Ecommerce and Gamification are Perfect Partners

Every gamer knows the addictive thrill of reaching the next level. A progress meter expanding and reaching max capacity before resetting is a unique experience only games can provide.

Rising to digital challenges makes characters and items faster, stronger, and more resilient. But for many, reaching the next plateau simply means seeking new heights. Because underneath the thrills of discovery and mastery lies an insatiable thirst for more.

However, those coveted jolts of dopamine extend far beyond digital realms. Traditional merchants — both online and off — increasingly turn to gamification for building brand awareness while boosting customer loyalty.

Nowadays, RedFOX is making strides in smartphone app development. On one side of the coin is KOGS— the first mobile game to compute 100% of its logic on a blockchain in real-time. On the other side lies a cashback and rewards ecommerce portal launching in multiple Southeast Asian countries.

And today, we’re looking at the convergence of ecommerce and gaming. Although we’re building each element into separate apps, there’s plenty of strategic overlap. After all, games and shopping go together like popcorn and movies.

Games Invariably Win

From the advent of mobile apps over a decade ago, games have always been the frontrunner of download volume. To this day, the ‘games’ category outperforms everything within any app store.

So, just how dominant are gaming apps compared to all other classifications? Although these numbers fluctuate from month to month, the result never does.

And within Apple’s App Store, the race isn’t even close. During November 2019, data provider — Statista — shows games accounting for the largest slice of downloadable market share:

Image credit: Statista.Com

Worldwide, games accounted for over 22% of the total iOS app market. In 2nd place is the ‘business’ category, which barely crossed 10%. The figures continue to fall from there, with games outpacing 10th place by nearly 10x.

What about Google? Yes, they’re more than relevant. In Google’s app marketplace, games download percentages are similar to iOS. However, although Android users play plenty of games, they mostly prefer to do so for free.

Google’s Play Store usually garners twice the number of annual downloads, but Apple tends to pull in double the revenue.

Not only are people keen to download games on ‘iProducts,’ but compared to Android users, they’re also more comfortable with paying for them.

But no matter the operating system, app creators must give consumers compelling reasons to return again and again. Because in the long run, keeping customers within the same ecosystem equates to higher revenues.

And that’s precisely where gamification comes into, ahem, play.

Psychological Touchpoints

Tapping into a consumer’s inner gamer can trigger rewarding experiences. In other words, when people feel good during interaction with games and apps, they can’t help but return for more.

Health bar dropped too low? Drop another quarter in the slot and try again

Much like classic arcade games made to captivate an innate yearning for competition, gamified apps strive to hit the same emotional buttons. Here are but a few mechanics of alluring gamification:

  • Achievements
  • Contests
  • Leaderboards/Points
  • Levels
  • Progression bars
  • Tiered loyalty programs

Now, each of the above attributes paints gamification with a broad brush. As far as the specific games go, multiple styles have proven to resonate with general audiences.

Countless etailers — whose product lineups may have nothing to do with gaming — add in-app games to keep shoppers tapping. Whether shoppers visit occasionally or are completely obsessed, most everyone enjoys these games:

  • Puzzles
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Slot machines

So, whether an app publisher sells financial services, meditation, or rare Peruvian cactus seeds, adding a game element can impart the sensation of accomplishment.

One of gamification’s greatest examples began with Home Shopping Network in 2013. Within 18 months of launch, HSN Arcade registered 700,000 users who played over 100 million games.

Research into consumer behavior revealed that compared to the average HSN visitor, Arcade participants are more likely to convert into paying customers. The reason for the conversion boost is quite simple — gamers spend twice as much time on the site and visit twice as often.

Wrapping Up

From eBay’s bidding wars to healthcare apps doling out points and real-life rewards, gamification is an increasingly effective engagement tactic. After all, the ubiquitous smartphone has converted millions of non-gamers into avid players.

Perhaps even more exciting than brightening customers’ days with a quick game is the ability to gather insight into user preferences. With fitting implementation, gamification induces daily interaction.

When app makers provide compulsory reasons for returning every day, they know where customers go and what they want. In turn, creators can adjust accordingly — facilitating deeper consumer engagement in the process.

While developing mobile apps, we’re exploring ways of devising irresistible customer experiences. Although KOGS is a game, we aim to extend utility beyond the core gameplay. In other words, players will eventually gain the ability to do more than just slam and collect their in-game NFTs.

Who knows, non-fungible tokens might appear in one of our upcoming ecommerce apps. But even if they don’t, we plan on injecting fun into the act of cashback shopping. Because at its core, gamification is all about having a good time.

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