Game On!

Person-using-SmartPhoneAs a Words With Friends fan (alright, addict), I consider myself a part of the gaming craze that has millions of smart phone owners glued to their touchscreens. Games like Words With Friends, Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, have seen major success. Some have even expanded into full-blown empires (rumor has it, we will be seeing Angry Birds on a bigger screen soon—I kid you not).

It’s safe to say there are some people doing more gaming than talking on their smart phones, and retailers are not only aware of this fact, they’re playing along.

A recent study by Retail TouchPoints, titled “Gamification In Retail,” found that gamification, the use of game-design elements in non-gaming contexts, is gaining quick momentum in the retail realm.

While Words With Friends creator Zynga brought gamification to the forefront when it filed for an IPO in December 2011, it’s location-based, check-in applications, such as shopkick, have retailers putting on their game faces.

With shopkick, users download the free app and collect “kicks,” which can later be used for rewards (i.e., free stuff!), just for walking into a retailer’s location. Count me in.

Best Buy—shopkick’s first launch partner—Target and Macy’s are just a few of the retailers that are in on the action. Check out Best Buy’s version.

According to the Retail TouchPoints study, by rewarding customers for frequent visits and purchases, these apps give retailers the resources to increase in-store foot traffic, as well as purchase rates.

The study also pointed to some interesting statistics about this growing marketing tactic:
•    Forty-seven percent of client implementations focus on user engagement, while 22 percent revolve around brand loyalty and 15 percent focus on brand awareness, according to M2 Research.
•    Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one “gamified” application.

Gamification offers a unique format to engage with customers in-store, at home and on-the-go. Retailers are keeping their brands top-of-mind and driving action simply by tapping into our human need for achievement and success.

What need? I’m not competitive.

(Triple word score!…YES! TAKE THAT!)

…looks like these retailers are on to something.

Are you a gamer? Leave your thoughts here!

-Lauren Mitchell

1 Comment

  1. That is really interesting, I have been hearing about gamification in other sectors as well.

    I wonder how exactly they will go or going about implementing this and what concepts they have? I did hear about a scavenger hunt type game hosted by a gourmet cupcake shop through Facebook and their blog.

    We have done a social media game for the last two months, we hope that these will continue to build steam with increased brand recognition in the retail sector.

    Fun, fun. I do love games. Have you played Draw Something yet?