app retention

Gamification. Games? Playing? Aren’t games for children? How will “games” keep my users loyal to my brand and retain them overall? These are perfectly reasonable questions to be asking. And if you’re not too familiar with the app field, I’m hoping you asked.

Gamification transcends beyond the mindlessness addictions of playing Candy Crush on your smartphone. Of course, gamification happens virtually too through video games or even augmented reality. However, gamification doesn’t need to be that advanced. It can also be simple. Gamification leverages the power of play through real-world scenarios we wouldn’t even think twice about. Gamification could start when you walk into a store with your phone.

Before I jump into a real-world situation, I have to state a few facts. The problem is that apps are one of the most saturated channels. With more than 1.5 million apps available the battle to keep users and to engaged them. The stakes are high with rates as high as 80% of users leaving after 3 days of downloading, according to Andrew Chen. All it takes is the simple drag and drop to the trash.

With these facts in mind, let’s keep it upbeat. All is not lost with your app! Here are 3 gamification secrets that will unleash your app retention rate to the roof.

1. Reward Users NOT ONLY Based on Transaction, Buying History

Your users are explorers. They’re not a transactional number. Instead of rewarding them solely based on their transactional history, or how many items purchased or total money spend on your brand, reward them for discovering new things about your brand. “Another blind-spot of current loyalty programs is the fact that they are rewarding users only for spending money. E-commerce sites and brands will have to realize that their users are much more than a wallet or a credit card.” Source: Captain Up

Let’s say you place a few in-app beacons inside your app. You place them specifically in certain touchpoints like the “summertime arrivals” screen section in your app. If a user stays on the screen for at least one minute or clicks on 2 items or more in the summer new arrivals, give your user a little loyalty point boost. Award them for 10 points for being a “summer enthusiast” or another recognizable status. If your user is curious, make an available description on what that status entails and how they can level up.

2. Give Feedback Instantly to Your Users

According to Captain Up, a gamification expert, “Users are impatient, they want an on-the-spot reward or feedback and they want to FEEL that their effort hasn’t gone unnoticed.” So let’s say you have a retail pop-up store and you want to launch that new “summer arrivals” sneak peek. Set up real-life beacons in the entrance and exit of the store.

Invite your “summer enthusiasts” a chance to visit the pop-up store to a special after hours’ party. Give them feedback by acknowledging them when they enter the store with a special in-app “welcome banner.” Or give them feedback when they “check-in” the store through social and personally thank them and indulge them with a few more points. Give them the chance to voice their opinion through a customer satisfaction poll as soon as they leave the store. Tell them feedback on a weekly or daily basis (depending on how much they want in notifications) on what they’ve earned, how much and what they can level up to next.

3. Gamification – Apply a Real-Life Journey and Engage Users as They Play!

This requires a bit of creativity. Set up a game that empowers users to play in order to get a reward. Give feedback when they walk by or dwell in certain touchpoints inside the store, like the new summer arrivals in the front of the store. Enable them to collect hints, clues, and points located in these touchpoints. And make sure when you reward them, you have enough to give!

Volkswagen China App Screen shots

If you want to see some of these gamification elements in your app and understand how it works, I encourage you to fill out a demo form here. Otherwise, keep up the game and good luck on your app retention!