LevelUp and Perkville Gamify Real World Consumer Exploration and Loyalty

LevelUp and Perkville Gamify Real World Consumer Exploration and Loyalty


What if there was a way to take the guesswork out of becoming a regular?

What if you knew exactly how many visits it took to get a comped meal, to skip the line, to never need another reservation?

In a place like Perkville, you do.  The app, which still seems to be in it’s infancy in terms of user base, has exciting potential to completely revolutionize the ancient system of patronage and it’s often arbitrary, almost always mysterious, system of perks and rewards.

Perkville and a similar entrant into the field, LevelUp work by incentivizing customers to discover and return to businesses in their area.  Presumably taking a cue from the much maligned daily-deal industry (and giants like Groupon) both apps create structures to incentivize customer loyalty and long term relationships.

On the consumer end, the apps work to encourage exploration by providing a curated list of participating businesses in a searchable area (i.e. your charming city) that reward you immediately for walking through the door.  Both Perkville and Levelup have evolved the rules of the daily deal game by extending the field of play in time.  Instead of only rewarding the initial visit (and presumably not taking a crippling percentage of revenue), the apps continue to give feedback and rewards for continued visits.

LevelUp achieves this by creating a platform for ‘bux’ (i.e. currency that can only be applied to that specific business).  They incentivize initial and return visits by creating a channel for venue-specific currency (and savings) at each establishment that increases with each successive visit.  In their own words:

“The first time you pay with LevelUp at any merchant, you’ll immediately get credit applied to your purchase. As you go back, you’ll unlock more credit to use on whatever you want at that merchant. Pay with LevelUp and good things happen”

Perkville (which seems to focusing on yoga studios and fitness centers at the moment) functions with a more oblique, but potentially interesting mechanism.  Instead of just redeeming currency directly, visits to a business earn points which can be redeemed for custom rewards at that merchant.  Think rewards for donations tiers at crowd funding sites like Kickstarter.

While consumers get an understandable, measurable method of changing their experience at the venue (or at least getting free tee-shirt) businesses also get a demonstrable way of boosting business and user engagement.

While thus far straightforward, each platform opens up possibilities for more interactivity in the consumer/service relationship.  Nothing can replace the warm banter, post dinner drinks with the chef and prime seating that being a ‘regular’ often affords.  With that said, the gamification of the ancient patronage relationship opens up exciting new vistas in the ability for owners to change the rules and terms of their environment in an explicit way that new customers can engage with and be motivated by.

In a perfect world, a quest for points won’t supplant human attachment to place and people–it will supplement and encourage it.  Perkville and LevelUp are exciting first steps in that evolution.


Image (C) – mylilangel58


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  1. Awesome. We’re in the process of partnering with them here at Modera (www.modera.co). Just another great example of technology enhancing the customer shopping experience!