Retail rewards and discounts provided relief for some shoppers during the economic downturn, but now non-retail corporations are using similar strategies to appeal to customers.
Taking a tip from grocery and drug stores, which have used rewards programs for decades, companies in the electronics, media and food industries have been incorporating rewards, contests and prizes to promote products and engage consumers. And this so-called "gamification" strategy is improving company relationships with consumers, according to Badgeville, a firm that helps companies plan ways to add fun elements to their websites.
"Gamification is, generally speaking, the application of game mechanics and game elements to non-game environments," explained Omar Divina, regional vice president at Badgeville.
Other firms that sell similar services include BigDoor, Bunchball, IActionable and Gigya.
By adding game elements, companies can collect more user data and ultimately get a better idea of what sells and why, the providers of such services claim.
Electronics company EMC managed to drive traffic to its site from customers, partners and employees using gamification, Divina told "Big Data Download."
"Within the organization, gamification was also a new topic. So they actually rebranded the initiative internally as the recognition, awards and motivation platform. Through that lens it actually got a lot of visibility and a lot of support," Divina said.
As a result of adding game elements to its online community for partners and business clients, overall user activity on the site was boosted by 21 percent. Video views rose 41 percent, according to Badgeville.
Companies like Samsung, eBay, Symantec, Bell Media, Barnes & Noble and The Washington Post have also employed game elements to their websites to get users and readers more involved.