That’s Retail-Tainment | Gamifying Retail – How to build engagement in retail display


Retail-Tainment and Gamification tips

In this article we’re going to talk about gamifying retail and how you can use gamification and retail-tainment to build engagement in retail display.

What does gamification and retail-tainment mean? 

According to Steve Sims, VP of Solutions and Design and Founder of the Behavior Lab at Badgeville, gamification involves, “taking techniques and the psychology behind games, and using it to get more people to do more stuff more often, and for longer periods of time … It can help your sales people be more productive, or it can boost engagement for your social channel or loyalty program.”

And retail-tainment? This phrase was invented by American sociologist George Ritzer in his book, Enchanting a Disenchanted World, Revolutionising The Means of Consumption, where he defined it as “the use of sound, ambience, emotion and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in the mood to buy”, and said that it was about allure; attracting more customers “while remaining highly rationalised”.

In practice, what this means is offering an “experience” rather than a shop, in what has come to be called a concept store. And games and the experiences they give people are a huge part of this idea.

Why are games so important in building engagement in retail display? 

Saatchi & Saatchi have reported that 66% of tablet owners play social games daily, and 46% of tablet gamers are women. The largest group of social gamers is women between the ages of 35 and 44, the second largest women between 18 and 34. Men make up the third largest group.

So, if people are using games so much in their everyday life, you can see that this is why gamification is creeping into the retail environment. Immersive experiences and the use of social media can be carefully introduced into your retail display environment to make use of this common human activity.

Red Bull Retailtainment Display Visualisation

Red Bull Retail-Tainment Display Visualisation

How can I use gamification to build a retail-tainment environment my customers will love? 

Attract the customer by stimulating their senses – touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. Use colours, use noise, use smell, use movement, use textures. Think about how your product can be brought to life by stimulating your customers’ senses. If the product you want to promote already stimulates a sense, think about how to cross over and build further sensory stimulation through display highlighting.

Discovery – think about how you can help your customers to discover your product in new ways in the retail environment (through using doorways, curtains, viewing portals and interactive displays). Creative displays that encourage customers to explore an area of the store and discover the benefits of a product are a real hot trend right now and are superb for boosting dwell time in store.

Customer engagement – engage your customers with something surprising or unique: be as unique as your brand can possibly be. Taking influence from other brands is essential for generating ideas, but copying a concept won’t really do your brand justice. The chances are, your customers have seen the copied concept before. This really is where the benefits of dealing with a creative display company, who have a market overview across multiple sectors, will benefit your campaign greatly. Coming up with these sort of ideas is what we do.

Elaborating on the retail-tainment side of things, pick up some ideas (but remember, don’t copy slavishly) from having a look at what companies like Anthropologie and Hollister are doing. The mood in Anthropologie is affected by a wealth of scented candles and plants, while visit Hollister and you’re in the semi-darkness with pounding music, more like a club than a shop. M&Ms world offers a huge range of tasting possibilities, and the Disney Store aims to make every visitor feel like they are stepping into a fantasy world.

Think about how you can use games and visitors’ senses and sense of play to really engage them with your retail display. Whether you’re gamifying your retail environment or giving your visitors some retail-tainment, maybe encouraging them to post selfies with your product on social media, you’ll be sure to be engaging them and forming positive memories.


Have your say