Technology and Innovation

How gamification can contribute to customer loyalty to digital ?

Written by Agnès MANTEL

Customer loyalty is making your clients so proud of using your brand that they won’t leave you and that you would conquer new ones. Gamification is a trend inspired by video games. It uses elements from video games and implements them to another domain. Gamification’s goal is improving individual’s behavior using efforts and rewards displayed, fun and communities.



Possible business strategies for customer retention
Individuals are questioning the use of loyalty programs by brands. Indeed, during a long time, companies only focused their marketing strategy on their products, they forgot customer relationship. Loyalty programs are more and more aggressive, everyone complains about receiving too many newsletters, commercial promotions,… making them banal. Furthermore, with the Internet usage, individuals became actors, they are not passive anymore, they can choose what they want and have a strong decision power. Brands need to be careful; individuals can influence themselves for example, on social networks.

Issues and evolutions in front of a growing competition
Nowadays, brands need to continuously innovate and, sometimes, launch their numerical transition, mostly concentrating on their customer relations. Consumers have to be the number one focus of digital strategy. For example Michel & Augustin, a French dessert brand, asks regularly on social networks their customers about a new product name or packaging. Brands are going from product marketing to relational marketing. Companies want to create a true and strong link with their consumers. One of the major issues of digital and loyalty is one-to-one communication. They try to collect the most information possible on their consumers to recommend them the best content: personalized and to their likes.



From video games to gamification
We observe a democratization of video games. We all heard or saw someone playing Candy Crush or Pokemon Go on their smartphone. We are not anymore in the “cliché” of the young geek locked in his room, playing all day long. The average age of gamers in France is 35.

Sample Gamification business cases by companies
LinkedIn is a good example of gamification. They use a bar; named “Profile Strength” that shows your evolution (“level” in video games terms) of a profile. It engages people to fill up their profile.

Linkedin Progress Bar - Gamification


Linkedin Progress Bar - Gamification






A second example of how brands can use gamification is Ikea with their 3D platform, named “Ikea Home Planner”. I encourage you to test and have fun on it! The brand created a platform where you can build your dream fitted kitchen with their products. At the end, customers enjoy and stay a long time on the website, which is the brand’s objective!

Ikea Home Planner - Gamification








Another example is L’Oréal with their application Make Up Genius, where you can try some cosmetics thanks to the Virtual Reality. Watch the video of the concept here.

Why gamification works?
Gamification brings positive change in individuals. In fact, it encourages you to do something you wouldn’t in the first place but with this entertaining side you will overstep it. Shouldn’t you be able to watch your results and progressions (progress bar for example) you will want to do this action again. Moreover, you will be even more motivated to do this action should you be rewarded, have another thing in return: money, avoiding a punishment, etc.



Few brands’ retention strategies use gamification

Starbucks with their program named “My Starbucks Reward” where you have a visual graphic of levels to reach. For each payment, you win a star and then discounts. It’s a funny way to raise the interest of regulars.
Another example would be Nike and their application “Nike +”. A runner has a sensor in one shoe, that tracks every movement he makes. Then, you can find your results on your smartphone and see in a visualized way your evolution. The brand has became an essential and real coach in the life of sportspersons. Running Heroes a start-up is based on the same model, you should look at it.

What can brands achieve?
First of all, they can get a lot of client data. They are able to identify consumer’s reactions towards their brand and even anticipate it. For example, with Ikea Home Planner the brand knows every furniture the person has chosen. In the future, they will retarget him with pictures of these personalized informations. With all theses data, brands can offer personalized communication, services and products.
Secondly, brands develop a long-term relationship with their customers. They create addiction with the use of emotion, involvement of the person and a personalized experience. With gamification, the customer is totally immersed in the brand, he wants to “play”, to win rewards, etc. Finally, he wants to use again the product / services of the brand and to share it with his friends. And that’s the final goal of each loyalty strategy: building a relation, where the customer will become an ambassador of the brand.
Finally, using the gamification gives the company a modern image. It allows facing competition and mostly increasing sales figures and the conversion rates on websites or mobile applications.


To conclude, the gamification seems to be a good solution to all issues of loyalty programs. It allows companies to increase their sales, win and retain customers. Also, it stimulates creativity in digital and modernizes companies. It still is a trend in digital but more and more companies are using some of its characteristics to engage their consumers. Now the question is to know if this kind of operation is just a “buzz” or a real long-term experience for retention strategies.
What we are sure about, is that in the near future, with the increase of technologies and especially augmented reality, we are going to see gamification a lot. For example, people will try clothes in their home, virtually with their phone.

About the author



International Digital Marketing Junior at Clarins Group.
Graduated from Ipag Business School (M2 Digital Marketing and Communication), Currently student from GEM (MS Digital Business Strategy).
Previously Web & Mobile Project Manager Assistant at Zadig & Voltaire (1 year).
Have a look at my Linkedin profile !