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Humans like to play games; it’s a part of our makeup. For decades, businesses have capitalized on this aspect of human nature and used games to promote customer experience and engagement. Now, with the advancement of technology – especially smartphones and wearable devices – it’s even easier to engage a wider audience using gamification.
But what’s the point of getting your customers to play games? Succinctly, customers will spend more time and resources on something that makes them feel happy, valued, and motivated. Let’s look at the benefits of gamification for businesses and then some real-life examples.
Benefits Of Gamification for Businesses
Gamification is when you turn a non-game into something fun by incorporating game mechanics and elements, e.g., shopping, browsing the internet, completing an assignment, or healthy living. Businesses use tech games and apps to turn these non-game contexts into something fun for the following benefits:
1. Increased Customer Engagement
Gamification can enhance customer and employee engagement by making tasks and activities more enjoyable and interactive. For example, by incorporating game elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges, businesses can motivate their audience to actively participate and remain engaged with their products, services, or internal processes.
2. Improved Learning and Training
Gamification can be an effective tool for training and educational purposes. From an academic standpoint, learning through play is fun and memorable. So, by turning learning materials into interactive games, businesses can enhance knowledge retention and encourage active learning. Doing so creates an immersive and engaging training experience for employees and customers alike.
3. Behavior Change and Motivation
Usually, when we play games, it’s for some reward or incentive (e.g., bragging rights or something tangible). As such, businesses use gamification to influence and incentivize desired behaviors. By using rewards, levels, and achievements, companies can motivate users or employees to perform specific actions or adopt certain habits.
For example, fitness apps often incorporate gamification elements to encourage users to exercise regularly. Or some companies offer incentives like an all-expenses-paid holiday for their “Employee of the Year.”
4. Data Collection and Feedback
Market research in the old days required a lot of effort. Nowadays, businesses can easily collect valuable user data and feedback by integrating game mechanics into their digital platforms and mobile apps. For instance, they can collect information such as the following:
- User preferences
- Behavior patterns
- Performance metrics
This data can then be used to improve products, personalize experiences, and tailor marketing strategies.
5. Enhanced Brand Loyalty and Customer Retention
Gamification can foster a sense of loyalty and connection to a brand. By creating enjoyable and rewarding experiences, businesses can develop a community of loyal customers more likely to return and advocate for the brand. Gamified loyalty programs, for instance, can incentivize repeat purchases and customer referrals.
6. Increased Productivity and Collaboration
Businesses use gamification to drive employee productivity and collaboration within the work environment. For example, by introducing tech games and game-like mechanics such as team challenges, goal tracking, and progress visualization, businesses can achieve the following:
- Motivated employees
- Healthy competition between employees
- Increased employee engagement and investment
- More collaboration
- A productive work culture
7. Marketing and Customer Acquisition
Marketers have discovered that gamification is an effective marketing strategy to attract new customers. For example, by designing interactive tech games or campaigns, businesses can create buzz, generate brand awareness, and entice potential customers to engage with their products or services.
8. Innovation and Problem-Solving
Businesses use tech games and gamification to stimulate creativity and problem-solving skills. For starters, the metrics alone provide valuable insight into user behavior. So, by integrating game mechanics into brainstorming sessions or innovation challenges, businesses can encourage employees and customers to think outside the box, collaborate, and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
Famous Gamification Examples
We’ve seen how beneficial gamification can be for businesses, especially on a technical platform. So let’s look at some real-life examples of companies with successful gamification efforts:
1. Coca Cola
Coco-Cola is well-known for promoting user experience, especially through gamification. For instance, some countries have “Free Hugs” vending machines. Customers can earn a free soft drink by interacting with the vending machine – e.g., following its prompts to hug the machine or scratch a scratch card.
2. Donut Papi
Donut Papi is an Australian-based company that uses tech games to increase customer acquisition. This marketing strategy proved successful as they doubled their customer base in two weeks. But how does it work? Customers download “Match-game” from the Donut Papi website and play the matching game. Then the person with the highest average score wins a box of donuts for the week.
Duolingo is a language-learning app that uses gamification to encourage increased customer engagement and experience. The app analyses human sentiments and learning patterns to personalize the game and make it more interactive and rewarding.
Fitbit is an electronics brand focused on tracking fitness and health. In conjunction with the Fitbit app, users can track their vitals, steps, sleep, and calories burned. The Fitbit app uses gamification to motivate customers to live healthier lifestyles by offering various rewards and challenges.
Headspace is a tech game or app designed to motivate positive well-being. The game-style app offers different meditations, activities, and reminders to users to live in the present and practice good habits. Additionally, users can earn rewards like cash back, playlists, and extended membership.
KFC partnered with Nintendo to create “Shrimp Attack” as a marketing effort for their new (and not-so-popular) menu offering. People could play the Shrimp Attack tech game on the KFC website for free and earn points and discounts for their next KFC purchase.
This marketing effort was so successful that KFC saw a 22% increase in game registrations and a 106% increase in overall sales growth.
When M&M launched a new chocolate flavor, they used a simple yet successful tech game to grow consumer interest and profit. The M&M game was a simple eye-spy game readily playable on social media platforms like Facebook. As a result of this simple yet fun marketing strategy, the brand saw a significant increase in sales and loads of followers and shares.
Starbucks is another example of a business with a successful loyalty program that uses gamification. For instance, customers earn points with their orders to claim free Starbucks products or merchandise. Additionally, those using the Starbucks app can customize their own playlists via Spotify to add to their user experience.
Tech games and gamification are helpful marketing tools in a world where sites like Lucky Creek pull in hundreds of players a day. For instance, companies can ultimately boost their profits by providing a fun and meaningful way for customers to interact with their brand. However, it is essential that businesses carefully design and implement these gamified elements to align with the target audience’s preferences and objectives.