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How Gamification Empowers Customer Loyalty Solutions

How Gamification Empowers Customer Loyalty Solutions

Aaron Moncreiff


Customer loyalty programs have come a long way since the days of punch card promotions and stamp books. Modern retailers have constructed elaborate incentive structures to encourage a wide variety of customer engagement, and rewards programs now extend far beyond the initial purchase, offering incentives for everything from referring friends to leaving online reviews. However, a truly comprehensive loyalty program can run the risk of becoming overly complicated, leaving customers daunted by navigating an unintuitive system.

Gamification can bring coherence to a multifaceted loyalty program. Gamification can generate a unified rewards structure, offering layers of incentives to encourage customers to continue engaging with your brand throughout the product lifecycle. It can also give you flexibility in designing incentives that validate a range of customer desires—discounts to provide immediate monetary value, achievement levels and badges to build a sense of status, and peer-based interactions to cultivate a sense of community around the brand.  

Gamification can also give you new insights into your customer base—what makes your most loyal customers return time and again? By illuminating the patterns that underlie customer loyalty and identifying the incentives that keep your best customers coming back, gamification can give you an edge in cultivating a community of engaged shoppers.    

Putting the Pieces in Motion

An ideal loyalty program will encourage a broad range of engagement with the brand, while offering diverse rewards that appeal to customers on multiple levels. But it should also be simple to understand, and customers need to be able to easily see how their participation generates immediate rewards.

Gamification provides a rewards structure that customers will find intuitively familiar, bringing a cohesive system that can encompass a wide array of incentives. Gamification’s immediate feedback makes it extremely easy for first-time buyers to get going. Every interaction with the brand can be quantified, generating points that can be redeemed for rebates or exclusive offers. Repeat customers can become eligible for higher tiers in the reward program, gaining access to limited-release products or invitations to special promotional events. 

Unlike a traditional points-based system, gamification lets you easily apply nonlinear rewards and automatic bonuses multipliers for your most valued customers. You can set up incentives to focus on consistency, making points accumulate rapidly for those customers who can keep their ‘streak’ of regular engagement alive. Or you can offer bonus rewards for customers who have a wide range of sustained interactions with the brand. A gamification platform can provide special recognition to your most loyal customers: those who not only make repeat purchases, but also leave reviews, refer the company to their friends, and attend promotional events.          

Creating Community

A gamified loyalty program can offer your customers more than simple rebates—it can also create a community surrounding your brand. Customers don’t just want money; they crave status and connection, And a gamification platform can introduce those elements into your loyalty program.

Gamification harnesses your customers’ competitive and collaborative spirit to encourage loyalty and cultivate a sense of personal involvement with the brand. It can make customers visible to one another; it can rank participants within a hierarchy of levels, with your most valuable, reliable customers earning special status that makes them stand out from the crowd. Other features, like peer-awarded badges and trophies, can encourage customers to share their experiences and showcase the real-world uses of your products.

Rewards Flow Both Ways

Gamification can provide insights into customer behavior that will let you fine-tune your loyalty program and encourage repeat business. You’ll have the data to understand what type of incentives your most valuable customers are responding to, and what pathways of engagement are creating lifelong customers. Gamification gives you the tools to identify patterns and optimize your loyalty program to keep customers coming back.

Ultimately, loyalty is about engagement. And gamification is designed to give customers a wide range of ways to stay connected to the brand. Gamification will let you carefully craft an incentive structure that will provide your customers with every reason to keep coming back.

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