The holiday shopping season presents prime opportunity for increased purchase rates. However, as consumers grow more conscientious about how they spend their money, retailers must create unique opportunities and experiences to stand out. Online shoe retailer Shoebuy.com tapped gamification to double advertisement click-throughs and boost share rates via Facebook by 50%.
For the 2010 holiday season, Shoebuy.com teamed with virtual goods company Ifeelgoods to offer shoppers Facebook Credits in return for online purchases. The online shoe retailer was the first merchant ever to offer Facebook Credits as an incentive. Shoebuy.com utilized gaming strategies to reach its strongest demographic: mothers 43-years-old and above. Because this demographic also gravitates to social games such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Bejeweled, Credits was an optimal method to increase customer engagement, according to James Keller, Chief Marketing Officer of Shoebuy.com.
“We love to do things that are innovative and bring fun into the shopping experience,” Keller told Retail TouchPoints. “There also is great demographic overlap between our typical Shoebuy.com shopper and consumers that like to play Facebook games. We've found that engaging consumers effectively within the social graph requires not only reaching people that you believe can have an affinity for your brand, but reaching them with a message that is authentic, valuable and meaningful to them.”
The Ifeelgoods platform is designed to allow brands and retailers to distribute Facebook Credits directly into shoppers’ Facebook accounts when they purchase items from an e-Commerce site. Users can redeem Credits to buy Facebook game features as well as entertainment content such as movies and music.
“Distributing Facebook Credits creates opportunities for consumers to share their excitement with their friends on the social networking site,” noted Scott Silverman, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing for Ifeelgoods. “Nothing is more authentic or influential than a trusted friend talking about a good deal.”
Through the campaign, Shoebuy.com rewarded consumers with 50 Facebook Credits when they completed a purchase. The retailer noted that advertisements promoting the Credits initiative achieved twice as many click-throughs than Facebook and web advertisements that featured equal-value offers. Furthermore, Shoebuy.com experienced a 50% share rate, or the amount of consumers that participated in the promotion and published it on their Facebook Wall. The viral quality of the campaign encouraged consumers to grow familiar with the brand and make purchases more frequently, according to Keller.
“We are always looking for unique ways to introduce our brand to new customers,” Keller noted. “Gamification provides another way to introduce folks to Shoebuy.com and get them to take a deeper look. When people shop at Shoebuy.com, typically they come back — our repeat buying is now more than 65% of sales — so we're always trying to spread the word and broaden our audience.”
As gamification continues to come to the forefront, retailers will begin to consider it as a primary strategy to drive traffic in-store and online, according to Silverman. “Gamification creates motivation by tapping into consumers’ fun and competitive spirit,” he said. “In a retail environment, unlike discounting or coupons, gamification motivates customers without reducing a marketer's profits.”