As customer engagement continues to be a competitive differentiator, it’s more imperative than ever for retailers to employ new tactics and technologies to provide customers with innovation and experience at every touch point. Software provider First Insight recently launched “Sold,” a virtual store simulation game designed to generate valuable consumer data through unique online customer interactions. CEO Greg Petro shared insight into how “Sold” is helping retailers by utilizing web sites, email and social media networks to engage with consumers and collect data based on their gameplay.
CRMC: The virtual simulation game, “Sold,” is designed to help retailers generate valuable consumer data through online customer interactions. How does this ultimately work from a consumer standpoint?
Greg Petro: Designed as a store simulation, “Sold” gives consumers the opportunity to build and manage their own virtual shop using our clients’ new and existing products. To start, players are given $1000 to select, purchase and price their inventory as if they were in a “real” store. Since the amount of money earned during the game is determined by how well inventory sells, pricing is crucial to a player’s “profits” (the score). In addition, players can earn money by completing mini games, such as “merchandise memory.” “Sold” is entertaining and empowering for consumers, and many of our clients offer incentives as a reward for participating. As consumers create their stores and share their opinions on products, attributes and trends, they are significantly influencing the brands and retailers they care about.
CRMC: How can this particular gaming technology give retailers the opportunity to provide targeted recommendations to customers?
Petro: Sold provides retailers with an engaging, yet structured way to connect with consumers and to collect valuable data. Traditional surveys are often monotonous, resulting in fatigue and straight-lining responses. Alternatively, games like “Sold” are fun for consumers and evoke authentic behavior, ensuring quality data and accurate results. Through the use of First Insight’s gaming technology platform, retailers are able to identify their most “insightful” or relevant customers. As “Sold” is played and customers create their stores, feedback on product selection, price point and perceived value is gathered. First Insight applies patented predictive analytic models against the feedback data to deliver reliable, real-time information for retail decisions.
CRMC: Is there any location-based aspect to “Sold?”
Petro: Consumer data collected through the play action of “Sold” can be segmented by location and preferences, enabling retailers to pinpoint variations in regional demand and profitability. Understanding where products perform well and how they are evaluated in local and regional markets allows retailers to create targeted marketing and merchandising strategies, ultimately delivering what their customers value — and will want to buy.
CRMC: How reliable are gaming technologies, such as “Sold,” for retailers to base their buying, marketing and pricing decisions according to their consumer’s gaming interactions?
Petro: The consumer data First Insight gathers through our gaming technologies like “Sold” is extremely reliable. Not only is the information derived directly from consumers themselves, but it is also applied against fact-based analytic models. The result is real-time, actionable guidance for more profitable decision-making. Our clients are experiencing positive results based on decisions made with First Insight data including greater new product successes, better assortment planning, enhanced customer satisfaction and increases in selling items at higher prices.
CRMC: Gaming is an innovative way for retailers to stay connected to consumers. What are the factors of engagement/branding?
Petro: First Insight partners with retailers through “Sold” to create an engaging experience for their customers. “Sold” can be customized to fit the look and feel of any retailer or brand. From the initial invitation to store designs and a call-to-action coupon, each game is designed to enhance the consumer experience. Incorporating a retailer’s identity helps to build a meaningful connection and one-on-one dialogue. “Sold” provides our retail clients with a unique opportunity to develop customer relationships, collect valuable insight data and create more strategic retail plans.