Thursday, June 20, 2024

Should US Shopping Malls Include Gamification and Experiential Retail? – RetailWire

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In response to the growing demand for experiential retail, ION Orchard has integrated gamification into its customer loyalty strategy. The prominent mall recently launched an augmented reality game, “World of Rewards,” within its updated mobile app. This innovative feature offers shoppers the opportunity to win over 30 rewards by engaging with various participating retailers, such as Marimekko Cafe, Nespresso, Jo Malone London, and TWG Tea, as they explore the mall.

“Gamification increases the enjoyment of shopping due to the entertainment that it provides, all from the convenience of one’s fingertips. The future of retail is consistently being redefined and we are seeing more brands move towards gamification to increase engagement and create a seamless experience for customers with the aim of boosting retention.”

Orchard Turn Developments Chief Executive Officer Yeo Mui Hong via Retail Asia

The ION Orchard app also features game boards that allow users to earn rewards by completing specific actions and missions. This multi-faceted gamification strategy transforms the shopping experience into an interactive and enjoyable activity, accessible directly from shoppers’ mobile devices. The integration of such features reflects the mall’s commitment to maintaining interest across both offline and online touchpoints.

The gamification trend is gaining traction in the retail sector, with more brands adopting it to enhance customer engagement and retention. ION Orchard’s Chief Executive Officer, Yeo Mui Hong, underscores the importance of keeping the games fresh and aligned with the interests of the audience to sustain engagement. By continually updating the game mechanics, ION Orchard ensures that its strategy remains effective and relevant.

Beyond gamification, ION Orchard’s app encompasses a comprehensive loyalty ecosystem, incorporating digital payments, rewards, and deals. The Easy Earn program, for instance, simplifies the process of earning and redeeming points by eliminating the need to scan receipts. This streamlined approach enhances the convenience and appeal of the ION+ Rewards system.

To further its goal of redefining customer loyalty and engagement in the digital age, ION Orchard is introducing more interactive offerings. The mall’s recent Instagram filter celebrates its 15th anniversary, and the Spring-Summer campaign features Australian artist Amanda Parer’s “Lost in Enchantment” installation. This immersive experience combines garden and inflatable elements to create a captivating display of light and color, reflecting themes of human relationships and the natural world.

ION Orchard is also dedicated to creating experiential spaces that foster community and deepen shopper connections. Events and exhibitions at the ION Art gallery, along with the panoramic views from ION Sky on level 56, enrich the overall shopping experience. Additionally, interactive displays and pop-ups like Jentle Garden in 2022 and Air Dior Capsule Collection in 2020, engage shoppers in novel ways beyond traditional retail.

Although gamification in shopping malls is extremely rare at this point, other retailers have successfully used gamification as part of their marketing campaigns. In 2019, T.J.Maxx and Gucci showcased innovative gamification strategies to capture consumer attention in unique ways.

T.J.Maxx’s “Maxximize” campaign featured pop-up installations curated by celebrities, where participants could win products by guessing their combined value. Though short-lived, it effectively spread brand awareness and engaged audiences on social media.

Gucci, like many luxury brands, embraced digital fashion and NFTs, releasing digital items for platforms like Roblox and creating the Gucci Sneaker Garage app for customization. This forward-thinking approach taps into younger, online consumer markets.

In a different vein, mattress company Casper utilized rebus riddles in subway ads, later turning them into a puzzle coloring book on their website. While not sales-focused, this campaign effectively increased brand visibility through simple gamification.

REI has naturally integrated experiences by expanding its camping offerings near Arizona’s Grand Canyon, acquiring 20 acres to create a Signature Camp. Scheduled to open in spring 2025, the campground will offer 10 tents with amenities such as communal areas, restrooms, and showers. REI’s Signature Camps blend outdoor exploration with modern comforts, serving as another form of experiential retail. The company’s guided trips, including those in the Grand Canyon, aim to make outdoor adventures accessible, featuring expert guides and diverse experiences.

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