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Cha-Ching! Gamification Rings Up Results

SMB Retail – Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve heard of the wildly popular gaming app Pokémon GO (we recently reported on it here), where players participate in a virtual reality scavenger hunt trying to catch characters anywhere and everywhere they spontaneously appear. The media is in a full-on frenzy, with headlines covering everything from the game’s $200 million revenues to freak accidents, cybersecuirty implications and business perks.

According to Boston Retail Partner’s 2015 CRM Survey, 87 percent of retailers plan to use gamification to engage customers within the next five years. Robert Cuthbertson, VP at Boston Retail Partners, writes, “In the past, it was as simple as bumper stickers on a car, scratch-off tickets, or being the 100th customer. Now, with AR (augmented reality), retailers can enhance the game, offer a richer customer experience, and learn something about the customer in a fun and engaging way. Instead of flicking virtual Poké balls at digital cartoon characters, AR can be used to help customers learn about products and promotions. In fact, several brands are already leveraging AR. For example, Lego uses AR to show customers what a completed kit would look like, Converse helps customers try on new shoes and Ikea helps customers envision the placement of furniture in their house. While interesting, this is just scratching the surface of the power of AR.”

Love it, hate it, or sick of hearing about it, the Pokémon sensation has fueled curiosity about gamification among retailers struggling to find the right mix of loyalty and rewards to bring customers in the door. They’re asking themselves if gamifying loyalty is the key to opening the elusive millennial wallet. And according to one company, the answer is yes, and then some.

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