Gamification in business is an increasingly popular strategy to increase customer and client engagement and support company growth. While there are many applications across online communities and e-commerce sites, the concept is similar across applications. Gamification gives customers a more enjoyable experience, builds a personal connection and fosters a long-term relationship with a company or brand. Here’s how it works.

Gamification Concepts

Business gamification can take on many forms. Overall, gamification increases the time a customer will stay on a company’s website or remain engaged in an app. Here are the top three ways companies are making the most of gamification strategies:

Progress

One of the most ubiquitous forms of gamification involves the progress bar. The progress bar allows a customer or client to know how far along they are in a process. From filing out an online multistep form to the use of a virtual shopping cart, keeping track of progress makes a personal connection with the customer and allows them to see where they are in the sequence of steps needed to complete an online process.

Progress tools may also provide a way to prompt the user to view similar products or send a pop-up message when a step was not fully completed. This type of gamification allows for a more efficient and satisfying user experience. Used properly, progress tools increase the length of time users will spend on the site.

Points

Online communities like Foursquare, Reddit and even NFL.com give points that are correlated to increased user engagement. Placing a number or displaying a counter next to a person’s name adds an element of notoriety. The point system contributes positively to user involvement and sustains product engagement.

On retail sites, points can be linked to special offers, discounts or access to limited sales. People like to be rewarded for an investment in a company. Using points is a cost-effective way to build brand allegiance and increase user engagement during each visit. It can also be a tool to drive online customers to a chain’s brick and mortar location for additional promotions.

Achievements

Recognizing a user’s membership anniversary, giving a special reward on a birthday or building a status-level program are all gamification tools that build lifetime customer value. When customers receive an achievement, acknowledgement or a reward of some type, they tend to share news of it with others. Increasing the value of the rewards in correlation with the length of time a user has been engaged with the brand helps the customer feel valued and respected. The more a customer is acknowledged, the more likely they will return to the same brand.

Promoting brand value through word of mouth and “share with a friend” offers can keep dedicated visitors coming back while building a stronger community of similar customers. Gamification is a strong business tool that can be one of the most cost-effective ways to increase brand loyalty and increase company growth. From implementing progress tools on online sites, developing a point system, or recognizing achievements, businesses can use gamification to build brand loyalty and secure enhanced growth goals.

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