Our “Ask the Expert” column taps into the knowledge of digital commerce gurus to provide insights into commonly asked questions surrounding the industry’s trending topics.
Lazada’s shoppertainment strategy brings together retail and entertainment to create highly immersive, engaging and memorable experiences for consumers. A key feature of this trend is gamification, which leverages interactive, playable features to create stronger connections. In this edition of “Ask the Expert,” we speak to Mu Qingsong, the team lead of gamification at Lazada Guangzhou, to better understand the gamification phenomenon and the opportunities brands and businesses can seize in this space.
What is gamification in eCommerce?
Gamification refers to the application of game elements – the mechanics, design, technology, rewards systems and so on – to non-game scenarios. This is often done to better achieve business goals. In eCommerce, offering interactive gamified experiences enables users to become more engaged and have more fun in the shopping process.
For example, the Lazada app has a game-like feature that provides consumers with virtual banana tree seeds that they can plant, nurture and grow until the seeds bloom and bear fruits. Users can harvest the fruits as in-app rewards or even exchange them for real bananas that can be delivered directly to their doorsteps. Not only does this feature offer an interesting and fulfiling experience to users, it also encourages them to engage with Lazada’s platform more frequently as they care for their plants.
Why is gamification becoming more popular?
Shoppers increasingly expect more immersive and interactive retail experiences both offline and online. Innovative gameplay and gaming elements have become an especially effective way of attracting and retaining customers. We have seen overwhelmingly positive responses from users who participate in our voucher rain segments during livestreams or who earn shopping discounts by playing mini-games.
Gamification also allows for stronger connections with users, which is why more brands are turning to these features to promote their products. Instead of passively viewing advertisements, users gain a deeper understanding of a brand when they spend time to play a game. They might also browse relevant products and even place orders as they play. All this brings more sustainable traffic and orders to the brand.
What are some best practices when it comes to gamification?
A gratifying rewards system is key to boosting loyalty and making customers stick around. During last 11.11, Lazada launched a game called Lazzie Star in Singapore to give away a SG$1 million apartment as the grand prize. By leveling up their game characters, users could earn “Golden Keys”, which in turn could be used to draw prizes in the game. Lazzie Star attracted tens of thousands of players, and the grand prize was eventually won by a 70-year-old retired fish soup vendor. Aside from the grand prize, the game also featured a large number of platform shopping vouchers to reward its players. Similarly, during our recent 10th birthday sale, more than 5 million users from Malaysia took part in Lazzie Hunt, a mini-game that tasked players with finding and collecting Lazzie – Lazada’s loveable mascot – in exchange for special rewards, vouchers, wallet rebates and so forth.
It’s also important to cater to a wide range of lifestyles and gaming preferences. For example, some Lazada shoppers like Lucky Egg, because all they need to do is log in to the app for just one minute to crack a virtual egg that contains shipping vouchers or discounts for well-known brands. Others like Happy Match – a free-to-play matching game, where players spend more than 70 minutes a day to pass different levels.
How can brands and sellers ride on this trend?
To succeed with gamification, the shopping and entertainment aspects must be seamlessly combined to create a fun and rewarding environment for users. Brands and sellers can choose different gaming mechanisms and rewards systems to maximize the benefits of gamification. At the same time, they should also consider their actual needs and objectives in relation to gaming mechanics to achieve the best results.
For example, sellers that value brand exposure should add their brands’ information to their games. They could also become title sponsors of mini-games, which means that their information is presented in an engaging manner to users who play the game or invite others to do so. Meanwhile, other brands can choose to allow users to exchange game currency for rewards, such as free or discounted trial products, which makes people more invested in their products.
What are some trends that businesses can look out for in this space?
Humans crave fun, challenges and socialization, and these are lasting values that gamification in any context can provide to greatly benefit the overall user experience. We expect gamification to continue transforming both the offline and online retail scenes. In addition, it will also support the rising trend of omnichannel shopping. For example, brands can use games to guide offline consumers to buy products online and vice versa. Some brands place customized QR codes on physical product packaging so that users can scan the codes and instantly join their interactive online mini-games and also share it with their friends. In the future, gamification and shoppertainment will be even more integrated into users’ daily shopping habits, to the point that it will likely become a crucial point of differentiation among brands.
Compiled and prepared by Yeqing Tan from the gamification team in Guangzhou.
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