The way people shop has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. And together with it, has changed the ways in which merchants approach their customers. Gone are the days when shopping meant just obtaining what you needed. It has become a far more immersive and interesting experience. This also provided businesses with a multitude of fresh and creative ways to improve the shopping experience. This is where e-commerce gamification comes into play.

What is gamification?

The idea is simple. Gamification means adding elements of a game into something that isn't a game. Like e-commerce.

It's no secret that humans' attention span keeps getting shorter. What does it mean for Shopify merchants? Catching and, more importantly, keeping customers' attention is getting harder. So you need to get more and more creative to stand out and win them over.

How gamification can help your business

No wonder gamification is gaining popularity as this new and highly effective strategy for e-commerce. It’s fun, it’s engaging, dynamic, and intriguing at the same time. And if you do it right, you can boost your brand's recognition, reduce cart abandonment, enhance the customer experience, and generate higher conversions.

  • It increases engagement and customer experience

Gamification can make the shopping experience more interactive and engaging, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • It encourages return visits

The right gamification elements can give customers a reason to come back to your store and buy more.

  • It boosts sales

By giving customers incentives to spend more money when they reach certain goals or do certain things, it can help you increase sales.

  • It can raise brand awareness

Gamification can also help you with brand awareness. People love sharing their experiences on social media and with friends. So if they like what you’re offering, they will happily spread the word!

The best part is, you do not need to know how to code in order to gamify your store! All you need is some imagination and the right apps.

How to gamify your Shopify store
1. Loyalty programs

Loyalty is the most important part of any meaningful relationship, and keeping customers loyal takes a lot of work and attention, as well as going above and beyond to give them an amazing and memorable experience.

One common type of gamification used in online stores is loyalty programs. They give customers reasons to stick with your brand and make repeat purchases.

You can use a point system where customers get points or rewards for doing things like making a purchase, writing a review, or telling others about you through a referral link. They may then use these points to get money off their next purchases.

Take a look at the loyalty program successfully run by Starbucks.

Customers can turn each morning coffee into points and then spend them on sweet (both literally and figuratively speaking) rewards. This way, customers will view points as goals they need to achieve and will work on achieving them. Win-win!

One of the Shopify apps offering this experience is SC Loyalty Points & Rewards. It allows you to create an on-brand loyalty program in minutes and reward customers with anything imaginable to increase average order value.

2. Engage customers with exciting quizzes

Spice up your e-commerce platform with funny quizzes that not only keep users entertained but also give them rewards! Prepare brain-teasing questions and awesome prizes that will have your customers coming back for more. Let them dive into a world of fun, test their knowledge, and win amazing goodies along the way. It's a thrilling way to keep their brains sharp and their smiles wide!

Let’s take an example of a Matcha bar’s quiz, where they engage customers by asking funny questions about their lifestyle and attitude towards matcha.

After the quiz is done, a customer can get 15% off by leaving their email or they can skip the email part  to see the result and recommended products based on these results.

Don't worry about the complicated setup of adding quizzes to your e-commerce platform! Shopify App Store has plenty of quiz builder apps available to help you out. So, no more excuses! Take the plunge and bring the fun of quizzes to your site. Your customers will have a blast, stay engaged, and make their way to the checkout with a smile. It's time to quiz it and win it!

3. Countdown timers

Our brains are hardwired to look out for moving targets, so we tend to ignore stuff that remains unchanged. But we respond more quickly and pay more attention to things that are in motion and changing, like a ticking countdown timer. Like the one going off at the Humidody store:

Even one countdown timer can be a game-changer. It creates a sense of urgency and motivates customers to take action (read: make a purchase) before it’s not too late.

Adding a countdown timer to your store for a flash sale or a sweet limited-time deal can really boost your sales. Like it did for this furniture and homeware brand.

There are over 360 apps on the Shopify App Store under a "countdown timer". So let us save you time and recommend one – Essential Countdown Timer. This adaptable countdown timer app is perfect for all business types and sizes. It is great for stunning and fully customizable countdown timers to promote flash sales, run longer-lasting discounts, or announce a new product launch. You can trigger fear of missing out and urgency in customers and drive sales to your store in just a few clicks.

What’s more exciting, you're not just adding a boring countdown timer. You can choose from over 20 high-converting pre-made countdown timer styles, or change the design to fit your store theme. The app also allows you to choose from a number of placements and types of countdown timers, and delivers top-notch customer service.

4. Progress bars and badges

If you are offering some perks for reaching a certain threshold, create a progress bar to visually show customers their progress toward this goal (for example, reaching a certain level of spending to qualify for a discount or free shipping). Like, Morning Brew did with their referral program:

Seeing how close they are to reaching a goal motivates customers to make additional purchases to achieve that goal.

Badges work in a similar way. When customers earn badges for making purchases or achieving specific milestones, they feel a sense of accomplishment and recognition. This can encourage them to make more purchases to earn more badges or to maintain their status.

These gamification tactics work well for building loyalty, too. When customers’ progress, let alone their achievements, are visualized, they feel more invested. Thus, they are more likely to return to you to earn more rewards.

What to consider before implementing gamification tactics

Yes, gamification can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. But there’s always a “but”.

If the gamification elements are too distracting, they may turn away customers and result in a negative shopping experience. On the other hand, though, if the gamification is too subtle, customers may not even notice it. So your efforts will be in vain and won’t bring the desired effect. The right balance is key.

Keep the gamification elements fresh and engaging. Customers may lose interest if the gamification becomes too repetitive or predictable. To avoid this, regularly update and refine your gamification strategies to keep customers engaged.

Last but not least, gamification requires careful planning and execution. Find what’s relevant to your brand and your target audience. And ensure that your gamification elements are integrated seamlessly into your store and that they are easy to use and understand.

Gamifying your store might cost you a bit of time and resources, but the potential benefits are well worth it. It's a great way to get customers interested. And interested customers are more likely to lead to increased sales. By engaging them with loyalty programs, countdown timers, progress bars, or badges, you can make shopping a more interactive and fun experience, and they will want to come back again. And again.

But don't forget – gamification is just one of the tools. Use it along with other marketing strategies, offer high-quality products, and give excellent customer service. By doing so, you can create a successful e-commerce strategy that drives sales and customer loyalty.