Chatbots, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and mobile apps. If you’ve noticed an upswing in headlines regarding these terms, you’re not alone. I’ve noticed it too, and all of these digital trends seem to be pointing towards one simple fact: for consumers, the act of shopping has become a game.

It’s no longer a consumer’s wish to sit at their desktop and click through pages and pages of products… today’s omni-channel consumer wants more. They can slip into a pair of VR glasses and find themselves standing in the middle of their dream kitchen. They can head into a fitting room and interact with a ‘mirror’ that shows the clothing in different lighting, and keeps track of what they’ll take or toss. They can text a friendly chatbot to bring them pizza, or ask for recommendations and directions. Somewhere down the line, the average consumer’s life became a giant Sims game right under our noses.

 

Gaming the system

The gamification of retail isn’t an entirely new concept. For many years, retailers have leveraged the average person’s competitive streak by offering games as a means to deliver exclusive deals and other incentives. Whether it’s handing out scratch cards that reveal a discount on their next purchase, or having customers scan QR codes to redeem online vouchers, retailers have been pulling out all the stops to make shopping as fun as possible – all while increasing engagement and conversion rates.

“Fundamentally, gamification is taking techniques and the psychology behind games, and using it to get more people to do more stuff more often, and for longer periods of time,” explains Steve Sims, VP of Solutions and Design and Founder of the Behavior Lab at Badgeville. “It can help your sales people be more productive, or it can boost engagement for your social channel or loyalty program.”

But lately, retailers have been taking the gamification concept up a notch, turning shopping into a truly immersive experience. For consumers, VR and AR technologies have upgraded the retail experience from feeling like you’re playing The Sims, to feeling like you are a Sim – transporting shoppers into another world without ever having to leave the store. Home retailer Ikea famously launched an initiative that allowed consumers to experience their custom-built kitchens before purchase using VR headsets.

 

Endless choices for the consumer means endless opportunities for the brand

Although these are big changes and will drastically affect how humans work in retail, shoppers are becoming more engaged and invested in brands. Someone who has personalized and built their kitchen from the ground up with VR makes them much less likely to be struck by a case of buyer’s remorse.

The gamification of retail allows endless choices and personalization while eliminating customer service pain points. Ultimately, endless choices for the consumer mean endless opportunities for the brand. Brick and mortar will always come with physical limitations that technology simply doesn’t account for. A warm, friendly and educated staff is a must, and although we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one (digital) basket, there is a strong case for the gamification of retail as the consumer’s choice for where the industry is headed.

 


Between 19 and 21 September 2017, Paris Retail Week will once again showcase French Expertise and will be the only event in Europe which addresses the omni-channel problems associated with 360° retail.
This third edition will bring together in a single event E-Commerce Paris, Europe’s biggest cross-channel event and Digital(in)Store, the leading trade show devoted to the digitisation of points of sale and distribution.

Take advantage of this event dedicated to 360° retail uniting the entire community of on- and offline retail for an optimal vision of current retail issues!
To register as a visitor click here 
Free online registration until September 18th, 2017
Registration at the event: 50 Euros incl. VAT