The Gamification of the Shopping Experience

In Digital Strategy, Gamification by MediaVision

According to “Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.”ITCrowd

It’s not just for computer geeks; the trend is spreading amongst brand marketers by capitilising on the reward and recognition systems from video games and applying them to everyday consumer behaviour. And it seems to be working.

Gamification has grown substantially over the last couple years and some retailers are using these tactics pretty damn effectively, whilst others are watching quietly from a distance waiting for the time to make their move. There is no denying that it’s a hot topic right now amongst digital marketing teams and it’s not hard to see why.
The idea is that by adding gaming elements (like small challenges and rewards) to the sales process, you can increase customer loyalty. As in every game or competition, the participants have to be motivated by a valuable reward. The greater the reward, the more you can ask people to do to earn the reward.

It’s fun, it’s interactive and it can bring a brand to life by giving it a personality. Here are some retail brands that are taking Gamification on board:

Shop Direct

It was announced yesterday that Shop Direct are looking at Gamification within their digital marketing strategy. They are looking for ways to reward their customers with points, badges and leaderboards when they shop, write on help forums or post reviews. They are expecting the reviews, in particular, to drive conversion rates up by as much as 10% on certain products.


Back in 2011, Nike created an online game which was a part of their experimental ‘Winter’s Angry’ campaign. Players had to help athletes stay warm while they trained outside in the cold, and entrants competed for a trip to meet one of these athletes. The website also allowed users to buy the new Nike winter clothing worn by each of the athletes.
It was a simple competition, but engaging and effective in driving awareness to its new product range.


eBay has been gamifying the shopping experience for years. They are ‘arguably’ the leaders in this e-Commerce space and there is speculation in the industry that they are working on some very exciting innovations.

eBay has a powerful bidding system, an intricate feedback application, and star awards system for power-rated sellers. They’ve helped people become entreprenuers and made buying and selling online a lot more fun.

Gamification pioneer Yu-kai Chou shared a couple of awesome slides that he put together for an eBay workshop that he hoped would help people understand Gamification better – a great insight into Gamification as a whole.


In December 2011, luxury fashion house Valentino launched a virtual 3D museum. The downloadable desktop application for Macs and PCs allowed viewers to navigate through various galleries, clicking over 300 virtual dresses and pulling up original sketches, advertising campaigns, 5,000 archival images and nearly 95 fashion show videos.

The virtual museum had over 10,000 downloads its first day.




As tech savvy, social consumers, we look to apps and social networks for inspiration and advice on what to buy. We post images of things we want to buy to Facebook or Pinterest, we look to our friends for advice. Gaming feels like a natural extension of that. The question is: will social gaming, like social media, become critical for cultivating customer relationships?

And is this the future of interactive brand building…. will a gamified service for consumer goods, marketing and retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon?

I’m excited to find out.

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