The upsurge in personal computing technology in the past three decades has redefined how we interact with our surroundings and with each other.
Our digital lives, and the way we consume information, services and products, are a seamless blend of virtual and physical experiences – made possible by widespread Internet access and smart devices.
How does a shopping mall compete, or set itself apart, amidst this digital revolution?
With two-thirds of decisions informed by the quality of customers’ experiences throughout their retail journey (Source), it only makes sense for retailers to focus on technology that enhances the entire customer experience.
Gaming the system – How games uplift the retail experience
Gamification refers to the use of game design elements and thinking in non-game environments such as the shopping experience.
According to a recent experimental study (Source) by Michael Sailera, Jan Ulrich Henseb, Sarah Katharina Mayra and Heinz Mandla, elements of game design can influence our need for competence, autonomy and social relatedness. Thus, retailers have been quick to add gamification to their repertoire of strategies when it comes to marketing and promotions campaigns.
Many retailers today are leveraging on the addictive satisfaction we derive from games to drive sales. By applying the rewards and recognition principle from gaming to everyday consumer behaviour, the entire customer experience is transformed from “running an errand”, to “trying to win a game”.
Shopping has evolved from a purely transactional exchange to a rich consumer-centric experience.
Case Study: Frasers Centrepoint Malls – Frasers Tribal Quest
Tapping on the unique opportunities gamification offers, Frasers Centrepoint Malls adopted digital gamification for the first time this year, to attract crowds and boost consumer interaction.
The Frasers Tribal Quest in-app game for Frasers Rewards Members integrates traditional game play with a digital element to create a fun and seamless shopper experience.
As a new addition to the Frasers Centrepoint Malls’ loyalty app called Frasers Rewards, the Frasers Tribal Quest entices shoppers to embark on an interactive QR code scavenger hunt around 12 Frasers Centrepoint malls with family and friends!
Players physically search for adorable tribal animals around the mall and scan the accompanied QR codes to win over $380,000 instant prizes.
Once prizes such as e-vouchers are won, they get auto-loaded into the app’s new e-wallet which can be spent instantly like cash at retailer stores. These direct rewards redemptions at retailers’ premises, reduces the need to queue at Customer Service counters and creates a smoother shopping experience, therefore heightening customer interactivity without disrupting the gaming fun.
Gamification as a customer engagement tool seems like a win-win situation for both shoppers and mall tenants. With the introduction of Frasers Tribal Quest, overall mall traffic saw an increase of 3% year-on-year.
During the period of Frasers Tribal Quest gaming, from 8 to 30 June, there was a 201% increase in downloads of the Frasers Rewards app. Over 350,000 rounds of Frasers Tribal Quest have been played, translating to more than 20,000 hours of gaming inside the malls of Frasers Centrepoint Singapore.
A total of 57,000 prizes sponsored by over 100 brands drew in the crowds.
Yasuhiro Yamamoto, Director, Ma Maison Group, shared, “Competition is getting stiff with more than 20 new food and beverage businesses opening every day in Singapore. Frasers Centrepoint Malls’ new digital initiative looks promising and it’s a new avenue to attract more patrons into the malls and back to our restaurant. The game becomes an activity that friends and families can play together and eventually visit us to enjoy original home recipes when they need a break.”
For Frasers Centrepoint Malls, building an inclusive community of shoppers remains a priority, and more significantly so in suburban areas where multi-generational families spend considerable time together.
Staying inclusive can be a challenge where there is a risk of the less tech-savvy getting left behind. Bearing this in mind, Frasers Centrepoint Malls enlisted dedicated ambassadors posted around the malls to help both the young and old navigate its experiential Frasers Tribal Quest and Frasers’ loyalty rewards app.
Blending online and offline experiences
With consumers spending more time on digital platforms these days, retailers work hard to create the in-person experience where they can interact with their customers.
Even though digital social networks are prevalent these days, many consumers still enjoy in-person interaction in physical spaces. There are social experiences that bring people together, which the digital space cannot offer, such as a celebratory meal with family at a family-favourite diner, a music concerts with like-minded friends, date-night at the movies with a loved one, or a coffee with friends.
Frasers Centrepoint Malls took up the challenge of making these in-person experiences more enjoyable, incorporating features from both online and offline realms. With Frasers Tribal Quest, Frasers Centrepoint Malls has hit the sweet spot in blending human experiences with a touch of digital, using game design elements, to deliver an enjoyable, multi-sensory retail experience.
The in-app game called for shoppers to go on a live hunt of tribal animals tagged with QR codes in the shopping malls.
Striking a right balance between live social activity and digital gaming proved highly successful as the live hunts conducted for Frasers Tribal Quest saw over 400 shoppers gather for an ultimate scavenger hunt to win the jackpot prize of S$14,000!
Effectively blending an offline and online approach to creating positive customer experiences, as applied in Frasers Tribal Quest, would more likely reward retailers with increased loyalty and sustainable patronage.
Isaiah Kuan, writer of parenting blog J Babies’ Dad, said: “Frasers Tribal Quest is a really fun game. I like the idea that we are using something that is close to us, our mobile phone, to bring us around the malls and have fun exploring together as a family.”
This strategic use of technology and gamification to create a hybrid experience of both physical and digital is redefining the customer journey.
The key to retail success
Customers control the future of retail. In the future, success will depend increasingly on the creation and delivery of unique ‘customer journeys’ that accommodate the customer’s need for seamless integration of physical and online interactive experiences.
Using innovative technology to enhance customer experience is a clear way forward for companies to stay relevant in the digital age.
In a world where retail success relies heavily on shoppers’ preferences, adaptability is no longer a consideration; it is a necessity to survive.