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Boston Retail Partners' Survey Reveals 87 Percent Plan on Using Gamification

May 12, 2015

Retailers, especially those with a higher physical presence, are facing fierce competition from companies that only operate online. In many instances, brick-and-mortar stores have essentially become show rooms in which customers go to see a particular item they want to buy, which they then follow with an online purchase because of the lower prices. However, currently consumers still prefer purchasing inside a physical store, and if they want to maintain that lead they have to integrate both worlds into a seamless platform with omni-channel features. The latest survey from Boston Retailers Partners reveals retailers are implementing customer relationship management (CRM) solutions as a key enabler to influencing customers. And gamification has become an important tool as part of the CRM deployment.

The concept of gamification is to apply game mechanics and game thinking into non-gaming context by engaging users in order to solve problems. Loyalty programs, behavioral economics and game design can be leveraged for successful outcomes. Users are rewarded for performing different tasks, and the information gathered during this interaction is used to find out their shopping habits, with the ultimate goal of improving the total experience for long-term customer retention.

“Customer experience and engagement continues to be the top priority for retailers in their quest to gain and retain customers,” said Brian Brunk, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

According to the survey, only 6 percent of respondents used gamification last year, and this year there was a 25 percent jump, bringing the total to 31 percent. Within the next five years Boston Retailers Partners expects the number to rise to 87 percent of retailers, representing a 181 percent increase in the number of retailers that will be using gamification within that period.

In addition to gamification, retailers are implementing a range of CRM solutions to continually engage their customers. Some of the CRM features retailers have implemented include:

  • Identify the customer – a whopping 883 percent more retailers plan to identify customers when they walk in the store within five years.
  • Engage the customer – 74 percent of retailers indicate that customer experience/engagement is one of their top three CRM priorities.
  • Analyze the customer – 100 percent of the retailers surveyed plan to utilize analytics/dashboard to understand customer purchases and shopping behaviors within two years.
  • Retain the customer – 46 percent of retailers indicate that a structured loyalty program is one of their top three CRM priorities.

Retailers have been trying to figure out consumer behavior for a very long time, and the success rate is debatable. With the available technology in today’s market place, they hope to use the massive amount of information about their customers to sway them on their side. Gamification is one of the many tools they are using to aggregate this information and reward their customers with better and more meaningful experiences. Whether it will bear fruit is to be determined in time, but for now, almost everyone seems to be jumping aboard.