Will online games fuel mobile engagement for Jet.com and other retailers?

Discussion
Source: Jet.com
Jul 11, 2017

Jet.com has become the latest retailer looking to capitalize on the popularity of online mobile games like Candy Crush to help engage consumers.

In the game, #URLsofSummer, two disparate items are humorously paired in an image and consumers are urged to “guess the Summer URL correctly, and you could win all the items in the photo.” An example given shows a pair of tongs holding a ping pong paddle. The winning URL: jet.com/PingPongTong.

The campaign, running from June 19 to July 14, showcases Jet.com’s broad summer assortments and represents a switch-up from traditional advertising.

“We’re very tongue-in-cheek, very playful, and this campaign — a fun little game you can play while you’re standing in line somewhere — is another way we can give the online shopping experience a more human face,” Sumaiya Balbale, Jet.com’s VP of marketing, tells Marketing Daily.

In Sweden, McDonald’s earned attention earlier this year with the launch of BeatQuiz, which asked diners multiple-choice questions based on the music currently playing in the restaurant. One-on-one battles with friends were encouraged.

Punchh, which helps restaurants deliver personalized offers, also provides games, often via limited promotions, featured on the apps of some of its clients, including Schlotzsky’s, Chicago’s Aurelios Pizza, TGI Fridays in the U.K. and the franchisor, Taco John’s.

Schlotzsky’s “Scratch, Match & Win” game, for example, offered players the chance to win food and drink prizes by entering a code from their drink cup into the game app, then “scratching” and matching two buttons on the screen. Any game can be turned into a sweepstakes by adding a clause that they must “enter” to win.

In an interview with RetailWire, Shyam Rao, CEO of Punchh, said that in general clients benefit from the games through acquisition of new loyalty members and the ability to promote items. Many games require purchasing a specific item to gain an entry code.

The games are also said to reduce anxiety around wait times, help families entertain their kids, and can enrich the dining experience. Said Mr. Rao, “The social benefits of games help overall brand awareness.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will online games evolve into a core tool to encourage consumers to use retail apps? How should retailers or restaurants be looking to capitalize on the popularity of online games?

Braintrust
"It's great to see retailers using creative methods to personalize their brand and make shopping more fun!"
"Gamification in-store is a valuable tactic, but retailers shouldn’t count on customers frequently gaming on their app outside the store."
"Frankly, I fail to see how asking shoppers to spend even more time with their faces in their phones playing games is engaging the shopper..."

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11 Comments on "Will online games fuel mobile engagement for Jet.com and other retailers?"

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Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

This is a very old approach within the realm of gamification that in one form or another predates the web by eons. Success has to do with execution and audience relevancy. Except for brands that are bent on maintaining a stuffy persona, it’s not a question of should or should not but of value-add for the consumer.

Regarding apps: retailers that have apps offering little incentive for download and use might get a little bump from gamification, but unless it produces over-the-top benefits and/or entertainment for a large percentage of users, it will die out quickly.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
BrainTrust

Gamification in marketing is totally underrated as a selling approach. The discovery, learning and fun that fuel engagement draw on creativity that seems to have been lost as Madison Avenue shifted its focus to media placement from inspiring purchase intent. Retail would be better served by increasing overall spend rather than duking it out for larger slices of the spending pie. Experiential retailers understand that they benefit from both.

Phil Masiello
BrainTrust

This is a short-term event that will get some PR play. But I don’t see people spending the time to play every day and make it a habit.

Games are very popular. Game apps drive the app economy. But you have to look at the persona behind the game players and determine if this is the core customer you want to attract and who can drive your business.

I am for anything that makes shopping fun. This should be a rotating tool in the marketer’s box of weapons. But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.

Jasmine Glasheen
Staff

It’s great to see retailers using creative methods to personalize their brand and make shopping more fun! Although the prizes in Jet’s “URLs of Summer” aren’t exactly desirable, they’re funny and stick in the mind. Plus, imagine how much winners will be talking about their loot. All this comes at a minimal expense to the retailer.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Frankly, I fail to see how asking shoppers to spend even more time with their faces in their phones playing games is engaging the shopper in any meaningful manner. Another tactic to “win free stuff” is just that, a tactic.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

I see this is an innovative idea but not one that will become the next big thing. Sure there are those individuals who enjoy games and they will participate but most of us are busy and the quicker we can make our purchase the better. Games on mobile apps will have a place for some and possibly a decent life span especially if the company provides meaningful incentives for customers to engage with them, but I don’t see it as a long-term win for any business.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

A core tool? It seems to me that there are many more issues that are “core” to retailers and restaurants.

Yes, online games are appealing because of today’s technology. But they are no different than McDonald’s Monopoly scratch off. Just a different delivery system. And my fear would be that the product would be lost in the players’ interest in playing the game.

Alex Senn
BrainTrust

Well, certainly this can work in some form. First off, anything that aids in the onboarding of new customers at a reasonable cost should be attempted. I think where companies go wrong is by putting a ton of research and development time into a game which in the end does not outweigh the costs by numbers of new users, customers, etc.

The games, if properly run and set up will allow retailers to collect emails, gather information and properly convert this client throughout the customer lifetime. While games may be great, I believe the power comes from referrals that seem almost like a game because they are so fun. Referrals, intelligent coupons and social-inspired shopping rewards are quite powerful in the “game” sense because you can earn points or dollars off, etc. But there is a direct benefit which is clear to see in such programs, whereas games can become distractions and more “ad-esque” in their nature.

Cristian Grossmann
BrainTrust

I don’t think online games will be a core tool for retail apps. Technology evolves so rapidly and customers play a game for a bit then quickly move to the next thing. It’s not worth the time and effort to maintain a robust platform for gaming when retailers should be focused on how to sell. And the people most likely playing these games aren’t the real decision-makers when it comes to buying. Gamification in-store is a valuable tactic, but retailers shouldn’t count on customers frequently gaming on their app outside the store.

gordon arnold
Guest

The need for comprehensive coupon POS software, viable impulse sale software and checkout assistance software are and will remain much more important. The incentives are all net profit related and need much more attention. After that attention needs to be paid to product availability, price and in store location. But that’s only what the customers ask for and want along with what the stores need.

Min-Jee Hwang
BrainTrust

Jet’s innovative way of advertising shows how smart Walmart was to acquire them. The ad and game are fun and have a ton of personality. They’re promoting products, helping Jet.com become more well known, and can get shopper information that they can later use to market to them through sweepstakes. I think online games will prove to be a great gateway to increased engagement and future purchases.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It's great to see retailers using creative methods to personalize their brand and make shopping more fun!"
"Gamification in-store is a valuable tactic, but retailers shouldn’t count on customers frequently gaming on their app outside the store."
"Frankly, I fail to see how asking shoppers to spend even more time with their faces in their phones playing games is engaging the shopper..."

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