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Gamification and E-Commerce: Play Your Way to Success

The following is an excerpt from an article by Vivian Wagner at E-Commerce Times.

Gamification is one of the hottest trends in the business world. Incorporating game elements can be a great way to motivate and engage customers and employees alike -- using an activity that has appealed to humankind since its beginnings.

"Humans have been playing games for thousands of years. Some argue that games predate culture," said Brandon Marsala, creative director of content and strategy at Mindspace.

"Knucklebone dice and painted stones were used by ancient peoples to hone skills, develop critical thinking, or just pass the time," he told the E-Commerce Times. "Games are a part of us. Whether it's competition with others or competition with ourselves, games are miniature versions of our lives: We strive to achieve -- to overcome challenges."

The appeal of games is due, at least in part, to how the brain is wired.

"Winning is tied into the pleasure circuits of the brain," said Marsala. "Every time we achieve, dopamine is released -- achieve bigger goals, release larger amounts of dopamine. In this way, humans are hardwired to want to play games."

If you've ever earned airline miles or shopping points, you've participated in gamification. Increasing numbers of businesses have been using gamified strategies like these to increase customer engagement and help sales.

The basic principle behind gamification for customers is to make shopping fun -- reward them for their participation, encourage them to continue interacting with your brand, and foster a sense of loyalty.

In addition to offering basic rewards programs, businesses can weave game psychology, principles and mechanics into all of their content, including their sales and marketing strategies.

"Advanced gamification is about adding value, serving the needs of the content, and achieving behavior change," noted Marsala.

"Appointment dynamics" is an example of this kind of advanced gamification, he said.

"This is a dynamic in which to succeed, one must return at a predefined time to take some action, explained Marsala. "This can be implemented easily by offering bonuses or rewards for coming back to an experience on a certain day or at a certain time of day."

What gamification strategies are best for your customers depends your particular business, products and audience. It's important to customize them for each business.

"Gamification will continue to become much more custom and refined to meet an organization's unique needs and goals," said Marsala.

"Points, badges and leaderboards will still continue to be used, but they will no longer be seen as checking the box on gamification. They might be a starting point, but they are far from a complete gamification solution," he added.

"Marketers and learning and development organizations alike will continue to see the value in gamifying their content and developing custom gamification strategies that motivate and inspire their increasingly distracted audiences," Marsala predicted.


Read the rest, originally published at on July 23, 2018.


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