Customer Retention
Loyalty Programs

How to Improve Loyalty Programs with Gamification

Looking to improve your customer retention strategies? Consider gamification.

Your best customers are your repeat customers. But with so many brands vying for attention, how can you prevent your customers from jumping ship to your competitors? There are many strategies, but we want to bring one to your attention: gamification.

Find out what gamification is and how it can be leveraged in loyalty programs to help improve your customer retention.

What Are Gamified Loyalty Programs?

Gamification in loyalty programs is the process of applying game elements and principles as a way to encourage customers to make repeat purchases. 

There are many ways to approach gamification in loyalty programs. One example is something that you may have dozens of in your wallet: stamp/punch cards. These let customers collect stamps for each purchase until they complete the card, earning them a freebie.

Gamified customer loyalty programs can also be more subtle. Some companies have made branded apps like Nike+ or Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal, promoting a lifestyle relating to the company’s products.

Different Ways to Gamify Customer Loyalty

Gamifying your loyalty programs can be as complicated or as simple as you like. Here are a few ways to implement gamification, as well as some examples of loyalty programs that have succeeded:

Reward Programs

Customers create an account with your business and connect it with their credit card or a phone number. Whenever they purchase something from your business, they can collect points that go toward special rewards. 

Example: Starbucks Rewards

Enrolling in the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program allows customers access to a plethora of perks, including free refills and other personalized reward offerings.

Challenges and Leaderboards

With a focus on mobile applications, challenges and leaderboards can foster some healthy competition from your users. You may create the challenges yourself or let your users create them and invite their friends to participate.

Example: Garmin Connect

Garmin Connect is an app associated with Garmin watches, allowing its users to see stats about their physical activity throughout the week. They can set goals and participate in challenges put on by their friends or challenges to which every user is invited.


You don’t have to commit to one huge gamification strategy—opting for smaller games may suffice. You might include a pop-up prize wheel that visitors can spin to win coupon codes on your website. You could include a quiz about your brand, and customers may receive a discount code or a free offer by answering enough questions correctly. 

Example: Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee uses a digital scratch-off card in their email campaigns to distribute rewards to their customers. While purely a game of luck, it makes their customers feel like they're in control of their winnings. 

How Does Gamification Improve Customer Retention?

Gamification aims to make customer experiences more enjoyable and is more likely to retain loyal customers. Here are a few ways it does that:

  • Offers a feeling of accomplishment: When your customers receive their reward at the end of whatever game you offer, they can feel accomplished and satisfied. This positive customer experience can then lead to reLooking to improve your customer retention strategies? Consider gamification. Learn how gamification in loyalty programs can improve the customer experience.peat purchases, making your products their preference.
  • Builds more touchpoints to analyze behavior: Gamified loyalty programs are highly engaging, which is more likely to generate customer interaction with your brand. You can use that interaction to analyze customer behavior—what actions they take and how those actions affect their shopping habits. With this information, you can make informed decisions on how to improve your gamified customer experience.
  • Creates brand-centered memories: If your gamification manages to create impactful experiences for your customers, they can become long-term cherished memories. An experience this positive is much more likely to improve customer loyalty.

Gamification vs. Other Retention Tactics

Gamification is an advantage over other retention strategies because it is much more exact in its approach. Other retention-building strategies may include “improving customer service” or “building brand authority,” but both of those goals are nebulous and somewhat subjective when it comes to identifying success.

On the other hand, Gamification has a clear deployment strategy and easily measurable success metrics. Gamification also feeds into the experience economy, a rising business trend that has seen countless businesses prioritizing the selling of memorable experiences in addition to their products.

Learn About Gamification Platforms

Have we excited you about using gamification for loyalty programs? If so, we encourage you to learn more about gamification strategies and how they can help your business.

Cataboom is a great resource to get started on gamified strategies. Schedule a demo to find out how we can help you.