program, make your gamified program a part of your business app. If you don’t have an app, it would be a smart idea to set up one just for the loyalty program.
Create interesting ways to make your loyalty program a part of your social media strategy. For example, you could offer reward points for social sharing. You could also build communities around your loyalty program on social media platforms, etc.
It is important to create goals that are exciting and at the same time, not difficult to reach for customers. If you make earning reward points difficult, customers would lose interest. Also, structure your program in such a way that customers can easily understand it and track their progress. When customers see they’re earning points, they feel more confident in the program and the brand.
Getting your new members to engage with your loyalty program can be challenging. However, you can beat this challenge by offering reward points simply for participating in the gaming activities that you create.
Gamification is all about fun and games, hence, it’s important to bring in challenges. This way, customers would have to put in efforts, which would mean they’d engage more. Make them feel that they’ve put in effort to achieve something special.
Just as in any other game, when you bring in competitiveness in your loyalty program, customers would feel more motivated to participate when they see other customers earning more points. For example, you could show social proof by showing the top earning customers and the numbers.
Your customers should be able to easily understand the how, what, why, and when of your loyalty program. If they’re confused, they wouldn’t enjoy participating. On the contrary, when things are clear to them, they would know how to earn more points.
Everyone loves good surprises. Customers especially enjoy receiving freebies and surprises from brands. It makes them feel they’ve got something more, which adds value. For example, you could give them surprise points on their birthday or on special days.
The Man Company’s loyalty program, called ‘The Man Wallet’, categorizes their customers based on the interactions they have through the loyalty program. The brand has a tiered rewards program that encourages customers to earn more points to progress to higher tiers.
To gamify the experience and drive more repeat sales, they installed Flits app. The Flits team helped them set up the tiered rewards program. Here, customers can earn reward points to upgrade to the next level.
Takeaway: The Man Company’s tier-based program plays on customers’ competitive streak by motivating them to earn more rewards to upgrade to a higher tier.
The Man Wallet gold tier page:
The Man Wallet silver tier page:
One of the most well-known points programs, Starbucks’ value-based loyalty program, gave customers two stars for every dollar they spent. Customers who collected 125 stars got a free drink. Later, the company revised their program. Now, customers can redeem 25 stars towards a free drink.
Takeaway: The program keeps customers aware of their rewards status. For example, their loyalty app sends notifications when customers are close to reaching their next tier. When customers know they’re closer to reaching 25 points they can redeem, they tend to buy more.
A classic example of gamified loyalty programs is airlines offering air miles. Most airlines offer air miles when customers purchase tickets. American Airlines’ AAPassport program lets customers earn miles when they buy tickets, as well as on everyday purchases. For example, grocery shopping, dining out, renting a car, or booking a hotel.
Once customers collect a specific number of air miles, they can use them to buy air tickets. Their program generated ROI of over 500% with customers participating 70% higher than what the airline had originally expected.
Takeaway: The program enables customers to earn points, not just on purchase of air tickets, but on everyday smaller purchases, as well, making it easy for customers to earn rewards.
As you see, there are several benefits of gamifying loyalty programs. Not only can you engage customers through different types of activities, you can also increase sales and build brand loyalty.
Are you ready to move your loyalty program to the next level by gamifying it? If yes, you’d need an efficient loyalty program tool such as Flits.