How Gamification is Renivigorating Loyalty
In most of our wallets these days lies a series of punch card loyalty programs that offer us anything from free sandwiches to free haircuts and just about everything in between. All we have to do is buy ten of them at the regular price first. Unfortunately, problems abound with this situation, both for the consumer and the retailer alike.
First, the consumer usually ends up losing the card at some point. Either that or the washing machine claims it and shreds it into a mass of soggy nothingness in no time. Second, it’s just not that much fun to finish digesting your ninth steak n’ cheese submarine sandwich with extra mayo, only to have just one more punch on the punch card (and perhaps more than just a slight case of indigestion) to show for it.
The retailer encounters problems because it is most likely that the free sandwich or haircut they give away is really just going to customers that would already be paying them for their service anyway. Therefore, running this sort of loyalty program can be expensive. Not too long ago, the much more attractive and less expensive option of gamification presented itself, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that it can no longer be overlooked by businesses and entrepreneurs of any kind.
Merchants anywhere can sign up for mobile applications like “Perka” for as little as $35 a month. Besides the associated indigestion that comes along with buying way too many steak n’ cheese subs, consumers now also earn virtual stamps as rewards when they tap the “check-in” button in their smartphone. These stamps are then placed into the customer’s account and can quickly (much more so than buy 10, get one free) be exchanged for goods and services. It’s a more fun and interactive way for customers to conduct business with their favorite merchants.
“The traditional punch card is static–the offer doesn’t change. But Perka allows business owners to change things up on a week-by-week basis, says Mike Lazzaro, Perka’s senior vice president of strategic planning.”
In conclusion, don’t throw away that punch card yet. Make sure you get your free sandwich, haircut, carousel ride, car wash, or bingo hall admission first. Then, do what everyone else is doing and gamify your consumer loyalty. Merchants: honor those punch cards, but start the transition now before it’s too late.
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