by Apple Pineda
Customer rewards keep people coming back to make more purchases and retailers of all kinds can use the popular and proven marketing strategy known as gamification to strengthen customer retention.
Gamification is most commonly defined as the collection of points or some other metric to be turned in later for a free item or a discount, very much like a rewards program. The most successful customer retention games are fun for the consumer and also create a sense of urgency to inspire making more purchases.
As a retailer, you’ve probably seen examples of these quirky little games on social media, and anyone can get into the fun. Retailers across the country are getting inspired and trying everything from scavenger hunts to a mini version of The Amazing Race to getting their customers to sing song lyrics – all fun ways to get shoppers into their stores to be rewarded with points they can redeem in-store.
As part of a customer loyalty program, gamification provides the following key benefits:
1) Increased Sales
A gamification program motivates customers. When the goal seems easily attainable and the prize is something desirable, customers can quickly understand the value of participating. They are motivated by the promise of being able to redeem points to make a discounted-price.
Some customers may only come in to use their gamification points, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. While at your store, there is an opportunity for sales associates to build a connection and recommend other items. The customer may make additional purchases, or at the very least leave with a positive impression of you and your team. This is a win-win for you, even if the dollar amount spent per customer is not huge, your happy customer will return.
2) Non-Monetary Rewards.
Customer rewards typically represent a dollar amount that can be redeemed for certain goods in the store at a fixed exchange rate. Although rewards are not redeemable for cash, they typically have a dollar equivalent and this translates to a discount (dollars off) and instant gratification for the consumer.
The gamification prizes can be structured so that the more purchases they make, the more of a discount shoppers receive. As a retailer, you decide if you want to have specific items made or dedicated towards a reward redemption, for example: give a free pair of earrings with the redeemed points purchase, or if the reward can be applied towards any purchase in the store in the form of $X dollar off of any purchase.
You may want to have a special product only available through the program, to create extra incentives and exclusivity if this fits with your clientele. Other retailers may want to utilize the program as a way to clear out slow moving inventory.
3) Promotes Store Loyalty
Your customers will become your biggest fans if they feel engaged with your store as a fun brand. Just the fact that you are running an engaging game in-store sets you apart from other stores and can inspire an entirely new group of shoppers to come visit you.
Rewards customers become your store’s strongest advocates as they will happily tell their friends and families about the rewards program, and the positive experience they have with it, drawing additional shoppers into your store.
Making the buying process a game where rewards are given to the customer allows them to instantly feel good about your store and your brand. A gamification program keeps your store in the forefront of your customer’s minds and makes you much more likely to be their retailer of choice.