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By Christian McGilloway, Chief Technical Innovation Officer, Retail Zoo
While gamification is a recent buzzword popular with millennials, the premise of gamification has been employed on all of us by our parents, teachers, and even spouses to either make mundane tasks exciting or to train us through rewarding good behavior.
When looking through a retail lens, it is the latter, and we try to leverage through loyalty. While we use words like reward, exclusivity, and personalization, we essentially want to train our customers into changing their frequent behaviors and not to stray off from our competitors. For years companies have employed Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory which involves associating a positive stimulus with an otherwise neutral stimulus, in our case and the case of most juice and coffee stores, purchase 10 drinks, and your 11th one is free. It is a cookie cutter loyalty play that can be implemented across multiple verticals on everything from stamp cards to mobile apps.
The retail landscape has changed considerably in the last 10 years, and loyalty is something that retailers are all struggling with. In my personal view, brand loyalty is something that is dying. With divorce in the United States sitting at 50 percent and if the Ashley Madison hack list is anything to go by, loyalty has become a fleeting tradition and over romanticised thought for human to humans, so how can we expect people to be loyal to brands. Instead, Loyalty programs are becoming more and more Rewards Programs and what better way to reward people than through gamification.
At Boost Juice, we are overhauling our loyalty program, moving our primary focus from classic conditioning to Operant Conditioning. While both classic and operant conditioning are used in computer games, classic conditioning being coin collection from either Mario or Sonic, operant conditioning compels players to reliably perform certain tasks and rewards them on completion.Our new app, currently in beta with a release in January 2018, will still offer a free drink after 10 drinks; however will offer monthly opt for challenges. These challenges range from trying a different drink, purchasing 2 drinks instead of one drink, or a drink before 11am all for instant gratification in the form of instant discount, double or triple points or a sharable gift, all being delivered in Boosts cheeky tone from our mascot Mango Man.
Mango man is the product of our first attempt at gamification from 2016; Free the Fruit. Free the Fruit marked a massive milestone in Boost’s history as they went against everything they knew about conventional marketing.
Loyalty Is The Next Logical Step To Utilize Gamification
We wanted to create a new way to engage with our core audience that was outside our current platforms (social media, retail stores etc).
The goal was simple, to create a game that embodied our brand and engaged the core consumer for long periods of time, whilst generating brand noise.
The 8 week campaign was a staggering success with $1m worth of sales on the same transaction as a FTF voucher 44 percent of coupons were redeemed Over 320,000 users clocked up a staggering 56 million minutes of gameplay equating to 173 mins per user If you think about how much brands spend in competing for 15 seconds of attention through above the line, advertising 173 minutes per user in 8 weeks was incredible.
By creating a Match 3 mobile game, there was a minimal learning curve for our customers and by having it fully integrated with our POS systems allowed for players to be rewarded with time sensitive barcodes driving them into store.
Free the Fruit seamlessly fitted into our systems nation-wide. It was a platform that we created to ensure that if felt only natural for our customers and stores with barcodes that worked with a simple scan. The app was created to be an asset we could call on at any point with additional vouchers to help drive transactions in-store.
Its advantages and benefits can be transpired through a variety of ways.
• Brand Noise; by creating brand noise we were able to become front of mind with our core audience and have them interact with us on a platform different to that of our usual communication channels.
• By increasing transactions in store it in turn benefits our Franchisees and helps to increase frequency moving forward.
• We were able to increase our loyalty database, without making this a necessity. These customers were then contactable by the business using all of our conventional digital marketing channels. We were able to send them direct EDMs, push notifications, target them through social advertising, and include them on our multiple automated customer joineries enabling us to increase their Customer Lifetime Value.
In April 2017, we produced our second game, running through Facebook Messenger. We created a dating game through a series of chatbots as part of a marketing campaign for a new Match a smoothie. Playing into our cheeky humored brand personality and target audience, users conversed with the chatbots before being presented with a voucher.
Our internal team built our own PHP API to communicate with the Facebook Messenger platform. 117,000 unique consumers came back on the second day to chat to the bot and 82 percent came back every day for five days, whilst 68 percent reached day 12. Out of those, who engaged with the bot 65 percent came into the store and redeemed their vouchers.
It is because of the overwhelming successes of both of the marketing campaigns we firmly believe that loyalty is the next logical step to utilise gamification. Customers are not as loyal as before so the promise of discount later down the track is no longer enough to entice customers to change their frequency. Continuous rewards and entertainment through gamification however has been proven in our business to change behaviour and if employed correctly it can give us a competitive advantage in this new crowded retail space.