Category Archives: gamification

Everyone loves winning: how Rydges used gamification to double sales

BRW reporter Ben Hurley writes this story below that supports what I have been saying about the role a clever use of game ideas and techniques can do to intrinsically motivate an audience. Good on Rydges, this is great example of Gamification.

Hotels and resorts group Rydges have extended a campaign using retail gamification start-up, saying the injection of chance into the online buying process has doubled sales.

Wynbox’s “buy to win” software is based on the belief that online shoppers will be more excited by a one-in-five chance of getting their chosen product for free, than they will be by a 20 per cent discount.

The Rydges trial campaign invites buyers to buy a night at Rydges Sydney Airport using a “book to win” button on the website, which gives a one-in-five chance of paying nothing.

“Everyone loves winning,” says Wynbox co-founder and chief executive Damien Cantelo. “So by giving customers or guests a chance to win, it’s a far more compelling proposition than just a discount or another type of sales promotion.”

Tish Nyar, general manager of Rydges Sydney Airport, extended the campaign by an additional week due to its success.

“The initial results from the Wynbox campaign have exceeded our expectations, with over double the number of bookings,” Nyar says.

Wynbox, previously called Wyngle, launched mid last year and closed an investment round in September with Dominic O’Hanlon, formerly chief strategy officer at MYOB, who is now Wynbox’s chairman. Software entrepreneur Daniel Harrison has also joined as chief technology officer. The name was changed to Wynbox because Americans negatively associated the original name Wyngle with ‘wangle’.

Wynbox charges an upfront fee and a 2.8 per cent transaction fee to retailers which use its software.

Cantelo, who co-founded the business with Sebastian Langton, says online retailers are finding discount offers unsustainable because consumers are reluctant to pay full price again when the discount period is over. The discounted price tends to linger online even after the campaign is over, potentially damaging the brand’s value.

Prizes and competitions are nothing new in retail, but Cantelo says the “buy to win” concept, part of a trend towards “gamification” of online retail facilitated by changing technology, is different to traditional competitions. The buyers don’t have to sign up – only buy the product in the normal way. They win instantly rather than waiting weeks or months for a draw. They are choosing the product they want, rather than going in the draw to win a prize that might not suit their needs. And they have a very high chance of winning.

“The one in five chance to win sounds amazing, but it’s the equivalent of a 20 per cent discount; it’s not that difficult to offer,” Cantelo says. “That’s a commonplace discount, but when it’s presented as buy to win it’s significantly more attractive to the customer. Existing retail margins are used to create free items.”

“Specifically with Rydges they save on paying commissions to online travel agencies because it’s done directly through their website. They have just shifted the commissions they were offering to other websites.”

But Cantelo admits some difficulties could emerge if retailers attempt to split-test the buy-to-win model with discounting, to see which works best. Consumers would be put off if they saw a higher price tag attached to the buy-to-win button.

“It’s very important that we have fair market prices,” Cantelo says. “If the consumer feels they are paying a premium it loses its appeal. Over time some retailers may look to do that, to split-test that. But the real value we offer is to offer it as an alternative to discounting.”

Change a behaviour using Gamification

Since completing my 10 week Gamification course at the end of 2012, I have been tuning into ways we can start to shape the behaviours of the community for the better.

Gamification is not a concept I can explain in just a few sentences so I wanted to take the time in this blog post to outline some of the thinking that makes it up.

Firstly: What exactly is Gamification?

The simple answer is it is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non game contexts e.g. behaviour change or engagement campaigns.

Some of the elements we can use in the solution come straight from traditional games such as: Points, Resource collection, Quests, Avatars, Social Graph, Progression and Levels (leaderboards).

A good example of Gamification so you can get your head around it, is Zombies Run. This is an iPhone app that I have downloaded on my phone in an attempt to motivate me to exercise regularly… and you know what, it has worked! (as when it comes to regular exercise I am not easily motivated). Here is how it works. After downloading the app and getting ready for a run, I enter a few details like the time I want to run for, connect up my motivating music from iTunes and then the story begins. I am immediately taken on a journey interlinked with my favourite tunes. I have a new name -Runner 5 and a purpose. No longer are my runs just me listing to my music, mind dumbingly hitting the pavement. I now have missions to complete where I have to out run zombie mobs (forced cardio as I really don’t want to get caught!), pickup virtual supplies for the base on which I now live. I earn points and these help unlock new missions. I am addicted.

Where can I use Gamification in a marketing context?

– Externally with customer engagement. Marketing and sales.
– Internally for HR, to enhance productivity even crowd sourcing.
– To change a behaviour. Gamification allows us to think about things from a new perspective to impact people in the areas of health and wellness, sustainability and even personal finance! Check out a few examples here. including the Speed Camera Lottery which used ideas from games to reward people for not speeding.

What types of things are fun?

If you think about the traditional games that you play there are one or two of these points below that will be enjoyable for you.
Winning, Problem Solving, Exploring, Chilling, Teamwork, Recognition, Triumphing, Collecting, Surprise, Imagination, Sharing, Role Playing, Customisation or even Goofing Off.

Sometimes fun can be easy, sometimes it is hard. There is fun with people and there is also serious fun.

With all fun there has to be some motivation and the motivation spectrum below really highlights where a behaviour campaign needs to sit to enact any real change.

The Motivational Spectrum

It is important at this point to understand there are two key reasons that people are motivated. The first is Extrinsically. They do something because you have told them to. There are actually four leves of extrinsic motivation:
1. External – regulation, where someone tells you to do it.
2. Introjection – you may not want to do it, but it says something about you and importantly it makes you look good.
3. Identification – this is where you know the benefits of doing the task, you can identify with why it is important.
4. Integration – you want to do it, yet you don’t want to do it. Exercise is the perfect example for this one.

Then on the other end of the spectrum you have people who are motivated Intrinsically. This means they understand that what they are doing is worthwhile and find it motivating to do it over and over. This is where we want to aim with a behaviour change  campaign, people want to save water, save their money or recycle because they are motivated to intrinsically.

There is a really simple diagram that shows the flow of motivation.

Virtual Economies can help with motivation as they give rewards to people who regularly engage with your brand.  These can be:

VIRTUAL GOODS – Which are virtual items that have value or uniqueness within a game environment. Players may be able to purchase virtual goods with virtual currency, real money, or through achievements within the game. eg Farmville – virtual rewards in exchange for real money.

VIRTUAL CURRENCY – A medium of exchange in a game, allowing players to purchase virtual goods or other benefits. Points in exchange for other things people value. eg. Nescafe Cup of Rewards. Governments can offer reductions in rates or service fees as a reward for the actions of families or individuals eg. water usage. ( See my blog story and in particular the video at the bottom for more ideas from Jesse Schell).

VIRTUAL ECONOMIES – A functional market system in a game, typically including virtual currency and virtual goods that are subject at least in part to economic forces.

Now if you want to be a little overwhelmed at where all the changing technology and gamification could be taking us, check out the video on this blog post I did. It is a real insight!

I believe, fun is the easiest way to change a behaviour.

Yours in gamification.





Gamification in the future?

I recently did a 10 week Gamification course and right at the end of the course we discussed this video that shows an interesting and a little scary insight into how Games could be integrated into our lives in the future.

We already have easy access to considerable amounts of information on people that if you think about it, there really are no ‘blind dates’ anymore. Who in todays world wouldn’t do some research on who they are meeting before meeting them the first time. The internet and technology around how this information is distributed is always changing and this video gives us an interesting perspective.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it.


The Future according to Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh, author of ‘Futuretainment’, presented at a recent AIMIA Brisbane event: “Yesterday the world changed. Now it is your turn” which I attended. For the one-hour session I felt Mike covered a lot of ground, but not once did I feel “overwhelmed” by the information being given to us.

Working in an industry focused on “The Internet” I often find myself disillusioned with the internet and we share a love / hate relationship. When Mike said that we get lost in the “stuff”, the day-to-day routines of our internet patterns and forget the magic of it all I knew what he meant. We do forget the magic of the internet. We focus too greatly on the devices or platforms and forget just what the internet and technology in general can provide us.

I’ve been reading a lot about design thinking and service design lately and Mike’s presentation only further served this area of obsession for me. The most prominent lessons from his talk being:

  • Content is the most important thing. Brands must begin to thinking like media companies – publishers of their own content.
  • Data will very shortly be the most valuable asset a company owns.
  • Your digital behaviour is and will increasingly be an indicator of your likelihood to behave in a certain manner. For example, bank loans in the future will not only take into account your credit history but also things such as Klout rankings.
  • Our jobs as digital marketers is to understand the structure of connected audiences.
  • Gamification is the behavioural logic of how people expect to interact with the world.

Here is a selection of video’s from talks Mike has given.

Yours in futuretainment,


Gamification: How Games are Transforming Marketing

Gamificiation: introducing the new buzz word for a marketing direction that takes cues from games.  Gamification in its basic form is introducing the mechanics of games and combining them with technology to deliver a unique brand experience for the consumer.

These ideas are starting to be used by savvy marketers as some of the traditional marketing strategies are failing to deliver any return on investment. Consumers are looking for and in many cases expecting a level of reward and more engagement with a brand then they ever have before.

These are the five most commonly used game mechanics, as identified by Gabe Zichermann the author of Game-Based Marketing.

  • Points: Points are everywhere, and they’re often used as a way to denote achievement. Points also measure the user’s achievements in relation to others and work to keep the user motivated for the next reward or level. They can even double as action-related currency.
  • Badges: While badges have their origins in the physical world, Foursquare popularized the digital variety with its oh-so-clever set of real-life merit badges that range from easy (Newbie badges are awarded to users on their first checkin) to nearly-impossible to unlock (it takes 10 movie theater checkins to earn the Zoetrope badge).
  • Levels: Businesses are encouraging mobile users for example to level up and get better discounts for becoming more loyal patrons.
  • Leaderboards: Leaderboards rank users and work to motivate and encourage them to become players. Foursquare started with city-centric leaderboards, but now places the emphasis on ranking users against their friends. Earn a few points for a checkin, and Foursquare will show you which of your friends you’ve flown by on the leaderboard. A great strategy for anyone who is remotely competitive.
  • Challenges: These range from the simple to complex and often involve communal activity or group play.  We have utlised this techniques for our client SpareTicket, where a seller can swap a ticket to say a concert for a challenge.

Isn’t it exciting to be entering an age where communication is only going to be limited by our imagination!

Check out Jesse Schell in this video recored at DICE  last year. It will really give you an idea of where Gamification can take marketing. (skip through to half way for the best bits if you are pushed for time).

Remember Social Media was once a buzz word… today it is a marketing phenomenon that is rapidly expanding and taking a larger slice of even the most conservative businesses marketing budget.

Yours in Gamification.