gamify customer loyalty programs

8 Ways To Gamify Customer Loyalty Programs For Higher Engagement And Retention Rates

Learn how to gamify customer loyalty programs using psychology and conversion hacks.

To keep online store’s loyalty programs alive and kicking is hard. There’s a lot of competition among brands. Customers have many options to choose from. And after a point, when the novelty of the loyalty programs wears out, it becomes difficult to keep customers hooked.

But there’s one way that can help — gamification of loyalty programs.

Consider these statistics:

  • Gamification can help brands increase customer engagement by 47%
  • 40% of customers want brands to have games in their loyalty programs
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands if they enjoyed playing a game through the brand’s program

The numbers make it clear — gamified loyalty programs boost engagement as well as increase revenue.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to gamify your Shopify loyalty or rewards program for higher engagement.

Tried and tested ways to gamify customer loyalty programs

While the following are not the only ways to gamify customer loyalty programs; they are strategies that have been tried and tested over years by leading brands to keep customers engaged.

1. Tier-based gamified loyalty program

Tier-based gamification is designed around levels. Here, customers have to move up levels by performing tasks, challenges, or by accumulating points.

It works on the principle of excitement. We humans always want more and want to work our way up in everything we do. In tier-based loyalty programs, this desire to climb up keeps customers going from one level to the next.

More importantly, gamifying loyalty programs based on tiers shows results to customers. And that adds to the excitement.

Tier-based loyalty program gamification does two things:

  1. It provides fast customer satisfaction
  2. It gives rewards to customers

Here’s how you can make tier-based loyalty programs more exciting for your Shopify store customers:

  • Offer customers many different ways to earn points so that they engage more on your website. For example, points for every purchase, for writing reviews, for social media follows, for referring friends, on their birthday, etc.
  • Create many tiers/levels but make it easy for customers to move up, or else, they may lose interest
  • It is important to keep customers informed about how many points/rewards they currently have and at what level they are, and how many more points they require to move to the next tier
  • Make the rewards personal and relevant to customers. That way, customers will see more value in your loyalty program
  • Have different benefits/rewards for different tiers so that customers feel like they’re a part of a community and strive to move up levels to join the higher tiers

Pro tip: Just because your program is around points, it doesn’t mean it has to be only transactional. You can’t think of ways to add more meaning in it for customers

Here’s an example of how Specsavers makes their loyalty program more meaningful by allowing customers to donate the points earned through the program:

2. Social media-based loyalty program

As a new-age online brand, you must already be having an active presence on social media platforms. Most established/ growing brands tend to have thousands of followers. So, why not incorporate social media into your loyalty program to leverage those followers?

Just as the bag brand Kipling did. It launched ‘Kipling Friends’ – a social media-based loyalty program. When customers purchased an item, they were invited by email to join the loyalty program and talk about their purchase on Facebook.

If customers liked, shared, or commented on content related to the brand on Facebook, they were given 150 ‘smile points’. And for every 1000 points, they received a discount. Kipling also gave gifts as well as points on every purchase. Later, they expanded the program by taking it to their other social media platforms.

This is an easy and effective way of gamification of loyalty programs for online stores. Not only are you engaging customers on the platforms which they love engaging on, but you’re also growing your loyalty program in the process.

3. Scratch to win gamification for loyalty programs

One of the best examples of the use of scratch cards in eCommerce is Amazon. As soon as customers make purchases, Amazon sends them a digital scratch card in their email inbox. Customers have to scratch the cards virtually to reveal their rewards.

Similarly, scratch-to-win games can be incorporated into loyalty programs. For brands that are struggling to retain customers, this can be a lifesaver game.

Everytime customers make a purchase, reward them with a scratch card. One of the best rewards to give is store credits or points. For example, give customers store credits for every $100 spent. But give it via scratch cards. This way, there’s a surprise element everytime.

Here are some ways to go about scratch card-based loyalty programs:

  • Award different types of rewards in the scratch cards to keep customers curious and excited
  • Give store credits or points but set a limit or else it may eat into your profits
  • Make the rewards worthwhile or else customers might lose interest
  • You could also personalize the rewards to take your loyalty program experience to the next level. However, you’d need to put in a lot of effort and resources into this
  • Think of creative ways to make your loyalty program more valuable to your customers. For example, the reward in the scratch card could be an invitation to an offline event for your most loyal customers

Here’s an example of how Amazon offers scratch cards for different actions:

4. Give badges for different actions

Another way to gamify loyalty programs is around badges. Giving badges is a common gamification technique used by brands. In this method, customers win badges in return for different actions.

For example, the different actions could be sharing a product review, completing their profile on the customer account page, etc. In return for completing these actions, customers receive badges. These badges entitle them to some benefits.

For example, say a customer collects 5 badges and receives a discount. Next, when the customer reaches 10 badges, they receive a free product.

This game works on a simple premise – incentivize customers to take actions and get them to interact with the brand regularly. It entices customers to keep interacting with the brand to earn more badges so that they can get more benefits.

To boost engagement through badges, you could try this:

  • Enable customers to share their badges status on their social media platforms. This way, they can compete with their friends.
  • Create customer community experience around badges. You can do this by displaying customers that have earned the most badges in a week/month/year. Display this on your website or social media accounts.

Example: World of Beer gives points for every $75 purchase as well as badges that enable customers to participate in beer-drinking contests

5. Use scoreboards or leaderboards to gamify rewards programs

Scoreboards or leaderboards in loyalty programs work on the principle of competitiveness. In this form of gamification, you can rank different customers’ performance in relation to the performance of others.

Customers who perform well would be inspired to do better by looking at the scoreboard. Meanwhile, no one wants to be a loser. Customers lagging behind on the scoreboard would engage more to better their position and beat the other customers.

But how well you engage customers through scoreboards and how interesting you make your gamified loyalty program is the catch.

Some cues to keep the excitement going:

  • Make your customers feel that they have the potential to make it to the scoreboard
  • Use leaderboard rankings to create personalized content for your loyalty program customers
  • Use different types of activity snapshots from your leaderboard to engage customers

Example: Here’s a glimpse of how Peloton created a leaderboard experience by enabling its customers to compete in real-time.


6. Add spin-to-win games to your loyalty program

Spinning a wheel is an act that is hard to resist. Isn’t it? Besides, who doesn’t like surprises, right?

Spin-to-win works to gamify customer loyalty programs because:

  • You can add an element of surprise to your loyalty program by using the spin-to-win game technique
  • It puts your customers in charge so they are motivated to participate and engage
  • There’s an element of surprise and hence, the motivation to spin

You can do this digitally on your Shopify website loyalty program page or on your app. Here’s how it works.

Once customers take some actions on your website, let them spin the wheel to win prizes. You can offer different types of rewards such as discounts, store credits, gifts, etc.

Here are some different ways to make this more exciting:

  • You can allow customers to use reward points to buy a spin of the wheel
  • Make the prizes exciting and keep changing them from time-to-time
  • Make it easy to spin virtually as the act of spinning is one of the most exciting parts of this gamification technique

7. Create challenges-based loyalty programs

Another way of gamification of loyalty programs is to incorporate challenges in it. This technique helps keep the energy, excitement and interest of customers alive.

However, it depends on the type of challenges you put forth before customers. Some challenges you could incorporate are: visit your physical store during a sale, or order during slow hours of the day (for example, at 7am), etc.

You could bring in a mission instead of a challenge. For example, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand donates sales to charities that support many different causes. This not only drives repeat purchases but also makes customers feel more valuable to society. Customers are, in a way, tackling bigger challenges in society.

8. Bring in store credits in your loyalty programs

A store credit feature is very similar to cashbacks – when customers get a small amount of cash back into their account after they make a purchase; only in this case, they’re credits that can be used on the store.

This type of gamification works on the basis of customer’s interest in earning credits from their purchases. When customers get something back, they feel good about it.

To earn more store credits, they’d engage more and buy more from the brand. They can use this cash or credits as we say, to buy more from your Shopify store, hence, increase your revenue.

A store credits loyalty program can:

  • Offer higher levels of customer satisfaction
  • Boost customer retention rates
  • Increase customer spends

Gamify customer loyalty now!

Now you know why we’re so excited about gamified loyalty programs. Gamification can make programs fun, active, and interesting to keep customers engaged.

But to run a successful gamified loyalty program, you need to have a trustworthy app. Flits customer account app comes with add on features that

Create your gamified loyalty program with Flits today!

Install Flits To Set-Up Your Customer Account page Right-away

Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava
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