Note to merchants and acquirers: If you haven’t considered gamification, you’re just not playing with a full deck as far as your business strategies are concerned.
Gamification involves adding typical game-playing elements, like competition with others, point-scoring, and rules of play, to other activities. It has become an increasingly popular online marketing technique designed to encourage consumer engagement with a product or service. And in cases where it hasn’t happened already, it’s time to bring it into the payments realm.
How does this work? It’s fairly simple. Merchants just add a game to the payment screen on their point of sale (POS) devices. After customers insert or swipe their card and while authorization is in process, the screen displays an invitation to play, for example, by tapping an icon to “spin the wheel” or “pick a card.” Of course, there is always some type of prize—such as free or discount food in a restaurant or a percentage off the total purchase in a store. It doesn’t really matter what the prize is—the key is that in order to play, customers must enter their mobile number so the prize can be texted to them in the form of a digital coupon.
Why is gamification important? Plain and simple, it makes sense on so many levels. Take small merchants. These merchants not only want to provide multiple ways for customers to pay for their purchases; they also also want to capture shoppers’ information so as to effectively target them in the course of future marketing campaigns. With a gamification strategy in place, small merchants can do just that, collecting “players’” phone numbers or email addresses and giving them an opportunity to opt in to receive text messages or emails about future offers. Most such “players” will become repeat customers, who by most estimates drive higher revenues than new customers and who no doubt want the product in question.
Additionally, there are few, if any better ways to cultivate repeat customers than to add gamification to the payment process. Everyone likes games. But nobody likes to pay. Gamification injects a heavy dose of fun and engagement into an otherwise distasteful process and offers a reward in the form of a prize, be it free or discounted food, beverages, or merchandise. Again, the more fun and positive the payment experience, the higher the likelihood of attracting repeat customers.
Moreover, just as adding gamification to payments—mobile and otherwise—can can serve a point of differentiation for merchants, giving merchants the means to do so can help acquirers to set themselves apart from the pack in an increasingly crowded market. There is a lot to be said for that.
Gamification is obviously a winning proposition for merchants of all sizes, as well as for acquirers. Getting into the game now, rather than later, is the clear path to competitive victory.