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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : December 03, 2013

How games are changing ecommerce

Concepts of gamification and promotion have long been used as persuasive tactics to drive participation and engagement. Instant win games, frequent flyer programs and refer-a-friend programs are examples of how marketers incorporate game mechanics into basic business operations. By rewarding users and players for taking actions or providing information, the desire for status, achievement and competition can be harnessed and leveraged. This is a huge opportunity for ecommerce.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How are games changing the ecommerce space?:

Tara Armstrong, Vice President of Analytics and Strategy at Realtime Media: Marketers and merchandisers encourage shoppers to write product reviews, share products on social media sites, and of course, purchase. Gamification directly enhances their ability to do that. Rewards can include points, discounts, badges, levels, free shipping and more. At Realtime Media, our platform rewards participants for sharing activities on popular social sites with additional chances to win prizes or receive a coupon. For ecommerce activation, we recommend incorporating progress bars and leaderboards to bring out the competitive nature in shoppers. Simply adding fun and game-like elements, like a timer to create a sense of urgency, or progress bar to provide a sense of accomplishment, drives a lift in the completion and reduces abandonment.

Kristina: What is the connection between gaming and loyalty?:

Tara: Gaming can benefit from the learnings within real-world loyalty programs. The offering of points and unlocks are great mechanics but to be effective must align with a value exchange where achievement means something. From prizes or discounts, redeemable points, or exclusive content and status, the desire for the extrinsic "carrot" and instrinsic motivation should be working in tandem. For marketers, gaming builds the framework for a user experience that drives loyalty.

Kristina: The 2013 holidays are here, is there still time for advertisers to create/launch sweepstakes/giveaways?

Tara: Absolutely. A holiday campaign should be integrated across all channels and include gaming or promotions to activate and convert customers as marketers spend dollars driving consumers to the shopping experience. In the digital space, games like Instant Wins and Contests are rolled out in a matter of days, along with legal compliance. The games are simple, quick, and easy to play - which is critical for the time-pressed consumer. All the while, allowing merchants to capture data and immerse the customer with the brand and holiday merchandise.

More from Tara and RealTime Media later this week, including how to build loyalty through game playing.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: game trends, gamification trends, loyalty games, loyalty marketing, online gaming, RealTime Media

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