MBAOnline is excited to present this insightful, holiday shopping guest post by the folks at GLAD WORKS, a Rhode Island based full service graphic design, web design, drupal development, eCommerce, iPhone app development, marketing, social media, and PR firm. Businesses all across the U.S. and the world are changing the way consumers interact with and enjoy the holiday shopping experience. Hopefully you’ll learn as much as we did! Happy holidays.
The Gamification of Holiday Shopping
The term “gamification” refers to the use of elements found in video games that have been translated into web and app design. You find gamification in customer-oriented web and mobile sites being used as a tool to get people to engage with a brand and accomplish tasks, such as “checking-in” with Foursquare, scanning in QR codes, or using an app like Shopkick to earn rewards. It’s a great tool for marketers to use, and it takes advantage of peoples’ innate drive to get rewards for their efforts.
Life would be way more exciting if everything was like a game, wouldn’t it?
Holiday shopping, for example, would turn into the Best! Thing! Ever! instead of just aimlessly wandering up and down mall escalators like zombies from Dawn of the Dead. The good news is that this is actually happening, and businesses are starting to realize that if they make shopping feel more like playing a game, people are more likely to stop in, shop around, and come back again.
When we say gamification, we don’t mean that you have to be an expert at Wii Bowling or a master of Angry Birds. What we’re referring to is the way that businesses are starting to explore the new options smartphone technology has to offer. More and more people are carrying smartphones these days, and things like location-based marketing are the new hotness when it comes to finding tools for getting customers through the door and checking out the goods.
During the holiday season last year, lots of retailers had begun to experiment with mobile marketing, but this year, they’re really getting out there! There’s a lot of mobile marketing enticing customers to shop ‘til they drop and reap the rewards for their loyalty.
One of the biggest practices we’re seeing this holiday season is location-based marketing. Location-based marketing involves the use of GPS technology to send geographic-specific marketing messages to consumers over their mobile devices. It’s a very big and rapidly expanding area for all types and sizes of businesses. Programs like Foursquare are being used to reward customers for “checking-in” to their stores. Foursquare is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices like smartphones. Users “check-in” at various places via a mobile website, text message, or an app by choosing from a list of nearby participating businesses. These “check-ins” earn them special offers and discounts.
But that’s not all. Some retailers are even trying to lure shoppers who are miles away from their stores with messages about sales and product availability–complete with driving directions, maps and hours of operation.
We’re also seeing lots of retailers make great use of QR codes. QR codes are those square, inkblot looking things you’ve probably been seeing on business cards, product labels, signage, and advertisements. They can be photographed and decoded by smartphone users to access information about special deals, web pages, apps, or any other content the retailer wants them to see. They work a lot like barcodes, but the difference is that QR codes can house a tremendous amount of information, so the possibilities here are practically limitless. Imagine walking into a store, decoding a QR code, and getting access to exclusive information about a product or manufacturer, plus hot deals on merchandise!
There’s also a very cool app called Shopkick that turns shopping into a game where you can earn real-world rewards for going into stores. The app shows a list of nearby participating venues, each of which gives you a certain number of “kicks” or points for visiting the store. The more “kicks” you pick up, the more rewards (such as gift certificates, etc.) you get. There’s even an opportunity to collect enough kicks to win a cruise! That’s an attractive prize especially after all the holiday hullabaloo!
No matter how you look at it, mobile marketing is most certainly the new hotness and we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it in the future. Shopping is about to become more intimate, personal, and engaging!