20 min read

What is E-commerce Gamification? Top Ideas & Examples

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce where brands constantly look for creative ways to approach prospects and keep them engaged, gamification is the most entertaining technique to consider.

E-commerce gamification is a fun, yet often ignored, strategy for solving some of the most common yet daunting marketing dilemmas.

Then again, it all depends on how you want to do it and what tools you’ve got by your side for this endeavor.

To help you get started, I rounded up top tips on how to introduce gamification into your online store and provided some real-world examples from big players in this game for more inspiration.

What is E-commerce Gamification?

E-commerce gamification is the technique of integrating game concepts and elements into your marketing strategy with the purpose of entertaining users and influencing their behavior.

The art of turning shopping experiences into a game lies in using key components like rewards and competitions to encourage repetitive behavior triggered by the dopamine response.

In the long run, by implementing this method and choosing the right resources, you can reduce cart abandonment, retain churned visitors, and even convert them into loyal customers.

Sugar quoting the didactic method through games has always been a popular teaching technique.

Basically, this approach focuses on engaging in terms of playing, which led e-commerce brands to wonder why not utilize it to their advantage!?

How to Use Gamification in E-commerce Successfully?

a spin the wheel popup template that says "lets play a game" with a green background and a wheel discount on the right side offering prizes

Marketing through games is fun and intriguing; plus, if you do it right, it can boost your brand awareness, improve customer experience and bring you a lot of positive attention.

In this context, there are four factors to consider when implementing gamification in your e-commerce marketing or sales plan:

  • The Motivator: What hooks users and makes them want to engage?
  • The Effort: How much time & effort is required?
  • The Gameplay: What is the game strategy? How to play?
  • The Reward: What is the incentive that keeps users entertained?

In fact, a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology indicates that gamification enhances purchase intent if game dynamics meet the psychological needs of consumers.

The truth is that people derive meaning from their activities when they are aligned with their core aspects of enjoyment.

Gamification, by nature, thrives in the context of competition to win, and in this sense autonomy, rewards, and absorption play an important role in its success.

The key to developing a compelling strategy to trigger the participation is to know users' demographics, what they like, their stage of life, and their hobbies.

Therefore, analyzing the psychographic segmentation of your leads is crucial to setting harmony in this motion.

12 Best E-commerce Gamification Examples

Here are examples of famous brands using gaming mechanisms to the fullest extent. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these e-commerce gamification examples – and see what we can learn.

1. Lego - Play Ground

Lego brand specializes in puzzles and games and masterfully uses gamification to its advantage.

Lego navigational popup example with Lego characters and call to actions for homepage and playground

Lego Playgrounds is an app-based channel delivering various experimental Lego play experiences and scenarios.

This gamification approach aims to enhance the Lego game experience and provide visitors with a fluid and experimental adventure that combines the physical and digital Lego worlds.

Once you enter the website, a navigational popup asks whether you want to visit the website shop, play games, watch videos, and more!

Lego playground page displaying gaming elements and illustration related to the brand as a gamification example

In the playground, there are numerous scenarios and game elements to explore.

You can sign in and create your customized avatar and collect points and engage with other players.

Lego basically turned this playground into a community or, as it should be called, a fan club!

This is the magic of gamification. 🪄

2. Casper - Mattress Quiz

Another great e-commerce gamification example is from the Casper mattress brand.

Casper mattress quiz page that asks uses "what kind of mattress do you currently step on?" with four different option as an answer

On its website, you can take a quiz about mattresses, and it will tell you what type of mattress suits you best based on your answers.

The quiz is super easy and engaging and gives you several options to choose from.

Additionally, the brand has a puzzle page that contains rebus riddles and a series of illustrations that spell out a word, without any additional context.

casper puzzled page with illustration of a girl and a bed as an ecommerce gamification example

Casper added the riddles and their solutions to their website and even made them into a downloadable puzzle coloring book.

The purpose of this gamification is brand awareness and helps users learn more about the products.

3. M&M - Product Customization

M&M literally wins the product customization game!

M&M product customization game showing the chocolates in different colors with a setting bar choose the colors

The famous chocolate brand takes the shopping experience to the next level using gamification.

It allows customers to design almost anything individually — from color to designs and packaging of a batch of M&M's.

Offering customization and mixing it with a dash of gamification encourages customers to engage and share their experiences with others.

M&M checkout page in the product gamification process

The only drawback to this may be the cost of the customized chocolates.

Evidently, custom-designed products are more expensive, but in this case M&M aslo offers two payment options to provide greater flexibility.

4. Pit Viper - User Interface & User Experience

Pit Viper is a sunglasses brand that offers a user experience on its website that is masterfully gamified.

Founded by two skiers with a passion for having fun, Pit Viper creates the most entertaining user experience with its game-like user interface.

pitviper website homepage looking like an old computer as an ecommerce gamification example

It's like being in a video game or a computer from the 90s when you enter the website.

Every element of their business -- products, copywriting, marketing, everything -- is like a fun game.

In this way, they turned the entire website experience into a game, thereby tremendously extending user engagement.

pitviper product page showing different items like in an old computer or game as an ecommerce gamification example

Check it out for yourself and see how much nostalgia and good memories it brings.

They even created a community of key players, and every month they announce a winner.

Let's just say they know how to play in this game!

5. Wlliampainter - Spin the Wheel Popup

Wlliampainter is another cool eyewear brand that knows how to hook visitors with wheel popups.

The brand uses a discount wheel popup for first-time visitors to grow its email list.

williampainter spin the wheel popup example as a gamification strategy

From a 5% to 15% discount, it incentivizes the popup campaign and adds a little bit of gamification with the spin-to-win element.

It’s super entertaining, and best of all, you end up with a discount code that you can use for your all orders.

williampainter discount popup that appears after the wheel popup and gifts the user a code to use for all the purchases and a call to action that says "Shop Sunglassess"

6. Duolingo - Educational Puzzle Games

Duolingo is the king of educational gamification, and if you still don’t know about it you better start case studying it now.

Douliongo E-learning homepage with an illustration of the planet earch and a blue back ground and a green call to action that says "Get Started"

From competition to community, badges, certificates, wagers, and coins; Everything about this platform is gamified.

The brand created a four-point gamification strategy within its application that helps make learning foreign languages fun and engaging.

Duolingo asks users to set small, specific daily goals to help break down the task.

Doulingo in-app gamification showing the learning page with different levels of education and an illustration of Dou the bird character

The smaller tasks bring users back daily, and consistent users are rewarded.

Several external triggers are available to encourage lapsed users to return, as well as a progress bar to compare your progress with other learners or your own expectations.

7. KFC - Shrimp Attack Game

KFC Japan with the help of Gamify created a mobile game to promote its new Shrimp menu item.

KFC Shripm attack gamification landing page with an illustration of a Japanees house and a red shrimp

So they launched “KFC Shrimp Attack”, a game in which you had to slash at ebi shrimps when they appeared at the bottom of the screen to protect the castle of KFC's chicken kingdom.

In addition to raising awareness, the brand rewarded its users with discount vouchers in order to encourage them to try the product

The campaign created a huge buzz and brought in over 800,000 players and 600 hours of playtime.

KFC Shrimp Attack ecommerce gamification campaign description, that says "this is a sample of a campaign for KFC Japan"

Eventually, it had to be stopped halfway through its original duration due to product shortages.

Gamify later published a report that said 22% of people who played the game redeemed their vouchers in-store.

That's an impressive conversion rate!

It's amazing how much gamification has helped drive this many sales and engagements!

8. Forest - Stay Focused

Forest is a popular productivity app that helps people beat their phone addiction and manage their time in an interesting and pleasant way.

Forest application chrome extention gamification example showing a countdown timer and an illustration of a tree

Those who don't use their cell phones can earn credits and use them to plant real trees worldwide.

Forest's entire business model is based on its social responsibility and partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on Earth.

Forest personality test landing page with a pink background, an illustration of a mobile screen and a QR code to be scanned

With a cute and playful design and an interface that is gamified and lets users spend the virtual coins, they earned to plant real trees.

The app works like a phone game, except it gives you time rather than taking it away.

Helping people focus on their work and feel that their contribution is making a difference is how Forest keeps them engaged.

Furthermore, the app offers a personality test to help users find out their focus type and plant their personal flowers.

9. Fabulous - Onboarding Quiz

Fabulous is another great productivity app and accountability partner that uses behavioral science tests to help users make smart changes and build healthy habits.

Fabulous brand homepagewith an illustration of a character in white watching the sunset with a call to action that says "Start your journey"

The tool helps users create a structure in their lives and focus on deep work with the help of a supportive community.

The app focuses on gamifying meaningful daily routines and stack habits to help users reach their goals.

Fabulous. brand onboarding quize as a gamification example that asks "what are your main goals" with different options as answers

Additionally, you can take an onboarding quiz designed by behavior change experts that gives you interesting insights and tips at the beginning of your journey.

10. Starbucks - Loyalty Points Programme

Starbucks Rewards program gamifies the customer loyalty process by offering stars and points.

Customers can collect the stars over time that can be redeemed as free drinks, free menu items and other rewards!

Starbucks loyalty program page that says "Get stars on every order" with a logo of Starbucks Rewards program

It might surprise you to learn that this plan contributes between 40% to 50% of the Starbucks total revenue, making it one of the world's most valuable loyalty programs.

By offering an in-app experience Starbucks tailors the promotions to each customer preference using the purchase and preference data it collects.

Users can also earn free drinks by completing challenges within a week, such as buying a certain amount of a specific product.

To further entice users, it also offers time-sensitive offers, such as double stars on certain days.

11. Nike - Run Club

Nike Running Club app showcases the success of community gamification.

Nike run club page that shows an photo of a number of people running together happily and an screenshot of the mobile app

As a “perfect running partner” the club is offering a community where one can learn everything to start running.

Runners can follow each other in this online community track their progress, earn trophies and badges, and celebrate their wins.

Nike run club instagram page that shows the number of followers, followings and recently published posts

As users progress and social support grows, their loyalty and dependence on the app increases.

That’s how Nike keeps the community loyal and entertained!

12. L’occitane - Seeds of Dreams

The last example of e-commerce gamification comes from L'occitane, a natural beauty brand.

Loccitane "seeds of dreams" gamification campaign that show an illustration of a seed

The brand’s sustainability and green living mission motivated it to create a unique digital experience for users.

The “Seeds of Dreams” game shows the participants the natural bond between seeds and it brand’s product.

In this game, players have to water their seeds, bring them sun and give them loads of love by clicking on their faces.

With its cute interface and easy and fun user experience, the game offers a great incentive for users to play.

The more you engage, the more rewards you can earn!

Which E-commerce Gamification Strategies Work Best?

There are numerous unique ways to set the ideas of contest and participation into action and challenge visitor intellect to interact.

Even though creativity plays a major role in this process, and each e-commerce business should develop its customized gamification strategy, there are still certain general tips and ideas to keep in mind.

Here are a few of them that may shed some light on your e-commerce gamification journey.

So, let’s dig a little bit deeper and find out more.

Gamify Your E-commerce Social Responsibility

To practice social responsibility is to benefit society, micro or macro, by taking actions or contributing to others' efforts.

Many large companies like Nike, Starbucks, BodyShop and Microsoft have adopted social responsibility initiatives that align with their business models and have been promoting them in various ways.

Gamification is one way!

BodyShop Animal Cruelty Mission description that says "Forever against animal testing"

Regardless of how big or small, your business is, you can also make social responsibility a part of your customer loyalty program through gamification.

This can include matching gift programs, monetary donations, and volunteer grant funding.

Just create a cause-related mission and make your audience feel a part of it with gamification.

Let Them Spin the Wheel with a Cool Popup Campaign

Using spin the wheel strategy for your popup can gamify and incentivize your campaign and result in a great number of sales and conversions.

a Black Friday spin the wheel popup example asking for the users email address

This technique is not new, as it's been used by many gaming TV shows for a long time, but not many people consider it an effective marketing strategy.

In reality, prize wheels are super entertaining and perfect for any type of e-commerce campaign.

It’s no secret that popups convert and can provide you with valuable user data and a list of potential customers.

Yet, the first rule of a successful popup campaign is that visitors must be interested enough to click on them.

And wheel popups are just the kind of solution you need to engage people and entertain them

Using a user-friendly popup builder you can also create your wheel popup campaign and collect users' data to refine your efforts.

Just give it a try and see how it impacts your campaign!

Launch a Wheel Popup Campaign in 5 Minutes!

Organize a Trivia Quiz with a Point System

People love games, challenges, and entertainment, so why not give it to them with a little touch of marketing?

Put together fun crosswords or a personality quiz related to your products, and offer participants the best option based on the answers with a discount code.

You can also design a points system that can be redeemed in the long run.

Taking this approach, not only can you boost your brand awareness and engage your customers more, but you also associate your product with fun, enjoyment, and encouraging emotions.

Over time, this may even lead them to become your brand advocate!

E-commerce Gamification Key Takeaways

a notebook and a hand that is writing key takeaways in it

Gamification and incentivization is the new solution to boosting customer experience and making decision-making easier.

And there is more to it than just the examples above.

Here are a few more highlights you can apply & benefit greatly from the result:

  • Use power-up tokens.
  • Plan treasure hunts.
  • Don’t forget the wagers game.
  • Design generative quests.
  • Develop multiplayer activations.
  • Explore referral programs in-game.
  • Let users voting for a product feature.
  • Offer users customizable avatar option.
  • Offer freebies on social media contests.
  • Build a community & track your progress.
  • Take advantage of countdowns & limited time offers.
  • Persuade group buying through compelling incentives.
  • Take advantage of Halloween marketing & seasonal promotions.
  • Design achievement trophies & promote them in loyalty programs.

Final Words…

Gamification is not an entirely new concept; however, it has become increasingly popular in the e-commerce sector as technology evolves.

So, if you weren't sure whether to use it in your marketing and promotion campaigns or not, you might want to give it a shot now.

Gamification gives online businesses the chance to connect with users in a closer and entertaining manner.

The key is to provide an interactive experience for every single one of your customers!

It does not have to be an expensive project, you can even start with a simple spin to win popup campaign.

Just let the users play with your website and encourage them to discover and find hidden features on the platform.

Through visual appealing animations, surprises, gift rewards and simple objectives, you can engage customers in a manner they will enjoy.

That is e-commerce gamification at its best!

On the other hand, this technique has both benefits and drawbacks.

So, start modestly and research various e-commerce websites until you come up with a plan that works best for you!

 a gif sayin "That's all folks"

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best E-commerce Gamification Solution?

From a simple popup builder like Popupsmart to a platform dedicated to gaming campaigns like Gamify, any tool that allows you to apply game mechanics to non-game contexts is a good place to start.

What are the Gamification benefits for E-commerce?

Using gamification for e-commerce boosts user engagement and increase your average time on page. It can generate buzz for your new product and help you in your promotion campaigns.

How Gamification is Used in Education Programs?

Here are some of the best examples of using game elements for engaging and motivating learners:

  • Storytelling & narrative.
  • Funny illustration & characters.
  • Daily challenges with prize.
  • Progress indicators like points/badges/leaderboards.
  • Social connection & team work.

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