The impact of gamification on retail customer engagement

The appeal of interactive experiences has cemented itself into the world of retail. Sephora Beauty uses live streams to promote new products. Ikea recently debut a line of chairs and desks designed specifically for gamers. Starbucks loyalty customers play beat-the-clock classics like hopscotch and bingo that bring them back on the app all day long.

Approximately 17 million Australians identify themselves as gamers. They spend an average of 83 minutes a day with interactive content, and the median age of gamers is 35. As the gaming industry exploded in the last decade, the retail industry was also being turned on its head. Shopping is now an omnichannel, 24-hour-a-day experience that spans mobile, SMS, in-app purchases, social media channels, and digital wallets. 

Consumers want to be entertained. They expect the brands they do business with to keep up with their lives.

The growth of gamification

In 2021 the gamification market was estimated to be US$12.35 billion. It is expected to grow 26 per cent by 2028.

Australian shoppers want gamification in their retail experiences. Sixty-eight per cent say they would enjoy gaming elements while shopping online, 37 per cent are interested in gaming while in-store and 36 per cent are up for trying games in their favourite apps. Increased engagement leads to higher sales.

“With consumers more willing than ever to gamify their shopping experiences, brands need to look beyond the need to convince their prospective customers to just buy something. Shoppers today are happy to be entertained, nudged, challenged, and engaged beyond a product transaction,” said Kate Musgrove, MD at Bazaarvoice at Asia Pacific. 

What can gaming do for retailers?

There are four main reasons retailers should consider gaming as part of a data acquisition strategy. Gaming can help marketers: 

  • Collect valuable customer data.
  • Enhance brand awareness and reputation.
  • Increase customer engagement.
  • Increase sales and revenue.

The importance of personalisation

Interactive games are a way to collect personal information about a shopper that comes directly from the consumer. Marketers use data and automation to create more personalised experiences for each and every customer. 

Done the right way, shoppers love personalisation because it improves the shopping experience. Customers receive content that aligns with their interests, and less messaging that is irrelevant and intrusive. 

The consumer rationale is simple: “If I am going to enjoy something that personally engages me with a brand, they have to know something about me. I will share my personal data if the brand gives me something I value in exchange.”

Data collection and the value exchange

Shoppers are clear about what they want from a retailer. There are notable differences between generations and ages of shoppers. But to a large extent, Apac consumers rank the following as what they value most from a brand in exchange for personal data: 

  1. Discounts.
  2. Loyalty points.
  3. Sweepstakes prizes.
  4. Early access to sales.
  5. Access to locked/premium content.

Permissions and privacy  

There is a clear decline in the appeal of personalisation tactics when it comes to data the shopper did not disclose. Seventy per cent of shoppers are prepared to stop purchasing from a brand if it uses their data without permission.

This brings up the issue of privacy. Forty-nine per cent of shoppers describe themselves as concerned about how companies are using their personal data. 


Gaming offers marketers a proven path to keep shoppers continuously engaged with your brand and content. 

Download the full report to learn more about shoppers’ top three forms of personalisation, what younger shoppers value compared to more mature consumers, and how you can use gaming to boost sales and build a better relationship with all of your customers. It’s about personalisation at scale.