NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: With the number of mobile shoppers increasing every day and e-commerce continuing to gobble up more and more of the $22 trillion-plus global retail market, gamification is emerging as a highly effective conversion technology for turning web app visitors into loyal customers through the use of entertaining game design features.
- E-Commerce has high growth rate and considerable room to grow
- Customer conversion tech such as gamification spreading fast due to efficacy
- China and Asia-Pacific have highest e-commerce growth rates
DeepMarkit Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF) (MKTDF Profile) is at the forefront of the trend toward gamification for e-commerce with offerings such as the recently released multiplatform slide-out app Gamify, which helped accelerate month-over-month growth of the company’s merchant base by 61 percent. Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) recently released Shopify Ping, a message consolidation app for iOS that unifies messaging from social media, email and other sources with a merchant’s online storefront to create a seamless real-time conversation space. E-Commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) reportedly handled 44 percent of all e-commerce sales in the United States last year (4 percent of all retail), according to One Click Retail. In addition, a recent Alpine.AI and InfoScout study shows the company pulling down 8 percent higher sales from owners of the company’s gamified and Alexa skills-enabled Bluetooth speaker, the Echo. Often called the Amazon.com of China, Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) has some 552 million active users via Taobao and Tmall, and the company has established a nice relationship with the Chinese middle-class consumer with offerings such as the augmented reality shopping game “Catch the Cat,” which launched last Singles’ Day (November 11) at the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Alibaba’s up-and-coming rival JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: JD), via partnership with Tencent’s (OTC: TCEHY) multipurpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app WeChat, has also seen major success in this general area with group-buying platform Pinduoduo’s gamified shopping app sweeping the platform. Pinduoduo recently filed for a $1 billion U.S. IPO.
E-Commerce Driven by Mobile Proliferation, Especially in Asia
While e-commerce’s chunk of the retail market grew around 1.6 percent last year to make up 10.2 percent of the global retail pie, the Asia-Pacific region handily outstripped the baseline, with 14.6 percent of retail in that region being attributable to e-commerce spending. Overall, global e-commerce grew by 24.8 percent last year to just over $2.3 trillion on the strength of mobile technology proliferation, with m-commerce now representing just shy of 60 percent of digital sales.
China alone was just over 67 percent of global m-commerce last year, owing in large part to the massive mobile-first internet audience. With over half the country using mobile internet and a whopping 97.5 percent of internet users having employed a mobile device to get online, it is little wonder that m-commerce sales are expected to triple in China by 2021. Gobbling up the retail pie at an amazing rate, e-commerce still has a ton of room to grow at only approximately 10 percent of overall retail sales; the China e-commerce boom in particular looks set to steam on mightily. The country rocketed past the United States in terms of overall retail sales in 2016 and continues to dominate the e-commerce landscape, with over $1.149 trillion in online sales last year. In addition, there will be an astonishing 1.3 billion smartphone users in China before the year is out, a telling statistic that colors the potential for gamification in retail.
Gamification Done Right Is Key
DeepMarkit Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF) appears to be on the cutting edge of smart customer conversion technology with offerings such as the company’s advanced, highly customizable slide-out Gamify app, which launched for free on Shopify in February. The app has subsequently become available on fast-growing e-commerce platform BigCommerce, as well as seeing incarnation as a plug-in for WordPress. An arguably slick-looking gamification platform for e-commerce sites, Gamify is a real testament to DeepMarkit’s constant drive toward developing new and compelling ways to engage audiences such as the retail consumer.
Gamify has been winning over merchants due to ease of setup, the multiple brandable game types available and the ability to offer enticing, tailorable rewards using custom odds. As is evident from the demo, gameplay and potential rewards are made accessible to the user upon simply supplying an email address. Such approaches to the implementation of gamified customer conversion technology have seen great successes in recent history and are continuing to find favor due to their readily observable efficacy. A key element in all of this appears to be an inherent human compulsion to play games and solve puzzles, due in part it seems to the kinds of direct cognitive and creative benefits such activity can produce.
Why Gamification Works, Particularly in E-Commerce
Gamify puts an intuitive reward game front end on the digital shopping experience. The platform does so in a world of increasingly prevalent e-commerce as a means of consistently converting visitors into entries on the mailing list, as well as new checkout orders. Giving people the chance to win a prize they can apply to merchandise they were likely thinking of purchasing anyway helps create a greater sense of added value for consumers.
Receptivity to Gamify among merchants has been robust, generating positive feedback about the platform’s demonstrated capacity to rapidly increase email generation and build better customer relationships through more meaningful interactions. The company’s merchant base growth outside North America, combined with extremely positive overall customer feedback on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-compliant Gamify solution, has set up DeepMarkit nicely to fully exploit the recent $1.5 million private placement from Hong Kong-based software solutions provider Allstate Enterprise.
The DeepMarkit team is reportedly hard at work developing what users have asked for, with more games, gamified surveys and an even richer feature set to be launched with the paid version of the app coming out in coming months. Gamify currently supports full customization of all text fields, making the solution a perfect fit for multilanguage deployment around the globe. Hence the recent partnership with ITN International, which works directly with corporate event producers, marketing agencies, tradeshow managers and exhibitors across six continents.
A top mobile NFC and cloud-based event solutions provider that services upwards of 15,000 exhibitors and 1.5 million attendees each year, ITN was a natural choice for DeepMarkit to partner with in a joint marketing agreement because of its status as a trade show data capture and analytics heavyweight. Through 125 events a year and some of the biggest trade shows around the globe, DeepMarkit’s innovative platform solution is acquiring quite an audience. The two companies are currently integrating the platform into ITN’s exhibitor portal, where it will be promoted by ITN and made available for purchase.
Broad-Spectrum Gamification at the Heart of Future Retail
Whether they are trying to drive consumers to the digital shopping basket or entics web surfers to visit a brick-and-mortar location, e-commerce entities are embracing the full spectrum of gamification in order to advance customer retention and build brand identity.
JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: JD) is confidently banking on m-commerce and even online-to-offline conversion, as evidenced by the company’s upscale 7Fresh Chinese grocery stores’ heavy use of QR codes, electronic shelf labeling and RFID-driven info tags and readers. The $550 million strategic partnership/cash investment from Google in mid-June leverages JD’s supply chain and logistics expertise nicely, as well as its strong ground game in Asia. The strategic investment sets the companies up for retail ecosystem building that will reportedly lead beyond Southeast Asia into the United States and Europe.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), which posted a 56 percent increase in third-quarter revenue and recently displaced International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) in cloud computing prowess, holds about 51 percent of the Chinese e-commerce market (compared to JD.com’s 33 percent or so). The company’s sheer scale, number of products and influence has made it a one-stop shop for top brands. This is important to remember considering the recent data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showing online retail sales hit $205.8 billion for the first two months of 2018, soaring 38 percent from last year’s figure.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which some analysts are starting to refer to as the American Alibaba, is still arguably the most influential global e-commerce player and seemingly still has the power to set the tone when it comes to gamification. Estimates by Alpine.AI of around 50 million Alexa-enabled devices sold puts a bold underline beneath the growing body of evidence showing Echo owners spend more. It may not seem like an immediate connection to think of Echo as a virtual intelligence with a gamified personality that is fun to interact with, but sales numbers don’t lie. Again, one of the real strengths of this company is the sheer number of products on offer, something which allows brands to feel confident they are reaching the largest possible audience.
Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) also makes good use of the power of size to draw in new brands. A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily expressed well how emergent brands are building foundations on Shopify, even as more established brands continue to gravitate toward the e-commerce venue. The spread of Shopify to 600,000-plus merchants in more than 175 countries means the company does a lot of turnover setting up e-commerce sites for small businesses all over the world, a trend that has been a real boon for gamification. Shopify even provides a good amount of educating online retailers about the benefits of gamification with Shopify Blogs on the subject.
Gamification helps merchants establish a rapport with customers and drive visitor conversion, resulting in a better, data-driven understanding of the end users. Simultaneously, gamification can juice already compounding growth in e-commerce by involving customers in a participatory reward loop that gives them a sense of earned and added value, typically before a purchase is even made.
For more information on DeepMarkit Inc., please visit DeepMarkit Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF)
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