eCommerce

Gamification in retail, marketing and E-Commerce

The E-Commerce industry, just like every other industry, is facing great challenges when it comes to customer retention, conversion and engagement. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is higher than ever. So how can you make your business stand out? Knowing your customers’ intrinsic motivation, meeting their needs using external motivators in order to create urgency and relevance, as well as helping them succeed in their ambition to make good purchases, can be easily accomplished using gamification.

What is gamification the field of E-Commerce?

Today, technologies for GEO-fencing, data-driven and algorithmically driven gamification, as well as emerging technologies as sensors, Augmented Reality (AR) and QR-codes are all becoming industry standard. The key is that today’s customers are really close to their mobile devices and so the customer experience needs to be tailored to fit that perspective. The customers are digital beings; their behaviours can be tracked and monitored and services can further adapt to those behaviours.

However, the really powerful application is when you create loyalty programmes, interlaced with the actual core loop and service experience of the brand, and have it resemble games, using game mechanisms to offer a more enjoyable experience. This incorporates learning, development and guidance in more economic behaviour to customers who, in exchange, demonstrate customer loyalty and “pay” with their level of engagement with the brand.

Gamification vs Loyalty programmes?

Gamification differs slightly from loyalty programmes. Most loyalty programmes aim to offer economic benefits from the continuous use of services. Game mechanisms in themselves, however, do not provide economic benefits for the users but are believed to add value to the service via transformation of the usage motivations and intentions.


Gamification drives user loyalty by creating a playful experience rather than just adding an economic benefit. The experience is designed to meet customers’ needs and to add value to their experience rather than rewarding them with points for their consumer behaviour.

Gamification and brand engagement

Research has shown that “gamified” interactions, which are highly interactive and optimally challenging, are positively related to the emotional and cognitive dimensions of brand engagement. The research also suggests that there are reasons to believe that “gamification can positively affect brand engagement”.

When customers interact with immersion-related features such as storytelling, narrative structures and role-play mechanics, they can be predicted to be more likely to have positive feelings, passion and express more enthusiasm toward a specific brand.

Some Gamification examples from E-Commerce

Loyalty Programmes at Starbucks

Starbucks introduced gamification in loyalty programmes already in 2009, in order to improve customer retention. Every time a purchase is made the customer receives “loyalty stars” that can be redeemed for free coffee, birthday gifts and personalised offers. This led to a 26% increase in profits. This also increased the usage of mobile app purchases & payments.

Woot.com – “Deal of the Day”

Woot.com (a part of Amazon) creates an urgency for shopping by limiting the time frame, products offered and stock quantity. This brings a challenge for the customers to revisit the site, in order not to miss an opportunity, and increases the engagement of visitors as well as customer retention.

GWEN in the E-Commerce industry

GWEN as a solution can be implemented in different contexts. Insert Coin has designed many concepts to both retail, in a multi-channel perspective, and E-Commerce, in pure online perspectives. Gamification concepts can be built into various customer journey angles, e.g. loyalty programmes or campaigns, depending on the overall goal to achieve. The means of rewarding different events over several channels create a powerful mechanism.

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