Gamification is taking the global retail sector to new heights. With the value of the global gamification industry set to reach $30bn by 2025, according to Markets and Markets, retailers are keen to get a share of this opportunity. With its use in the retail sector accounting for the lion’s share of this growth, a report by Research&Markets (R&M) forecast a 25% compounded annual growth rate in gamification between 2020 and 2025.

The report highlighted how major consumer brands, such as Adobe and eBay, as well as B2B giants, including Oracle, Cisco, and Salesforce, have used gamifying as a key tool in their commercial strategy. 

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Gamification has become a key component of major UK retail brands’ loyalty schemes – the M&S Sparks scheme, where swiping customers have an opportunity to win their shopping basket (one every day in every store), and the new Asda Rewards programme, offering shopping missions, are prime examples of current offerings in the market. UK retail-focused businesses like Catalina, which has introduced its own Catalina One gamification offering, are also looking to use this to help clients leverage on the growth of mobile gaming and e-commerce apps.

Prem Patel, Managing Director at Catalina UK, global customer activation business working with some of the UK’s most prominent retailers and brands.

By using innovative forms of gamification, retailers are finding they are better placed to engage with consumers, build brand loyalty and enhance the overall retail experience. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is particularly engaged with this mechanic. According to Tapjoy, 77% of Gen Z’s are currently playing mobile games daily. As grocery retailers are keen to build loyalty with this and other segments of the population, it is essential to deploy the right strategy to deliver great results. 

Retailers and brands further benefit from gamification solutions when these include progress charts on what they’ve achieved through the platform. This could include key metrics for users with details on past purchases and friend referrals as well as updates on new product categories of interest. Providing a balance of ‘wins’ or ‘rewards’ received can further engage an audience and drive commercial benefits. When deployed well, this approach can incentivise customers and keep them coming for more.

The key to success in gamification lies with the development of an engaging and thoughtful platform seamlessly connected with the retailers’ shopping channels. It must stimulate customers, offer an enjoyable, uplifting experience, and reward them. As we are seeing, those brands and retailers that get this right will better connect with consumers and ultimately grow their sales.