Use of Gamification to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales

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October 7, 2022

As the eCommerce landscape is oversaturated with options to choose from, it’s become much more challenging to sustain the interest of users’. As if that weren’t enough, a surge in inflation is also proving to weaken brand loyalty. To put it simply, it’s much harder to convince them to buy purchase from you than it used to be.

This has driven retailers to experiment with ways to inspire loyalty in consumers and find new strategies to get them to sustain engagement – gamification being one of them.

In recent years, the interest in gamification as a marketing strategy has skyrocketed. Brick-and-mortar businesses are transitioning to mobile ecommerce stores, which creates new opportunities to improve the customer experience. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that gamification is not a buzzword or a trend anymore, but a legitimate marketing and business strategy that’s driving innovation in the eCommerce space.

Gamification in Business

There are multiple touchpoints in the customer journey, and brands need to know how to tailor their strategies and messaging for every stage.

Gamification uses elements of gaming such as polls, contests, and interactive activities to make it fun to engage with your brand. This builds a stronger connection with your target audience, which influences their buying decisions. According to the Digital Marketing Forum, around 60% of consumers admit they’re more inclined to buy from a brand that offers some sort of interactive and fun games.

Using gamification in your marketing strategies of a business offers unique opportunities to keep consumers engaged, appeal to their love of rewards, leveling up, and competing. These activities encourage users to spend more time interacting with your brand, try new levels of your game, and obtain a psychological reward that also comes with tangible benefits.

The M&M’s eye spy online game is a great example of gamification done right. M&M’s marketing campaign used gamification to promote their Pretzel Chocolate candy. It was a simple game in which the users had to spot the lone pretzel in an image filled with M&M’s in a “Where’s Waldo?” style picture game. This simple and inexpensive yet impactful game generated over 25,000 likes on the brand’s Facebook page, 6,000 shares, and 10,00 comments. The campaign was an overall success: it cut through the noise, built brand awareness, and fostered user engagement in a unique way.

Gamifying a product or service turns an otherwise mundane, monotonous task into something fun and appealing. If you can build fun into your business, you can build engagement into your business and get more people to buy from you.

Implementing Gamification in your Ecommerce Business

If you’re currently looking for ecommerce app development companies or planning to implement gamification strategies in your current eCommerce business, it’s important to answer four questions about how you’ll retain your users:

  • The trigger/motivator: what will motivate them to engage with the game?
  • The investment: how much time and energy does your user have to invest in your game?
  • The action: how is your game played? What are the core features and gameplay loop?
  • The reward: what is obtained in exchange for participation?

It is also important that the prize you’re offering compensates for the time and effort the user has to invest in the game. It’s not fair or reasonable to expect your customers to invest a lot of time and energy into your game and get peanuts in return. This would only make you lose customers instead of acquiring new and loyal ones

A well-thought-out gamification and ecommerce app development strategy can earn you numerous benefits like keeping a continuous social presence with minimal effort, acquiring new users, and maximizing engagement with your current audience.

McDonald’s, for instance, incorporated a Halloween-themed promotional game ‘Trick. Treat. Win’ into its mobile app. The gamification strategy yielded unexpected results, driving engagement and participation to new heights,. with 1.3 billion sweepstake entries, 31 million site visits, 6.5 million promotion registrations, and 4 million opt-ins. The game was such a success that McDonald became the 2nd most downloaded app in the App Store with over 4.1 million downloads.

Although marketing strategies of businesses keep evolving over time to match the general user behavior, gamification is becoming standard industry practice in eCommerce thanks to its proven success. The global gamification market is projected to reach a valuation of $38.42 million by 2026.

As much as it is important for you to realize the effectiveness of implementing mobile gamification in your eCommerce business, you also need to clearly define what you want your gamification strategies to accomplish rather than mindlessly jump on the bandwagon. A well-thought-out gamification strategy will:

  • Incentivize the interaction.
  • Increase online visibility.
  • Promote brand awareness – people tend to share gaming activities on social networks.
  • Make registering for your store smoother, more convenient, and less intrusive by collecting user information.
  • Build a loyal customer base – offering benefits to the customers encourage them to keep coming back.
  • Promote new products – gamification creates hype amongst users.
  • Reduce the cart-abandonment rate: checkout is more friendly and, on average, there are more visits with a sale than without.
  • Increase lead conversion rate.

Various popular brands have already played it smart with the fun elements of gamification integrated into their eCommerce business to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty and engagement, drive sales, and everything in between. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Examples of Successful Gamified Applications


Gucci, like numerous other fashion brands, released clothing items and accessories for digital avatars in Roblox, Pokemon Go, and Zepto. They also created the Gucci Sneaker Garage app that lets users customize their own digital Gucci sneakers. Incorporating the gamification technique in its marketing strategies is helping Gucci target an entirely new market of primarily younger, online customers and gamers (mostly Gen Zers).


Pepsi launched a unique AR-driven promotional campaign in 2020 that featured the top four international football players: Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Mo Salah, and Raheem Sterling. The campaign named ‘Pepsi, For the Love of It’ featured limited edition Pepsi cans that held scannable QR codes. These loaded AR versions of the players on the users’ phones after which they could participate in a virtual kick-up game with social sharing through Instagram. The AR game was a part of the campaign that was designed to meet the objective of increasing customer engagement and building brand recognition.


Starbucks is known for its valuable loyalty programs at their coffee franchises across the world. Starbucks Rewards are known to make up around 40 to 50% of the brand’s entire revenue. It has now evolved into a multipurpose app that uses gamification in clever ways.

For example, Starbucks gives a free drink to the users who buy a certain amount of a specific product within a week. The app also displays users’ purchasing frequency, and lets them exchange prizes for each order.


The famous beauty brand Lancôme collaborated with Alibaba to build an AR gaming experience in Hong Kong along with a pop-up store back in 2019. The app featured an AR scavenger hunt that helped the consumers win limited-edition beauty products and gifts if they got to find and scan Lancôme’s signature product ‘Genifique’. Moreover, upon spotting three pictures of Genifique on the AR hunt, they could wish for any Lancôme product they wanted and secure their chance of winning it. The game could successfully drive brand awareness through consumer-generated content.


The South Korean car manufacturing giant Hyundai ran a creative gamification campaign in collaboration with the hit TV series The Walking Dead. They created a gamified app called Hyundai Chop Shop that lets users customize Hyundai cars with around 300 zombie-killing modifications. The game was a huge success and generated millions of downloads. Moreover, the game rewarded engagement with points to unlock new features when users played the game daily and answered trivia questions.


Subway launched a unique brand awareness campaign in New Zealand and Australia in 2021. The campaign used a gamified app called Sink a Sub similar to the classic game Battleship, using Subway sandwiches in lace of ships. The Design Director of the game, Frank Martelli, discussed how they deployed complex gamification strategies and frameworks into the game to ensure that the Subway customers keep coming back (to both the restaurant and the game). The customers received a code to access the game upon each purchase they made. The best part? Every player was rewarded with something, regardless of whether they won or not. These rewards could be anything from a free sandwich to 10,000 dollars.

Wrapping up

For brands that look ahead to the future, gamification in ecommerce app development is the way forward. It is an effective strategy that is revolutionizing the way we shop and benefits both consumers and eCommerce businesses. When you create a shopping experience for your consumers, don’t forget that the most important part is personalization. The best way to achieve that is through integrating elements of gamification into your eCommerce application.

Turning the simple act of buying a product into a fun and appealing game encourages consumers’ participation, loyalty, higher engagement, and long-term interest in the brand.

When it comes to hiring an e-commerce mobile app developer, CitrusBits stands out as a trusted and reliable choice. Their skilled developers have a deep understanding of the e-commerce landscape and can leverage their expertise to create high-quality mobile apps that drive results. Whether you need a simple app or a complex multivendor e-commerce platform, CitrusBits has the technical prowess and creativity to deliver exceptional solutions tailored to your business requirements.

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