People - 13.03.2017 - 00:00 

How "gamification" can influence customer behaviour

Gamification – the application of elements typically associated with playing games in a non-game context – is gaining significance. In her doctoral thesis Jessica Müller-Stewens has investigated how "gamification" can be used most effectively in practice.

14 March 2017. The integration of "gamification" has grown significantly in importance for companies in the consumer goods industry in recent years. Companies try to incorporate games and game elements like "high scores" and "experience points" into their interaction with consumers. "And after graduating I wanted to learn more about the decision-making processes of consumers," says Jessica Müller-Stewens. For this reason, in her doctoral thesis "Gamification: Conceptualizing and Testing a New Consumer-Firm Interaction Paradigm", she investigated the use of gamification in practice and the psychological processes underlying its effects.

Success of gamification

The goals of companies when using game elements are diverse: acquiring new customers, increasing conversion rates and improving customers‘ positive word-of-mouth intentions. Whether gamification is successful depends on numerous factors, Müller-Stewens points out. If companies want to convey information with a game in order to trigger a purchase, this information must be integrated into an interactive game. "But the time each customer has available and the system requirements of the devices used influence the outcome and hence the purchase or non-purchase of the products," she says.

Potential applications of gamification

Jessica Müller-Stewens sees a broad variety of possible applications of gamification in practice: "For example, driver assistance systems in cars. Products that could make life easier for drivers, but due to their complexity or novelty are not properly understood. Consequently, few consumers buy or use these systems." Gamification is also already being applied for products that support a healthy lifestyle. For products such as blood glucose meters and fitness trackers, games can help to maintain the motivation of consumers, encouraging regular use.

Complex topic

Games and game elements can be useful in a non-game context for achieving superordinate goals. However, Jessica Müller-Stewens also warns of the complexity. She therefore recommends that companies should consult experienced game manufacturers in order to be able to successfully implement gamification measures.

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