Nowadays, with the multiplication of the competition, especially because of the Internet which gives access to all the products without moving from home, the companies and the brand have to be more creative to keep the loyalty of their customers. One of the techniques which is more and more used is the gamification, that’s why we will try to understand this process.
But what is gamification?
The gamification can be defined as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”. One of the goals of the gamification is to push the consumer to do something that he will not do by his own initiative, for example a purchase that he hasn’t planned or sharing the social media of the brands.
But gamification is not just a game it is also a serious business. Indeed some studies predict a significant growth of the market for gamification solution by 2016, date when this market should reach $2.8 billion. Moreover, Bunchball the leader in gamification affirms that gamification enables to increase time on the website but also to increase the social sharing, the brand preference and so the customer loyalty.
How could the gamification gain the loyalty of the customer?
The Gamification exploits the natural leanings of the human. Some studies have proved that when people are playing to video-games, they are creating dopamine which is the molecule originated from the pleasure of rewards. Indeed the players know that at the end they will receive a reward which can be points, free products or bonus. So the action of the gamification is to “play” with this neurotransmitter to push him to a satisfaction originated from the brand. At the end the goal is that the brain associates the brand with the creation of dopamine, so each time that the customer will be in contact with this brand, especially by playing, the brain will trigger this molecule and the satisfaction that the customer will feel will encourage him to be loyal with the brand.
Gamification is also using the science motivators as the desire of autonomy, of mastery, of competition or of progress, which conduct to the loyalty. Indeed, the customers who are attracted by those motivators will keep participate to the game. The progressive missions, levelling, role play of the customer and the interactive process, are also aspects which encourage a deeper customer engagement.
At the end the objective is to make people feel that they can’t live without it.
The types of gamification that the companies will use depend of the objectives that they want to reach, but there are two main types:
The casual game created to promote a product or a new service, for example on Facebook.
The game zones which are free websites where the users can play for free after registration.
But those two kinds of gamification are using the same mechanisms, borrow from the video games which are: the rewards, the levelling, the competition between users but also some gauge of progression and gifts or virtual money to continue the progression.
Another way to progress into the game created by the brands is to give some personal information which are the keys to pass the level. The creators of gamification are collecting information about the customers by a less formal way than the classical forms that consumers have to fill. This aspect is really important because with the collecting information, the companies could at the end have information about their customers.
In France the gamification is used a lot, especially for this collect of information to know more and more about the customer in order to be able to propose him a personalize offer and so engage him.
This mechanism is used by Havas Voyage, a French travelling agency. Since 4 years Havas Voyage is using the fun marketing, as gamification to extend its customer database and gain the loyalty of its customers. For example in November 2013, Havas Voyage created the game “immediate embarkation” which was a quiz about European capitals. At the end of the game the player could win a journey. The one who didn’t have the chance to win during this game had a second chance to win by being candidate to a random draw and their chances to win were multiplied if they shared the game on the social media. To participate the users had to fill in a form with their information and by sharing on social media, the agency had access to the data of the customers, all those information would be used for personalisation and so improve the loyalty. Other big French companies as Air France, SCNF or Expedia are also using the gamification to develop some loyalty program using the method of points to reach different levels.
The gamification is, in present, an international tool for companies to gain the loyalty of the customers. But for how long will the customers want to play their game…