Five ways gamification can ignite your retail sales

Five ways gamification can transform retail

I have no idea how fruit machines work. Sure, I get the 'line up three bunches of cherries to win' classic, but the all-singing-all-blinking monstrosity that mocked me in the pub yesterday? Absolutely clueless. And yet, somehow, its combination of twinkly lights, bashy buttons and blippy noises had me chucking coins into it like owning money was going out of fashion.

That's because, as a species, we're far more likely to engage with something if there's an element of gaming involved. I'm sure there's an evolutionary imperative behind all this: if you took a chance on the lady monkey with the weirdy, opposable thumbs, there was a better chance your offspring would survive the great banana famine of 7,000,000 years BC. That kind of thing. Don't ask me, ask Richard Dawkins.

Anyway, we love gaming (and its sidekick, competition), and the introduction of these elements - conceptually known as 'gamification' - into any environment works wonders. The LinkedIn profile completeness bar is a famous example, and rightly so: users fill in more and more info to achieve a 100% complete 'score' and, in so doing, provide mountains more data back to LI, its users and, of course, its

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Why product sampling is dead

The two dullest words in the world:

This morning on my journey into work, I was given a free little can of pop, a crappy plastic ticket wallet, an international SIM card and a voucher for a free dental checkup (not by the same people who gave me the fizzy drink, obviously). The drink tasted... kinda fruity? Maybe? A bit like bubblegum? Whatever it tasted like, I'm buggered if I can remember the brand. The ticket wallet will go unused; the SIM card went straight in the bin and I'm pretty sure the dental 'checkup' would just be an excuse to upsell me expensive treatments once I turned up. So, you know: thanks but no thanks.

Running the free crap gamut at a busy train station these days is a bit like walking through the 'entertainment district' of a cheap winter sun resort: "My friend! Come inside my restaurant! Sit! Sit! Very tasty, good price, free drink! Your wife, she very beautiful - I give you three camel!" It's annoying, it's a wee bit aggressive and, fundamentally, it's pointless. If something's such a good deal or such a great product, it probably doesn't require some guy grabbing my arm and dragging me towards it, or shoving a

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Are your Facebook adverts getting it totally wrong?

Are your Facebook adverts getting it totally wrong?

Sky would like to sell me broadband. I know that because I clicked on this ad on my Facebook timeline and arrived at a Sky Broadband landing page.

Sky broadband - poor advert

Here’s the thing, though. Were it not for the fact that I wanted to discuss it, I would never have clicked on that ad… even if I did need broadband. Why? Well, there’s two reasons:

1) Why the unbranded anonymity? Sky are a highly reputable provider, but disguising who’s doing the advertising makes me think I’m being sold broadband by Acme Internet Inc.

2) There’s no such thing as free. I know that. You know that. And Sky know that. And yet marketeers keep insisting on using this ‘free’ message – a message that’s so tiresomely familiar, it can only ever devalue the product they’re trying to sell.

Wouldn’t it have been music more intriguing if Sky had run something like this?

Sky broadband - much better advert

This is basic human psychology. If someone is giving something away, you can’t help but question its value. But, if someone asks you to earn the same reward – and the harder you work, the better that reward gets? Well, that sounds infinitely

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