Gamification + every-day-relevant rewards = success on mobile

Recent years many convenience retailers have launched their app program. Many of these have discovered that getting downloads is just the starting point and not really the right measure of success. Getting active app users that open the app often, engage with the brand and that ultimately become buying customers in store are what success should be measured by. How large is your app user base, how active is it and what business impact does it represent in terms of in-store transactions?

What do you need to do on mobile to create a larger and more active app user base that makes a bigger impact on your business?

Maybe it makes sense to start broad asking what do consumers do on mobile? A Harvard Business Review study found seven primary motivations for consumers to use their smartphones. Shopping represented 13% and socializing 19%. The biggest motivation however was found to be "me time" – simply seeking relaxation or entertainment.

Which apps are most successful on app store and Google play store? Games. Games are downloaded the most. Games have the most active users. And in general, games apps are the category of apps that are making the most money.

How can convenience retailers win more of their target consumers "me time"? Are convenience retailers well positioned to do so? I believe they are. Because convenience retailers have something that is a perfect fit with games. Every-day-relevant rewards.

If done right adding gamification to a convenience retailer´s app program, combined with promoting the right products as rewards, will prove successful on the three above measures. Reitan Convenience, with brands such as 7-Eleven, Narvesen and Pressbyrån, are already experiencing this on their mobile initiatives. With years of experience with their app programs containing coupons, stamp cards and prepaid cards they´ve recently seen a tremendous effect from adding gamification to the program.

Gamification can be coupon mechanics such as price countdowns (read more here), but it can also be real games. Simple games like scratch card or more advanced games.

Coca-Cola Company is one of the global brands that have really understood the impact that gamification can add to a digital campaign on mobile. I will share two cases, which both are live until December 24th.

Christmas campaign – Coca-Cola and Narvesen (Norway)

In the period of December 1st to 24th, Narvesen app users can scratch a digital scratch card one time – every day. The scratch card is Coca-Cola branded with a Christmas look and feel. App users can win gift cards, free Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola discounts. All rewards are single-use unique coupons and these are scanned in-store for secure and automatic redemption and settlement between Coca-Cola, the retailer and the merchants.

Narvesen controls the game 100%. Together with Coca-Cola they´ve defined the probabilities to win the different rewards and they can steer towards the volume targets agreed with Coca-Cola for the campaign.

Push notification is used to ensure that existing app users open the app and play the game. The element of gamification clearly engages consumers and new users downloads the app, register and play simply driven by word of mouth.

Interesting insights from similar campaigns in the past are that app users, by themselves, open the app the next day – and the next day – and the next day. They open the app simply because they crave for the excitement of scratching – will I win today? The more times they´ve played, the higher probability they will play the next day as well. Typically, the engagement remains and increases throughout the period of the campaign. And if they win – similar campaigns have showed that the discount coupons that are "won" have higher redemption rates than similar discount coupons (same product, same rebate) if they are "just" coupons. App users that win a reward in a game feel it´s more than a coupon. It´s my coupon! I won it – and I will use it.

An add-on to this app campaign is Coca-Cola´s advertising on Facebook. On Facebook Coca-Cola communicates that consumers can power their Narvesen app with a bonus chance with a bigger prize – simply by texting Christmas to a short number. By texting the consumers get the bonus scratch card in the app. With a SMS flow Coca-Cola also drive new app downloads for Narvesen, helping them to recruit new users.

Christmas campaign – Coca-Cola and 7-Eleven/Pressbyrån (Sweden)

In the period of December 1st to 24th, Swedish consumers can download a Coca-Cola branded Santa Mission app on app store and Google play store. The app is an advanced game, similar to Subway Surfers or Temple Run but with a Santa running. It is an endless running game where the Santa collect varies objects to earn points, but has to avoid obstacles in the game. Players swipe to go left and right, jump up or slide down. The obstacles have branded messages from Coca-Cola about the spirit of Christmas.

If you are able to collect a surprise package you can win mobile coupons that you can redeem in 7-Eleven or Pressbyrån stores across Sweden. The discount coupons are a free Coca-Cola, a Coca-Cola and hot dog meal deal and a Coca-Cola and bakery deal.

Again Coca-Cola achieves a high level of engagement and also higher in-store conversion rates than from regular campaigns. The Santa Run game is run this Christmas, but was also the Christmas campaign last year in Sweden – together with Reitan Convenience.

A part of the Coca-Cola campaign is also that as consumers play the game Coca-Cola increases donations to a charity organization in Sweden. In 2015 100.000 meals were given to people in need.

In a gamification perspective an important point to add is that in Sweden – as with many other markets – retailers and brands are not allowed to launch games where consumers play and win rewards by chance. The Santa run game is a performance-based game.

Combining gamification and couponing is possible with Liquid Barcodes technology. Liquid Barcodes technology platform powers retailers and brands apps and connects them with the retailer point of sale system through unique codes.

Mats Danielsen, Founder and CEO of Liquid Barcodes will be on stage at the 2017 Handel und Wandel an Tankstellen und Convinience Stores Conference

Handel und Wandel in Tankstellen und Convenience-Shops

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