We are all time poor and, in today’s busy world, businesses have to stay innovative to capture attention and encourage brand loyalty. Gamification isn’t new but it is still not widely used within B2B loyalty. The integration of game-design elements in non-game scenarios, particularly in loyalty programmes, can provide a significant uplift in engagement, retention and, in turn, revenues.
Whilst we see many companies promoting a game on their programmes, gamification is much more than this. It's about strategically applying game mechanics like scoring, competitions, and rules of play, to encourage desired behaviours in non-game scenarios.
Take a look at the functional elements of your programme and think about how you could ‘gamify’ them. Look at how LinkedIn encourages members to complete their profile, using skills and endorsements like badges that you would get in a game. Data is one of the most valuable outcomes of a loyalty programme, so encouraging members to complete their profile using game mechanics will quickly add value for your business.
The Merits of Merging Gaming with Loyalty
Gamified experiences are immersive and addictive. By transforming routine transactions into interactive experiences, you can motivate customers to more frequently engage with your brand. Gamified experiences are also more likely to encourage members to share stories and experiences.
Deeper Emotional Loyalty
As customers achieve milestones, earn rewards, or unlock achievements, they associate those positive emotions with your brand. We talk a lot about going beyond transactions, and gamification is an easy way to achieve this. Customers want to feel valued, and this type of gamification is a way of demonstrating their value to you as a business.
Rich Data Collection
Gamified loyalty programmes can be a goldmine for customer insights. You can track interactions, achievements and more to understand preferences and buying behaviours. You can embed extra data collection points within a gamified experience to drive deeper understanding of your customers, and then use that data to personalise their experience.
Incorporating Gamification into Your Loyalty Programme
Although accumulating points can be classed as gamification, it is so commonplace within loyalty that you need to offer something else to reap the rewards. Think about how you can introduce multipliers or a weekly leaderboard of points accumulation or even a random reward on next log in. All of these actions will drive engagement and anticipation. Ensure that you personalise the multipliers to each individual. Jeff Bezos once said: “If we want 20 million customers, we need 20 million ‘stores’”. You don’t have to create this level of personalisation, but use your customer segments to create competition or a feeling of community.
Using the data that you collect within your loyalty programme should enable you to segment your customers. Tiers are commonplace within loyalty programmes and have been an expected component since the first airline programmes launched in the 1980s.
. Make the tiering easy to understand and highlight the benefits that customers can expect when moving up a tier. As customers ascend the tier levels you can start to offer richer, more exclusive rewards.
Quests & Challenges
Quests are a staple part of gaming and in loyalty programmes are re-imagined as challenges. Think about what challenges you could ask your customers to achieve - complete 5 reviews this month for a bonus 100 points. Challenges can drive specific customer actions and increase interaction frequency.
Digital badges are a great way of creating engagement with members and encouraging them to earn more by interacting more with the programme. Think about how you could take some of those badges offline and send out physical badges, tokens or stickers. These tangible items can serve as symbols of status and commitment.
Think about how you can integrate your programme with your social media channels. Allowing customers to share their milestones will create an environment of healthy competition and brand promotion. This can be one of the hardest steps to get right, so make sure that you have the right channels integrated with the right monitoring functionality in place to monitor and support this activity.
Making the Most of Gamified Loyalty Programmes
Simplicity is Key
Keeping the rules and mechanics simple allows for greater engagement. Ensure that your communication is also clear and straightforward; complicated earning or reward metrics can deter member participation as customers find it either too confusing or too complicated to understand.
Tailoring the experience to the individual member or account is crucial to creating lasting loyalty; customers want to feel valued and as though they matter to the brand. Use the data you have gathered to offer personalised challenges; for instance, if a customer only orders every other month, why not challenge them to increase their order frequency, such as: "Place an order every month for the next 6 months and unlock a special discount".
Refresh and Renew
Keep any activity fresh to make sure that your customers keep coming back to see what they can earn next.
Case Study: A Success Story for The Bathroom Showroom
The Showroom Rewards programme celebrated its 5th Birthday in September 2021 and the Bathroom Showroom wanted to create a campaign that used gamification in its delivery and rewarded members for increased engagement with the platform.
The Bathroom Showroom launched the ‘Spin to Win’ campaign with a desire to provide a more fun online interaction for their members as well as the primary objective of increasing logins and engagement.
At the end of the first month the platform saw a 23% increase in unique customer logins, when compared to the previous month, and also recorded the highest logins of the whole year so far. In the second month unique member logins increased again by a further 19%.
The increase in logins resulted in 39% extra page views across the site and had a knock-on effect throughout the business in both sales and activity. Members who had re-engaged in the platform were responsible for a 21% uplift in qualifying sales revenue. In addition, there was a 25% increase in the number of reward redemptions compared to the previous month thus re-affirming the relationship between The Bathroom Showroom and the installer by rewarding them for purchasing.
When executed with care and precision, gamification in loyalty programmes can be a transformative tool. There's huge potential for brands to create engaging, rewarding, and memorable experiences that drive both loyalty and sales. Stay ahead of the curve, and consider how gamification can fit into your brand's loyalty strategy.