Gamification in Ecommerce: Basic Rules

A few days ago we talked about what Gamification is. Can this tool be adapted to e-commerce? Well, that’s where we come in: it isn’t quite so simple after all. We must pick up our chisel and hammer and shape gamification in order to adapt it to a virtual store. The fact is that a virtual store doesn’t look like something that would naturally lend itself to gamification. After all, customers want things quickly and with the least effort possible. Let us then take a look at “with the least effort possible”, as by “effort” we can understand the most affordable price and/or the simplest purchase process.

Gamification in Ecommerce?

A gamifier should be clear that certain rules must never be broken:

–          Users should not be forced to perform tasks that increase the effort necessary to make a purchase.

–          Never damage the image of the product or of the store.

These rules seem obvious, but they can be easily broken in our gamifying overzeal.


Now we know what should never be done. But what should be done? Well, here you should allow your imagination to fly as best you can. There are various basic game dynamics that can be applied in stores, such as collection, classification, point systems, etc. On the basis of these techniques, you can create more advanced techniques – or not, depending on the extent of your ambitiousness. Actually, there are some more rules within the freedom granted by this tool that might be useful.

As in any game or competition, the prize is the engine that drives a successful game. The higher the reward, the greater the attraction. We should be clear that the greater the effort required by the customer’s involvement in the game, the greater the reward for that effort should be. By increasing customer attraction we increase user loyalty and dependence, and ultimately increase traffic to our store. Thus we can add another rule:

–          Establish attractive user goals in the short, medium, and long term.

As in the general game market, some game types are aimed at a certain market and different kinds of game are aimed at another market that demands completely different games. Taking this into account, let us go back to the start, to gamification of a virtual store. You shouldn’t try to apply the same gamifying dynamics to an electrical appliance store and to a sports shop. It is true that they might share certain customers, but it will be difficult to turn the average customer of one shop into a loyal user of the other one. Taking this argument into account, we can generate a new rule:

–          Aim gamification at your average customer.

These rules can guide you when it comes to gamifying your virtual store, correctly considering customer effort when making a purchase, and making the purchase process as attractive as possible.

This is a brave new world to be conquered.

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