Flash sale and daily deal sites utilize time restrictions and limited access to generate greater purchase urgency. Other e-Commerce sites feature best buys on unique items and curated assortments to incentivize consumers. Sneakpeeq, however, utilizes game mechanics such as badges and points to create stronger competition among shoppers. Since partnering with gamification vendor Badgeville, the online-only retailer has positioned itself as a forward-thinker in the new era of shopper loyalty and engagement via gamification.
Since its inception in 2010, Sneakpeeq has touted the slogan, “All the things you love, but haven't discovered.” Offering an array of products that include home goods, men and women fashions, gourmet foods and unique boutiques from public figures and tastemakers, the e-Tailer allows visitors to “Love” items and share them via Facebook.
Although all items on Sneakpeeq are discounted, shoppers only see original prices. By using “peeqs,” consumers can view final product costs and determine if they want to add those items to their carts. Each subscriber only gets 20 “peeqs” a day, but can earn more by “Loving” and sharing items. Through this strategy, Sneakpeeq is able to recreate the brick-and-mortar experience in an online environment, according to Neil Gandhi, Senior Software Engineer at Sneakpeeq.
“The whole concept of Sneakpeeq is to act as a discovery site,” Gandhi told Retail TouchPoints. “When you’re in a brick-and-mortar location, part of the experience is turning over that price tag. We wanted to bring that to the site via ‘peeqing.’ We found that we can feel out customers’ engagement with a product by seeing if they’re actually going to turn that price tag over. The beauty is that people get limited ‘peeqs’ a day, so they’re more selective on the items that they investigate, which also showcases interest in specific items, as well as what kind of visitors are interacting with inventory.”
By partnering with Badgeville, Sneakpeeq has incorporated badges and points to reward customers based on their overall activity and loyalty to the site. The more shoppers “peeq” and share items, the more badges, sales and discounts they will unlock.
“There’s a tiered approach to our badges, so the more elite badges consumers receive, the greater savings they receive,” Gandhi said. “We also have random badges that consumers earn by doing specific tasks, such as visiting a new mini-boutique. We’ve integrated the experience and elitism of badges into our platform, so gamification just feels like a natural fit for our brand and site, rather than just plastering badges everywhere. People want badges, seek ways to receive them and complain if they don’t have as many as friends and fellow users.”
Each of Sneakpeeq’s digital boutiques has a leader board where fans compete for points and badges through “peeqing,” sharing, and buying products. Additionally, every subscriber builds a discovery profile that displays badges and points for peers to view. This connectivity is enhanced via Facebook integration, which lets shoppers share recent purchases and sought-after inventory with social graphs.
This social element “plays together very well with our gamification strategy,” according to Gandhi. “We see people discussing with friends on Facebook about the badges they win and the points they earn. It’s definitely a seamless integration. We’re really excited about initiating that buzz and conversation, and have new things coming in the near future to drive those interactions even further.”
As gamification becomes a more tried and true method to increase customer engagement, retailers are becoming more strategic. For example, when Sneakpeeq first partnered with Badgeville in September 2011, the e-Tailer had a firm understanding of its target audience and how to appeal to consumers, according to Gandhi. It then turned to Badgeville to develop optimal initiatives across a variety of users. “Badgeville guided us in more targeted strategies, such as catering to more tech-savvy consumers; partitioning levels of rewards; and shaping the site and overall tactics to appeal to novice and power users alike,” Gandhi reported.
Gamification continues to grow due to merchants’ increased need to understand consumer behaviors and preferences. Through gaming-inspired mechanics and motivations, retailers can influence engagement and action across channels and create a more compelling brand experience, according to Kris Duggan, CEO of Badgeville.
"The retail industry is ripe for innovation, with merchants using gamification techniques to measure and influence behavior,” Duggan said. “From large retailers with online storefronts to younger social retail startups, gamification provides an easy way to track user behavior — such as product reviews, adding items to a cart, sharing a link to a product — and create multi-step missions that earn rewards, both virtual and tangible."