NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: E-commerce continues to see steady growth, thanks in part to growing markets and in part to clever gamification and analytical tools.
- Gamification uses the psychology of video games to encourage shoppers to spend money and share information.
- The addition of analytics lets retailers better understand their customer base.
- China and India will soon have nearly 2 billion smartphone users, vastly increasing the e-commerce market.
DeepMarkit, Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF) (MKTDF Profile) is tapping into all these trends, creating an adaptable gamification app for online retailers that provides analytics while attracting customers. This app can be used on the platform provided by Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), which is now one of the biggest online retail venues and actively encourages its merchants to make use of gamification and analytics. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has made effective use of gamification from early on, with ratings systems that encourage sellers and reviewers. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) supports online retail through its cloud solutions and has recently teamed up with Walmart to challenge Amazon for online dominance. For any online retailer, Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)‘s Google Analytics is a crucial tool, providing insight into customers and their behavior.
The Power of Making Shopping Fun
Gamification is one of the most powerful tools in the world of modern marketing. It’s the application of game-like features to a nongame platform to allow people to engage utilizing a video game industry concept. For marketing, that means getting potential consumers to pay attention to a company, buy its products and services, and even provide that company with valuable information. This innovative tool is expected to make the gamification market worth $2.8 billion during the next two years.
Gamification works by tapping into human psychology. Games are rewarding for a variety of reasons. They allow players to feel a sense of achievement, master part of their environment and express themselves. Games can be an opportunity to socialize through playing together, in addition to talking about the experience with others. Games even provide opportunities for players to gain status among others in the same playing circle. If customers experience those same opportunities while shopping with a company, they are more likely to hand over their cash and information in exchange for the thrill gaming brings.
Getting into Gamification
Eighty-seven percent of American retailers plan to use gamification over the next five years. One of the companies helping these companies achieve this goal is DeepMarkit, Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF).
DeepMarkit provides easily accessible gamification for e-commerce stores. Its range of games is customizable, allowing retailers to customize their approach to follow and reinforce their brand. Compatible with major website providers such as Shopify, WordPress and Wix, DeepMarkit’s platform allows anyone running an e-commerce site to add a game element to their shopping experience. Shoppers can then play games that offer discounts chosen by the retailer.
Some of the benefits of this approach come from the shopping experience. People using Gamify games enjoy their experience and are more likely to return. And when customers win a discount, they may buy more products to make the most of the opportunity.
But Gamify does more than motivate customers to return to a business site. It provides a way for retailers to encourage shoppers to join the site’s mailing list, opening up one of the most powerful marketing channels available. It also provides real-time analytics, providing retailers with invaluable feedback that helps them better understand activity on their sites.
The popularity of gamification is reflected in DeepMarkit’s sales. The company is seeing an average of 61 percent month-on-month growth in its customer base, with hundreds of new customers adopting Gamify games each month.
Gamification is useful in itself but becomes more powerful when it’s combined with analytics, such as those included with Gamify’s games.
Collecting and analyzing customer data isn’t new, but it’s an area that has seen significant new growth over the past 10 years as the internet has made it easier to collect information on customers and more sophisticated analytical tools allow businesses to make sense of what they’re seeing. For marketing campaigns in particular, this is a powerful tool that allows businesses to gain an understanding of where their customers come from and what marketing they respond to best.
The use of analytics is vital for any modern business looking to get ahead of its competitors. Revealing which sales and marketing channels are the most effective helps a business identify and work with its strengths to leverage the most efficient use of its resources.
Gamify makes the most of this by adding analytics to its games. Sites using the app track in real time how many people are using the games and how many of those are converting to marketing leads. By changing the setup of the game, administrators of the sites can test what works best in attracting customers and how much value they’re seeing from this approach. By drawing attention to the game in different channels then looking at when the most users arrive to play the game, Gamify can reveal how people are finding out about the site, an invaluable source of marketing data.
Tapping into Emerging Markets
Now is a critical time for engaging with customers online. Thanks to mobile phone accessibility, emerging markets are seeing a huge growth in the number of people with access to the internet. According to one estimate, nearly 2 billion people will be using smartphones in China and India alone by the end of this year. This widespread adoption of mobile technology is creating a huge opportunity for businesses.
Gaming is one of the most popular pastimes for mobile users. They’re often looking for entertainment through their phones, drawing them to sites with games. By becoming a source of entertainment through a product such as Gamify, retailers can draw in more customers and — even more importantly —more repeat customers.
Now is a good time for businesses to get a foothold in emerging markets, as many smartphone users are just starting to build their habits and online brand loyalties. Gaining consumer attention during this developmental stage could potentially put businesses ahead of the game. The interest in leveraging the opportunity to be part of this burgeoning business in Asia is illustrated by the decision made by Allstate Enterprise Consulting, a private Hong Kong company specializing in discovering and creating quality assets. Last year, Allstate purchased enough shares in DeepMarkit to become a 10 percent owner of the gamify business.
Big Business and Gamification
As the power of gamification becomes more widely recognized, big businesses are making use of it, sometimes subtly, sometimes less so. LinkedIn contains examples of relatively subtle gamification. The site displays the strength of a user’s profile, providing a scoring system for how well the site doing. It also offers users ways to increase this score. This encourages those who use the site to build stronger profiles by displaying the behavior that LinkedIn wants, sharing more information and building stronger networks.
Pokémon Go is at the other extreme. The whole app is a game designed to encourage increased play, connections, and ultimately spending of real-world money on digital products. By providing different ways for players to achieve and connect, it has become one of the most widely used apps in the world.
Smaller businesses can’t achieve these same giddy heights. But with companies such as DeepMarkit making gamification accessible to all, anyone can incorporate games into their marketing strategies.
The World as a Playground
The adoption of gamification by a wide range of companies means that people are constantly playing, even when they don’t know it.
As one of the world’s leading retail platforms and home to more than 600,000 merchants, Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) is a company that clearly understands what sells. The company has not only made gamification possible through its platform but has also offered guidance to merchants on how to use it. From progress bars to competitions to adding fun design elements, it covers the fundamentals of making these techniques work for a business. The platform also allows programmers to add new gamified elements, with companies such as DeepMarkit creating gamified apps for Shopify.
The rise of global retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been driven in part by the gamified elements of the site. Allowing people to rate reviews encourages reviewers to write better and more often because of the sense of achievement and public recognition this brings. Top reviewers write regular, informative reviews to get to the top of the reviewing game. This can even lead to more substantial rewards as companies offer incentives to top reviewers.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has now become a major player in the online retail game, thanks to a strategic partnership with Walmart. As the two work on competing with Amazon for retail dominance, these companies will have to use every trick and tactic available. Microsoft’s cloud solutions promise to make online shopping quicker and easier. Behind the scenes, the company has the technology to gather incredible amounts of data and use that data to direct effective marketing.
Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) provides one of the most important tools for e-commerce in the form of Google Analytics. This service allows businesses to see where their customers are coming from, who they are, and what they’re doing on the site. It’s so central to modern commerce that few retailers can get by without it, and Shopify offers guidance on setting it up for all its merchants.
As the world increasingly goes online, e-commerce will only continue to grow. Gamification and analytics are valuable tools in creating customer engagement. When they’re tied together, they can be particularly powerful.
For more information on DeepMarkit Inc., please visit DeepMarkit Inc. (TSX.V: MKT) (OTC: MKTDF)
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