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The future of checkouts: Gamify the experience

(Image credit: Image Credit: 3112014 / Pixabay)

Gertjan Dewaele, Product Intelligence & Innovation Manager at Ingenico ePayments, explains how retailers can boost conversion with gamified checkouts. 

The conversion crisis 

In 2016, eCommerce retailers lost an estimated £3.6 trillion worth of sales to abandoned carts, at a global abandonment rate of 69%, according to Baymard Institute. This suggests that retailers don’t just face a conversion challenge, but that they’re on the verge of a potential crisis if they’re unable to convert visits into sales.   

While we can assume that a few customers will always drop off before completing their online shopping, as some shoppers create a wish-list online and never intend to purchase their items, Baymard Institute believes that 35% of abandonments are preventable. To boost conversion rates, retailers need to innovate to improve the quality, speed and options of the checkout, both in-store and online.   

Akamai Technologies’ State of Online Retail Performance report for Spring 2017 reveals that as little as a two-second delay in checkout loading correlated with up to a 51% decrease in session length. Since this figure continues to see a year-on-year growth, it’s clear that checkouts need to be more frictionless.  

Adding more payment options, fixing inconsistent checkout pages and eradicating unresponsive checkouts are just a few ways to transform browsers into paying customers. Today’s checkouts, for example, must automatically adapt to the screen size of customers’ devices, and enable one-click payments to drive conversion. But at Ingenico ePayments, we believe that we can innovate beyond this. We believe that checkouts not only need to be extremely responsive and secure, they also need to entice the customer. From this, the gamified checkout was born. 

Engaging the customer with technology 

Simple yet rewarding games technologies, such as a virtual scratch card, a slot machine, a wheel of fortune, gift boxes and mystery discount, can all give consumers opportunities to immediately win prizes related to their purchase – a bigger and more appealing award than simply applying a 10% at checkout.   

Discounts alone are not enough to ensure the customer converts. The main factor in securing customer loyalty and boosting checkout conversion is by promoting a great user experience in line with the style and voice of your brand. 

Once customer experience is the focus, several things will begin to change, and even increase: volume of transactions, brand awareness and brand loyalty. By offering customers more than just a service, retailers will secure repeat business, increased conversion and greater advocacy.   

By directly giving users an uncomplicated way to share their win online,f word of mouth grows faster on social media to boost the retail store’s presence and ultimately draw in other shoppers. 

Boost conversion on mobiles   

Consumers browsing retail sites on their mobiles is increasing, but figures show that mobile conversion isn’t growing at anyway near the same rate. In fact, mobile phones represented 46% of global e-commerce traffic in Q2 2016 but just 27% of purchases, according to Criteo, highlighting that conversion rates remain low on mobile.   

Many customers are favouring ‘webrooming’, whereby they browse online but purchase in store, or transfer over to a desktop to complete transactions. However, switching over to a different platform increases the chance that customers drop out of the transaction by doubting their purchase or changing online stores. It’s another barrier that needs to be removed to boost conversion.   

Gamification will challenge regular m-commerce dropouts as it gives consumers a value-added reason to complete their purchase right there and then. According to tests done by our partner Luckycycle, a digital Belgian start-up, by adding gamification retailers can increase the volume and value of transactions and boost conversion by up to 15%.   

Offering a multichannel experience   

 Customers’ expectations of a multichannel experience are ever-growing. Opinium Research found that more than half (53%) of UK consumers believe that UK retailers provide a disconnected shopping experience that does not adequately join online and the store. More harrowingly for retailers, 61% say that they would consider changing retailers due to a disconnected shopping experience.   

If a retailer does not or cannot offer the option to browse in store but order online, or to click and collect, then today’s customers will likely look for another store that can provide this convenience. 

The good news is that the gamified checkout experience isn’t just restricted to online platforms. The latest payment terminals are smart enough to enable gamified checkout when paying by card in-store. Thus, multichannel retailers can promote engaging campaigns across all customer touchpoints. 

Why gamification? 

Studies suggest that gamification boosts productivity, as it turns mundane tasks into something exciting. Consider the Pokémon Go craze – the augmented reality game managed to gamify tasks as simple as walking, and not just routine walks, it encouraged people to walk when they otherwise wouldn’t be. A study from Stanford and Microsoft calculated that particularly engaged users increased their average activity by 1,473 steps a day, or 26%.   

So, why is gamification so effective? Well, the 'buy and win' concept is simple: a customer visits a retailer website, shops as usual, and after payment gets a one in 10 or 5 chance to win their basket for free. Shoppers are notified instantly and have the option to share their good fortune on social media, further amplifying the campaign. Promotions can run across individual products, categories or an entire range. Retailers can increase conversion rates, make the shopping experience fun and reward loyal customers without challenging brand value. 

Looking at gamification from a psychological viewpoint, it’s notable that as the games platforms offers a new, fun customer experience, it appeal to our innate desire for exciting rewards and instant gratification. Not only will customers receive the item that they want, but they have a chance to be rewarded for their purchase too. This could be the tipping point in the conversion crisis that retailers, and customers, have been looking for.   

Gertjan Dewaele, Product Intelligence & Innovation Manager at Ingenico ePayments 

Image Credit: 3112014 / Pixabay

Gertjan Dewaele leads the innovation team within Ingenico ePayments. He has several years of ecommerce experience and a passion for new trends in online payments and customer behaviour.