Top Three Ways to Drive Customer Loyalty Through Gamification
The idea of motivating customers through rewards is hardly a new concept. At a time when our wallets are bursting at the seams with reward cards, punch cards and coupon cash, how can a brand stake a claim at the forefront of a customer’s mind and motivate genuine loyalty? A run-of-the-mill loyalty program doesn’t quite cut the mustard in today’s high-stakes economy. Gamification is a motivating strategy, that consists of integrating gaming techniques into a loyalty program in order to motivate engage, and solidify positive customer brand loyalty.
Take Despicable Me, for example. Approaching the DVD release date of this blockbuster movie, NBC Universal went game on with their gamification-laced marketing campaign. Universal promoted online gaming and challenges, encouraged collection of as many “minions” as possible and awarded desirable prizes to those with the most minions earned. This became a national trend and just like that, Despicable Me was in the top ten of the company’s annual DVD sales. How and why can you make the most of a gamification strategy for your business?
1. Customer Engagement
A surefire way to boost customer loyalty is to make sure your customers are engaged and invested in their relationship with your company. Starbucks Rewards is a highly effective example of retaining loyalty of customers. Not only are you rewarded upon initial sign-up for the loyalty rewards program (with a free cup of coffee on your birthday), the more you return to Starbucks, the more perks you receive! With a tiered rewards program, customers are consistently striving to reach the next level, therefore becoming much less likely to shop with a competitor for their next purchase.
Another facet of developing a successful customer loyalty program is the point in which a customer has a meaningful relationship with a brand. Gamification can ignite a connection with a retailer that has not been established with another brand, further encouraging customer retention. Facebook incorporated gamification strategies that have continually prompted people to keep coming back for more (Candy Crush, anyone?). The competitive nature of human beings combined with the desire to achieve make it almost impossible to pass up a friendly challenge. What happens next? The customer inadvertently refers friends, reaches out for more rewards and keeps striving for the next level. It’s almost addictive!
Customer engagement is a natural consequence of gamification. The beauty in this marketing strategy is that it’s wonderfully effective and very little effort or prompting is necessary on the business end once the campaign has been initiated.
2. Customer Reviews
The wide reach of customer voices online is undoubtedly a vital factor of business success. It is increasingly rare for a consumer to make a purchasing decision (online or otherwise) without searching the web for customer reviews on a brand or retailer. Customer reviews of a product are often presented without even being sought out.
Considering the importance of positive customer reviews, why not use gamification to encourage your loyal customers to give their valuable feedback? Teleflora employed a strategy to motivate customers to submit their reviews in exchange for loyalty points. Teleflora awarded points to customers for sharing reviews, answering product related questions, sharing on Facebook and other meaningful interactions on the website to increase engagement. Additional bonus points were awarded for first review of a product. This encouraged users to take out time of their busy schedule and write reviews for the brand. Teleflora leveraged these reviews online to build trust and credibility for the brand. With the help of this strategy, Teleflora was able to drive enhanced customer loyalty.
3. Social Sharing and Referrals
Everyone knows that the most powerful form of advertising is word of mouth, and social media is today’s front porch. Social sharing has taken business referrals to new heights. Combined with gamification, referrals and social media are just that much more effective for your business. Rewards and loyalty points can be offered to incentivize participation in various gamification strategies.
Predator Nutrition implemented a referral campaign on its website and leveraged gamification tactics to motivate website visitors to engage with the brand. The brand encouraged its buyers to refer their products to friends/family via social media channels. In return, Predator Nutrition offered attractive discount of 10% off on their next order along with loyalty points. This strategy assisted the brand to boost high quality referral traffic onto its website resulting in increased conversions. The referral traffic on the website converted into sales at an astonishing rate of 25.23%.
There are countless loyalty rewards programs and just as many tactics to ensure customer retention. Gamification is just one way that is increasingly effective and popular in the world of rewards and incentives. Choose what is relevant for your business, and don’t be afraid of testing out various aspects of gamification to find out what works best for you. To learn more about effective customer retention strategies and how gamification can play a critical role in boosting customer engagement on your website refer to this information-packed customer loyalty guide available for download.
Samir Palnitkar is the President at ShopSocially, a unified marketing platform for referral and loyalty solutions. He is a serial entrepreneur who has done four successful startups prior to ShopSocially. He has over 20 years of industry experience, has been awarded five technology patents and has written two technical books.