Customer acquisition has always been expensive when compared to customer retention. Even when in-depth research in this field has provided marketers with an effective solution to keep up with customer retention, tighter competition and technological advancements have made it challenging for businesses to design loyalty programs that specifically stand out.
Hence, gamification of Loyalty Programs is a powerful attribute, which if successfully incorporated can bring noticeable changes to the business. The evolution and expansion of telecommunication and applied science has led to the growth of the gamification market by almost 30.31%.
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What does Gamification in Loyalty Programs Mean?
Gamification of loyalty programs have had a certain hype that has only increased if statistically seen. To simplify the process of gamification, which is mostly incorporating some attributes of game playing into a brand’s very own drafted loyalty solution to enhance marketing strategies and bring better results from the business point of view.
Gamified Loyalty is mostly about the thrill of acquiring rewards and recognition from a brand. Though initially bringing in competition can lead to more and more customers yearning to get a positive response, most customers over a period of time can get tired of never winning or making it to the top. This can lead to the gradual weakening of the overall loyalty program when customers get left behind with the same old propositions without any exciting variations.
Gamify the shopping experience using Loyalty Programs
The introduction of loyalty programs mostly took place to create a special place for dedicated customers, who are the loyal advocates of a brand. With time, the marketing arena stood out to be extremely competitive, due to easy access to alternatives, and even refined shopping experience. The idea of gamification was simply constructed to drive greater customer engagement. To define the relationship between gamification and increased customer engagement, it is important to understand a customer’s perspective and list the things that have made gamification an enticing twist to the otherwise traditional loyalty system. The idea of gamification directly reflects on several aspects of human psychology including the urge to win, prize seeking behavior, competitiveness and as the millennials would refer to it- “FOMO”.
How to Gamify your Loyalty Program?
Most marketers and business experts opt for gamification to make their loyalty programs more enticing and to eventually derive greater customer retention and engagement. Even though the word “Gamification” is already glorified in the marketing context, assimilating the best gamification strategies to your brand’s loyalty program is not as easy as it seems. We have mentioned few highly effective strategies that will help your brand derive maximum profit from gamifying loyalty programs-
- Fun induced Competitions- There can be no other great way of gamifying your loyalty program other than inducing competitiveness that will directly motivate customers for active engagement. While statistics show that over 87% of North American retailers are planning on implementing gamification strategies to their loyalty programs, over 30% of US based companies have already noticed improved conversion rates by using gamification induced registration. A brand can successfully add competitiveness to their loyalty solution by drafting a customized leaderboard or by announcing weekly winners with enticing giveaways.
- Enticing customers with the exclusivity of VIP clubs– Gamified loyalty programs can offer exclusive membership to customers as an achievement reward. Customers feel appreciated and valued when gifted with VIP memberships that provide them with dedicated and wholesome experiences that feel personal. For example when a customer completes a goal or achieves something they can be rewarded with an exclusive membership of a beauty club. Such gamification processes are incredibly effective towards creating brand awareness, increasing brand engagement and motivating fellow customers to live up to that exclusivity.
- Affixing value to smallest milestones– Traditional Loyalty Programs often make customers run out of patience as the process of reaching the required number of points to be rewarded with something is long and intricate. Now that most businesses are gamifying their old traditional loyalty programs, customers are spared from the long wait after which they were finally handed off their rewards. By the unique process of gamification, different types of rewards can be set for each and every action, making certain of the fact that every customer is rewarded.
- Points and scores equivalent to experience– Gamification has overall blessed the entire loyalty program structure. The points and scores are no longer restricted to instore rewards. With gamification, brands are adding twists to their otherwise traditional loyalty programs. The collected rewards and scores can now bring about enticing experiences for customers that the brand can easily determine by analyzing data. For example, spare points can be used by customers to enjoy experiential rewards like concert tickets, free subscriptions and early access to an exclusive product.
- Rewards is the key– Customers love when surprised with unpredicted rewards. The recent gamification strategies are all about designing a loyalty program that is fun and exciting to indulge in and interact with everyday. Before designing an effective gamification strategy for your reward program, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what entices and motivates your customers.
- Surprise and delight features like assigning badges – On top of earning points or benefits, surprise your customers by awarding them badges for different types of behavior. This behavior could be transactional like making 3 purchases within a month to engaging behavior like writing 10 reviews a month. Badges are often used by companies as a way to motivate customers to engage more with a brand. Badges can be displayed across the shopping experience and unlock specific benefits for customers.
- Create Leaderboards– Everyone loves competing for a prize. Leaderboards are a great way to indicate your standing against other shoppers of the brand. Display point standings, highest earners, top weekly gainers on the leaderboard for customers to be encouraged to interact and spend more with the brand.
What are Gamification Strategies?
Effective Gamification Strategies that work exceedingly well when adapted to any marketing scenario-
- Designing a level playing field, that will be shared across for impartial and unbiased judgements. Share scoreboards, charts and every detail to update customers about their growth, rather than keeping them in a shadow of confusion.
- Flashy rewards aren’t always exclusive. Don’t overemphasize rewards as it creates a long term responsibility for the brand and sets unnaturally high expectations.
- The key to designing the best gamification strategy is to do a detailed study before starting with the initiation of the process. To know your audience, to have a distinctive idea on the rate of participation and the result is the first and the most crucial step that needs to be determined.
- Your loyalty program should reward every customer who is a dedicated brand advocate.
How do you value your Loyalty Program?
Loyalty Programs are proven to be effective in building a solid customer base along with creating a reputed brand identity. Over 30% of marketers still feel that their customers do not see the value behind joining a brand’s loyalty program and almost 66% of them feel that once being a part of the solution, their spending behavior often changes, based on the amount of rewards drawn. To make your loyalty program sustain effectively for a long period of time, it is crucial to add transparent and perceptible value to your program.
A brand’s loyalty program should have desired achievements and obtainable achievements carefully balanced. Instead of giving points to your loyal customers, give them something that satisfies their urge of instant gratification. Almost all well structured and effective loyalty programs provide attainable rewards to their customers. It is very important to ensure that your customers of highest value are receiving tangible advantages right after they join a loyalty program. While most brands separately focus on gamification and personalization in a way to add value to their loyalty program, it is actually of a higher probability that integrating both of these methods can lead to more noticeable positive changes. To simplify, gamifying a loyalty program can be efficiently done after a thorough data analysis that will help the brand understand the nature of competition that will actually boost customer engagement. Not all competition and games attract the attention of customers. Personalizing games based on customer interest is a great way to add value to your loyalty program.