Gamification in retail and marketing is about using consumers’ willingness to play games to deliver a particular message that encourages them to act.

It’s a strand of behavioural economics and the tactic of using games to encourage people to learn, engage or act isn’t new. Its evolution into a buzzword has seen it used as a tool across a myriad of sectors from making education fun to promoting good health – and of course in retail.

Examples of the spectrum of gamification in retail run from simple stamped loyalty cards that you pick up in coffee shops, to much more complex platforms such as Foursquare where users ‘check in’ with their smartphones at locations and unlock offers.

A recent example with an interesting and simple mechanic is ‘The Pump Challenge’ from Shell.

The oil giant has recognised that when re-fuelling, many people like to try to get the final amount to a nice round number. They’ve taken this a step further, capitalising on behaviour as well as our love for play – if you manage to land on a round number, they’ll give you a bonus number of loyalty points.

Reading between the lines, the brief for the campaign was most likely to raise awareness while increasing sign-ups and use of the Shell Drivers Club loyalty card. It’s easy to image the ‘safe’ campaign that could have been rolled out across forecourt and pump point of sale showing customers what they could get with their points, or warning them not to miss out. Compared to this The Pump Challenge is a great campaign.

Here’s why a campaign like The Pump Challenge is a great example of gamification in retail:

  • It’s a simple, immediate mechanic that delivers on multiple levels – awareness, engagement and act
  • It’s based on fundamental Insight that lets customers know that the brand understands them
  • There’s no barrier to entry
  • The creative is bold and uncluttered – it stands out and grabs attention
  • It incentivises a small increase in spend in a powerful yet gentle way

Gamification is just one potential way of answering a particular marketing or advertising brief.

Here at The Market Creative, we always look for the right answer to our client’s business issues. Click here to see how an Innovation Workshop will help you uncover your next killer campaign.