Gamification – the future of e-commerce

Gamification – the future of e-commerce

Last week I´ve spend two days at the Internet World 2014 conference. The German conference when it comes to e-commerce.

gamificationTwo dozen of talks about the new trends in e-commerce where focussed. Mobile shopping/ multi-channel, responsive design and tracking – which of course are all related to each other.


One of the most interesting topics was Gamification.

Gamification is a business strategy which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences to drive user behavior.


Right now, most of the online-shops are about “function” compared to retail stores of – for example – fashion brands where it is all about “inspiration“.

To add emotion, inspiration and action to the shopping experience more and more businesses start working with gamification. People always seek for challenges (even little ones).

A great example: ZombieRun 2 (

With ZombieRun a – for some people – boring activity like “running” is made up with storytelling, with missions and with group activities. Everytime you go running you can complete missions and go further in your story. You get some concrete challenges. People are motivated to run more, faster or further to get experience points, complete missions or get new bonusses.

Examples which can be put in online-shops as well

We can work with badges, (experience points), highscores, status or virtual goods. Everytime you wrote a review, sent your goods fast, shared some products, recommend the shop or whatsoever you gain in your virtual level. uses gamification pretty good

On stylefruits you can shop clothes. But you can not only shop them, you can also create your own outfits and share those outfits public and/or with friends. People can get inspired by all the presented outfits and can buy selected items of this outfit or even the whole set. As artist you get points and can be award with “outfit of the week” or something else.

This is the marketing you can do and get. People can play around with outfits, they have the challenge to create awesome sets which people can “like” and the outfits (and of course stylefruits) get shared on social networks for free.

What do we need for gamification?

We need goals, rules, challenges, feedback and feeling of success for the users. With this people have reason to come back again and again and interact with the shop or the homepage.

Starbucks is great at making coffee – not at gamification

Starbucks uses a reward system. Everytime you buy a coffee you earn points. Those points are adding up and gives you a free drink at some point. This has nothing to do with gamification even though it sounds like “I´m doing something and getting points for it”.

But spending money for earning points isn´t a challenge in the sense of gamification. “The more you spend, the more you earn” is no gamification, it is indeed only a reward system to get some of your spent money back in the form of free drinks as loyal customer.


Gamification is still in it´s infancy but it will have huge impact on the whole e-commerce industry for sure. I´ll keep an open eye for some best practises to share with you.

You can read something more about it on or


photo credit: Kooroshication via photopin cc

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