A widely misunderstood term, gamification. What does it mean? How does it apply to me? And how could I possibly use gamification to guide employee, partner and customer behavior.
What is Gamification?
Gamification applies to many aspects of our daily lives. Whether you realize it or not, you have participated in gamification. Have you ever shopped online where you earn reward points for each purchase you made, competitively bid on items for sale on eBay or Amazon, from Becky’s gold star on her third grade drawing to Bobby’s 14th helmet sticker for his quarterback sack, you have participated in a form of gamification since you were a kid.
Business Trends Towards an eCommerce Platfrom
Businesses across the globe are shifting towards an online eCommerce platform. With ease and simplicity, one can shop and browse from the comfort of their own home, car, plane, you name it. This shift into the “New World” of doing business does have its flaws. Where are all the human-human interactions? Everyone in customer service knows, that the human interactions are what provides the customer service touches that build the relationships which turn customers into clients and keeps them coming back for more. Acquisition of new customers is the most expensive lead generation activity, it is much better to just provide good customer service. Without having these human interactions how can an online business promote positive user behavior and engagement?
Gamification, It's the "New Thing"
This “New World” we are talking about, is the global shift towards an eCommerce based platform. According to analyst Gartner, “By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.” Gartner’s statement couldn’t be more correct, recent trends of google searches for gamification have also increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Gamification is the new thing.
How Gamification Incentivizes User Behavior
The whole point of doing business is to make a transaction, right? In order to actually make a transaction, you need to reach, attract, and sell to your customers. User behavior dictates how well you will perform as a business, how many business transactions take place and most of all, how much revenue you will pull in. As a business, if you are able to incentivize your customers to become a licensed client or a returning consumer, you could increase your overall performance. These incentives are what we call gamification. Gamification is what gives each user a positive experience, a drive to buy more. Shopping, for many, is something that is fun, interactive and exciting. With the shift to the online world, a lot of these exciting experiences we have when we walk into a store or the mall disappear. No more taking pictures with Santa. When these game theory concepts are applied to eCommerce business, users can experience the same attributes of going to the mall to shop. Gamification is the new Santa. Picture time?
How Do I Apply Gamification to My eCommerce Platform?
eBay, the king of gamification. eBay’s competitive bidding and feed-back system are two amazing ways to incentivize your business. Every time a user wins a bid, they not only receive a confirmation email, they also get a sense of winning. They feel as if they have accomplished something. This positive feeling is the entire end goal for gamification. When a buyer or seller on eBay conducts a transaction, users can rate their experiences. These ratings and reviews are another application of gamification. By giving the users the ability to rate and review other users, this gives each individual an incentive to buy and sell at the most optimal prices, to have fast shipping turn-over rates and to rate who they have bought and sold to.
Whether you are giving out daily deals like Woot.com, offering a loyalty program like Gilt Groupe, or developing a large presence in Cityville like BestBuy, you are participating in a form of gamification. These methods of appealing to your customers are what will spark their desire to continue to do business with you.
Examples of Gamification
- PowerReview's social loyalty scheme, offering points for user actions; reviews, comments, answering other customer queries and posting on Facebook
- Dropbox has an element of gamification by offering additional storage space if users complete certain tasks
- LinkedIn,encourages users to maintain accurate profiles and gives you a different status based on the amount of data you’ve included
- Step2’s ‘BuzzBoard’, rewards members for the amount of buzz they create
- Jillian Michaels gamifies her workout plans by awarding badges to users who complete their goals
- Nike created an online game where players had to help athletes stay warm while they trained outside in the cold
- eBay’s Competitive Bidding and Feedback System delivers an instant gratification or winning feeling when you win a bid or a high rating will get you more customers
- Woot.com Daily Deal System offers deals each day to users. This gives users an incentive to return for more deals
- BestBuy’s Cityville Presence, with social media exploding, BestBuy jumped in directly
- Bonobos’s Scavenger Hunt System, created a fun and exciting reward game
- Aldo’s Instagram MoodBoard displaying what mood you are in
- Gilt Groupe’s Loyalty Program for registered customers
Clarity is a global DNN Gold certified partner that specializes in the custom design, development and implementations of DNN Evoq Social communities. For more information on Evoq Social, read our review of their new version