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How to Gamify Your Loyalty Program

Gamification might not be a term you’ve encountered much, but it derives from the word “game” and its most basic definition encompasses applying “games” and “game-thinking” to non-game contexts. Another way of putting it is that gamification is your way of turning your loyalty rewards program into a game for your customers; one that will motivate them to shop because every time they do, they will feel like they’re playing—and winning!—a fun game.

“30% of companies using gamification improved registration conversion rates by upwards of 50%” – TechValidate research

Optimizing customer retention through gamification will bring your promotional marketing efforts into the forefront of the 21st Century, which is exactly where you want your retail store to be. Long gone are the days of paper coupons, plastic scan cards, and email newsletters, which are notorious for having less than a 10% open-rate. If you want to get your customers into your store frequently and purchasing a lot, then you’ve got to get them interested in your loyalty rewards app, and we know just the way to do that!

If you’ve read our blog posts entitled What Is A Loyalty Program? and How Much Does A Loyalty Program Cost? then you’re well aware that acquiring a new customer is far more expensive than retaining a pre-existing one. It’s possible you’ve even begun to take measures to reduce your churn rate, and that’s great! But if you want to attract and retain customers, then gamification strategies pack the best one-two punch!

“Increasing customer retention by 5% can generate a 25% – 95% increase in profit.” – Harvard Business Review

Our friends at the Harvard Business Review know what they’re talking about, and if you’re looking for additional reading about why e-loyalty is where it’s at, we highly recommend this article E-Loyalty: Your Secret Weapon on the Web. The main takeaway is that in the minds and hearts of your customers, price does not rule, trust does. And nothing builds trust like engaging your customers to play, and win, with your brand.


This gamification strategy enables your customers to earn points and unlock special benefits after they complete a set of actions or tasks. Every time they accomplish a series of actionable steps, they will receive instant gratification in the form of securing points that they can immediately redeem.

An example of this strategy would be if you attached a set number of points to the action of sharing every purchase on social media. If the customer shares a post of their latest purchase, they automatically earn 25 points. Earning 100 points within five days equals winning the game, and the reward for winning is that the customer will receive a previously-determined prize item. Your customers will keep their eye on the ball, i.e. the prize item that they hope to win, and will keep shopping all week in order to earn it.

When using an achievement system, you will be able to recognize when, where, and how your customers prefer to interact with your brand and store. If you track this information, you can then apply their preferences to future achievement gamification incentives. This will make playing, shopping, earning, and redeeming impossible to resist!


Everyone loves a little healthy competition. Using the app interface of your loyalty rewards program, why not let your customers compete with one another to earn a predetermined prize item? You can feature a leaderboard in the app and have your customers’ scores updated daily or even hourly. This way, customers who have enrolled to play the game will see each other’s buying frequency and the speed at which the competition is closing in on the finish line.

Make your leaderboard easy to understand and fun to watch. As participants collect points from purchasing items in your store, they will advance along their “virtual mission”. Every time they do, they can “share” their progress to social media for additional points.

Using a method such as the competition-based gamification strategy will deliver impacting results and benefit revenue. This type of contest gamification could raise your customer engagement by as much as 54% according to Social Media Explorer, grow your conversion rate by as much as 15%, and increase your business’s overall revenue by a whopping 29%!

“Shoppers who experienced targeted offers in loyalty programs prefer personalized coupons (67%), customized offers or promotions (62%), and product recommendations (58%)” – CrowdTwist research

The rise of digital loyalty programs should tell you that anything less than an app is obsolete. A digital approach to your loyalty rewards program affords your company benefits such as customization and personalization for your customers, a faster turnaround from rewards-earned to rewards-redeemed, and streamlined administration for you to create and execute promotional campaigns. When your customers can receive their rewards instantly, they feel like they are “winning” and this will keep them engaged in the game and coming back to your app and to your store for more.

Choosing the right loyalty rewards solution can safeguard your business from undesirable gamification failures, which is why we invite you to explore Loyal~n~Save. Our digital rewards platform can help your business avoid fraud and provide instant gratification to your customers. If you’re looking to leverage gamification as a marketing tool to increase customer retention, then click here to speak with one of our loyalty strategists today!

This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.





  • gamification for loyalty programs

Posted on May 26, 2020


Danielle Dixon

Danielle is a content writer at Loyal-n-Save. She specializes in writing about implementing loyalty solutions proven to help a company grow.

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