Six brands using gamification to drive loyalty

The gamification market is predicted to be worth over $11 billion by 2020, as more businesses see the value applying game mechanics to real world interactions.

Games are designed to entice people to engage.

Rules give players clear instructions and guidelines to success. Missions and story acts provide structure and a sense of progression. As your character becomes more experienced, they gain levels, opening up new abilities and content.

Often a game will open up new areas as people progress through the story, and provide higher-quality loot. Layered throughout the game are achievements that the player earns for completing certain tasks; achievements that they can share with other players as a mark of status.


How and which brands are using gamification

1. Gilt

The member’s only fashion retailer has an exclusive loyalty programme - Gilt Insider – that provides members with tiered progression. At the highest level, Noir, members receive extra benefits – such as waitlist priority.

The more you spend (the more goals you achieve as a Gilt shopper) the more you can discover and the easier it is to get the rewards you want.

It also gives members clear guidance on what they need to do to qualify for rewards and move to new tiers. In other words, it gives people a clear structure on how to ‘play the game’.

2. JetBlue

JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty programme rewards members for completed tasks, providing them with virtual and physical rewards.

Members can use their points towards the cost of any seat, at any time. They can earn points co-operatively with family pooling, adding a social element to the scheme.

3. Sky

Sky VIP – uses an experience-based reward system when it provides more valuable rewards to members who have been customers for longer, rather than giving the better rewards to those who spend the most money.

Loyalty is rewarded by providing exclusive services to scheme members – with VIP members having access to VIP-only TV channels.

4. MAC

In 2016, cosmetics brand MAC rolled out its new loyalty programme, MAC Select.

The programme is similar to Gilt’s in its use of tiers and the scaled value of rewards as members ‘level-up’, but it also sends annual gifts to all loyalty programme members.

When members reach ‘Obsessed’ rank (they spend $500 per year) they qualify for two-day free delivery on orders, two free makeup applications and a better version of the annual gift.

5. Marriott

Marriott Hotels uses a tiered scheme for its Marriott Rewards loyalty programme. The more you stay at Marriott Hotels, the more benefits you ‘unlock’.

For example, the first tier after the basic rewards membership is Silver Elite, which you unlock after staying 10 nights at Marriot hotels. This gives members 20% additional bonus points for eligible stays. The highest tier – Platinum Elite (unlocked after 75 nights of Marriot stays) grants a 50% bonus points boost, and is the only tier where members can get 48-hour guaranteed room availability and an arrival gift (of bonus points, a food & drink amenity or air miles).

Marriott also has a social media team, at its M Live center, that keeps an eye on what guests are posting about on social media and sends them surprise gifts during their stays.

6. True Value

Hardware retailer, True Value, lets members keep track of their points via an app. This provides the retailer with the data needed to personalise rewards (and has seen some stores achieve a 371% return-on-investment from its loyalty programme).


Comarch’s Loyalty Management Solution includes an integrated mobile loyalty app, which makes it easy for customers to view their past purchases, store their coupons and update their loyalty profile. In short, it acts as a kind of journal (another gamification feature) that allows people to monitor their progress.

The app’s real-time connection to in-store POS makes it easy to check on loyalty status during check-out, and makes redemption of benefits easy - allowing loyalty members to receive a seamless and familiar, experience no matter what store they visit. As a result, it has seen loyalty members spend 20% more on average than non-loyalty members.

Loyalty programmes and games share the same objective – they need people to keep coming back for more. Games achieve this by creating an experience that’s entertaining and engaging – an experience that gives people the right rewards at the right time, and for the right reasons.

The best rewards are so valued because they take work to get there. In a game, players may need to defeat a difficult opponent, or progress past a certain point before they get a chance of receiving coveted items. Successful loyalty programmes replicate this with tiered rewards and benefits.

Gamification is a powerful tool for loyalty programmes to use, especially when brands take the time to proactively communicate with loyalty programme members in relevant and unobtrusive ways, because while mechanics are powerful, loyalty also requires a relationship of trust and that’s built over time and with good communication.

Learn more about how mobile technology and gamification are revolutionising loyalty programmes.


 Lauren Hogg, UK Marketing Manager, Comarch


 Lauren Hogg

 UK Marketing Manager


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