Do you want to re-energize your retail store?- Gamification is the answer.

Gamification – A customer Engagement growth hack.

Recently I took a certificate course on Digital First- Digital transformation retail journey. The course was really an eye-opener for me to start thinking from new perspectives i.e. Digital

I hope that is the NEW NORMAL.

Digital economics is not the only e-commerce but it is a new way of thinking from your customer point of view.

In this article, we shall talk about gamification as a strategy.

What is gamification?

Gamification means bringing engagement elements of gameplay into something that is not naturally a game or sport.

Parents usually use this gamification strategy on infants while feeding them to distract them from food and make them feel engaged in the process of the game.

Even in order to get kids dressed faster, parents prompt them to race i.e. who gets ready faster & so on.

In retail, a store uses loyalty cards to encourage customers to collect more points on their purchases or even cashback on spends & making the customers splurge on certain categories.

Online digital e-learning systems often use gamification to nudge learners into completing tasks or assignments.

Giving course completion certificates, badges, or using progress bars, to get users to feel a sense of competition and a desire to reach the next level.


How Gamification is used in retail Business?

There are various areas in retail wherein a retailer can implement games

  • Customer engagement
  • Technology in-store
  • Dwell time
  • Interaction leads to retention
  • Data gathering
  • Positive experiences
  • Rewards encourage loyalty
  • Brand awareness


The most critical desire of any retailer is to make their customers spend more time in-stores.

As per a recent study, Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.

According to Gallup’s study, fully engaged customers represent a 23% share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared to your average customer.

Hence Gamification becomes a critical strategy to enhance customer engagement.

Gamification helps brands to cut the clutter

Content is the new buzz word.

Every marketer and agency is talking about it.

Interactive content draws people into your brand story and gets them to take part.

Games or gamification can stimulate parts of the brain to release dopamine which a static advertisement never can.

Dopamine release provides a feel-good factor which is more comforting and builds a connection with the brand.

Instore Technology driving Gamification.

We all keep reading about the retail apocalypse & various negative sentiments like digital will now replace traditional retailing.

My opinion is completely different from the above.

We all grew up studying retail definition that it is a theatre wherein the people from different backgrounds come together to enjoy some form of artistic expressions.

Think of your retail store concept as a theatre, wherein your merchandise is your leading actors, your Visual merchandising is how you dress up your actors and make them look like reel-life characters.

Merchandise planners should think like casting directors as to which collection or merchandise will fit the role/characterization better.

I believe the future of retail will be dominated by organizations that can blend the two spheres i.e. digital and physical retail.

Deploying gamified experiences on in-store kiosks is a way to grab customers’ attention in a way that your app or website never can.

Learn more about experiential retail, click here

Benefits of retail gamification

Interaction helps people remember your brand.

“Show me how to do it and I shall understand & remember.”

This adage old quote is still so relevant and retailers must try to utilize it to enhance customer engagement, dwelling times in their stores.

Watch the video of Nike using gamification.

YouTube video


Book retailers like Kinokuniya and crosswords frequently organize book reading sessions or meet & greet the authors so that the book reading community gets a platform to meet the author and share their experiences with other like-minded readers.

Data crunching made easy using gamification

As per research by salesforce connected shopper report, 63% of the respondents felt that the retailers don’t know their taste or liking

Traditional customer research methods capture customer views only post-purchase,

In-store gamified experiences can capture the mood of customer’s in-the-moment, while they’re still in the store.

This makes the data more accurate and more reliable as a driver of business strategy.


Gamification of loyalty programs.

According to one survey from Boston Retail Partners, almost nine out of 10 retailers (87%) will use gamification methods in the next five years.

And nearly half of those (46%) pointed out that a loyalty program incorporating these elements is one of their top priorities.

Recently, in one of the case study which I undertook during my retail course, our professor had given us an excellent case study on Bed Bath & Beyond brand.

Case study: Bed Bath & Beyond

Though the case study was on different aspects of the strategy that did not work for them; what stuck to my mind was the gamification of their plus-size mailer, known as Big Blue.

The founders of Bed Bath & Beyond were very clear from the conception that they are not going to advertise items, nor change prices and run sales.

They believe running a sale was a very costly way of doing business.

Instead, they told the customers that they would give a discount on the items which they want — and not on the one that the brand wants to put on sale.

The solution was mailing a mail-coupon direct to their customer’s addresses.

No advertising on TV or press about the stores or offerings, instead they focused on mailing the coupon to their customer database.

The big blue coupon became the brand itself from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Bed Bath & Beyond was sending out nearly a billion pieces of mail a year. 

Mail coupons became a gamified version of loyalty cards which drove traffic to their stores.

They used data analytics to understand what products those coupons were being redeemed and stocked more of it – simple maths.

I shall limit my article to the positives of Bed Bath & Beyond and how the senior leadership’s vision drives the retail concept to great heights.

Want to learn about loyalty myths, click here.

Below video please find the video which summarizes my article beautifully.

YouTube video


In case if any of my readers want to have a more detailed discussion on the topic, they can reach me on


About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 20 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in the beauty, fashion, and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, and Franchising & Business Management. He strongly believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.

Ritesh can also be followed on Instagram as @mohanritesh & on Youtube as @riteshmohan

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