Running out of ideas of how to engage more new customers and retain the old ones? Having troubles with keeping your clients loyal and interested? Or just struggling to stand out in the sea of competitors? Perhaps what your business needs is a touch of gamification.
If you’ve just rolled your eyes and thought that games have no place in a serious industry, you might want to reconsider that thought, because there are numerous companies and successful projects that would beg to differ.
Here is a simple fact: humans are by their nature social, competitive, and easily bored. Another known fact is that millennials are currently the largest consumer demographic worldwide. This is the generation that, by their own admission, has never learned “how to adult”. With this kind of audience, it’s more important than ever to keep them constantly excited and emotionally involved. And gamifying your business is a great way to achieve that.
What Is Gamification?
Let’s start with defining exactly what gamification means. The term itself was coined in 2002 (and we have British programmer and writer Nick Pelling to thank for that), but it wasn’t widely used until after 2010, when gamification companies started emerging.
Simply put, gamification techniques mean using gaming elements in a non-game environment, such as business. This works because it’s just how the human nature works: an average customer loves the excitement of competing with other customers and getting rewarded for their achievements just as much as they love the good old sale, and perhaps even more.
Where Is Gamification Used?
There are quite a few industries and business areas that can profit from gamification. They include but are not limited to:
- Health and fitness;
In other words, these are either extremely competitive industries with a large number of similar businesses vying for customers’ attention, or areas that require dealing with mundane but important tasks.
In either of these cases, the benefits of gamification are apparent. Adding a system of achievements to your fitness app or a chance to enter a draw to win a discount from your online store could make all the difference in helping you stand out from the competition.
Let’s now take a look of some examples of businesses that managed to rise thanks to correctly using gamification tools.
The world’s most popular language learning service and the most downloaded app from the Education category on Google Play has more than 300,000,000 users worldwide. 19 languages, 62 courses, and 25 million active users monthly – the numbers speak for themselves. So what helped Duolingo raise to the top? Shaping the learning process as a game.
The language courses at Duolingo are organized as a series of lessons with medals for good performance, streak rewards for completing a lesson every day, and 25 levels to reach by earning XP. All of these tricks are aimed to do what very few services manage: make education fun.
In addition to how the process is built, the sentences used for language practice are oftentimes hilariously nonsensical. “You are eating my dog’s food”, “I am a talking moose” and “The police are after me” might not be phrases you’ll ever use in real life, but they regularly go viral on social networks, raising Duolingo’s popularity higher and higher. There is truly no better example of the success you can achieve from gamifying your project.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, Habitica is a productivity app that helps you achieve your goals and manage everyday tasks. Its difference from most other similar apps is that it’s designed as a role-playing game.
Starting at level 1 with no equipment, the user earns XP for performing tasks of different complexity, from routine household chores to completing an art project. With gaining experience and reaching new levels, you get to join a guild, unlock new armor, weapons, and even pets. Failing to perform chores from your to-do list leads to losing health, equipment, and ultimately “dying” and going back to the previous level.
The old-school pixel design certainly adds charm to the app – perhaps that’s why it has more than 3 millions of users worldwide and a pretty active community of “players”.
The Chinese e-commerce giant needs no introduction. Their annual big sale might be an obvious trick, as anyone who knows how to monitors prices can tell, but it still works. Every year on 11/11, millions of customers go on Aliexpress to purchase billions worth of products. And before the big sale, the website offers its users to win free coupons by playing games.
The games can be based on shooting targets, or on straight up drawing coupons from a hat, but the most unique experience was offered to users of the Aliexpress mobile app back in 2017. The user had to scream as loud as they could into the mic, and keep screaming for 10 seconds to keep a little plane of the screen flying. After the 10 seconds were up, the plane landed on either a “standard”, a “big” or a “giant” coupon, equal to $2, $3, and $8 respectively. Are those large discounts? Not at all. But you can bet the number of users who screamed at their phones in November 2017 was quite large.
In developers’ own words, Zombies, Run is an 8-week workout experience that combines storytelling and fitness. It is built as a story of the last survivor in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. The player needs to keep moving (walking, jogging, running, etc.) to complete missions from the game, collecting supplies on the way and occasionally speeding up to escape from zombies. Over 1 million users are using this app to stay active.
Fitness apps in particular are a great field for gamification. Rewarding the user for the daily exercise, introducing friend leaderboards and the option to beat friends’ records – all the things that evoke competitive spirit work great in this industry.
Advantages of Gamification for Your Business
Game elements are a powerful tool that increases customer loyalty, engagement and retention.
Adding a streak reward to your fitness, health or productivity app is a great way to ensure that the users visit it every day. Introducing small challenges will keep them spending more time on your app or website. Including shared goals that the user needs to work on together with their friends is a way to expand the audience. All of these things will bring you new loyal customers and raise your revenue to a new level.
In market conditions that are more competitive than ever, with every business niche being chock full of similar offers, you need to be really different to get ahead. And gamification will indeed help you stand out from the rest.
You don’t need to create a completely game-based app from scratch: adding a gamification element to an existing solution is not nearly as hard as it may seem. No matter your goals, we at Gravum are ready to offer our experience with gamification software to help you find the optimal solution for your business. Contact us today to discuss the details of your project, and let’s make your business fun together.