E-commerce platforms use gamification to enhance customer engagement

2023.08.29 11:48:02 | 2023.08.29 12:08:49

‘My Kurly Farm’이미지 확대

‘My Kurly Farm’



Some e-commerce platforms are making waves by integrating mobile games into their shopping apps, utilizing a strategy that not only extends the stay time for existing customers but also entices new users.

According to sources on Monday, South Korean e-commerce company Kurly introduced a gamified service called ‘My Kurly Farm’ earlier this month, which allows users to cultivate crops in virtual pots, with the harvested produce available for actual delivery through Kurly. Users can access this service directly within the Kurly app. Participants can choose from four crops - cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and avocados - and by watering their pots at designated intervals, they nurture their virtual plants.

Within just one week of launching the game, Kurly reported that 200,000 users already started playing the game. The engagement level among Kurly app users who play the game saw their visits increase threefold within nine days after the game’s launch.

Kurly’s strategy was to eliminate purchase-inducing elements and enhance participation by allowing users to either receive the fully grown crops or exchange them for other products through its store. The company said it is anticipating that the fun and rewards offered by the game will encourage users to visit and engage with the Kurly app more frequently.

The concept of cultivating virtual crops within a commerce context first took off with the Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo. This platform, operated by PDD Holdings, started as a shopping app specializing in agricultural products. Subsequently, Pinduoduo incorporated a game where users grow fruit trees like apples and kiwis within the shopping app. This propelled the platform to become the third-largest e-commerce company in China. The game alone attracted 11 million players daily, surpassing even the top two e-commerce giants in the country.

The introduction of these games ultimately aims to extend customer app engagement time and attract new customers who respond to the fun element of gaming.

Emart24’s mobile app E-verse, launched in November last year, also utilizes gamification. Upon accessing the app, users can enjoy a mobile game reminiscent of the Korean supermarket as they roll dice and move across the board. ‘Rubies’ earned through the game can be directly exchanged for coupons usable in offline stores or the app. The game’s difficulty increases with progression, and a ranking system awards benefits to the top 100 players weekly, sparking a sense of competition and ambition. Since the game’s introduction, Emart24’s app saw a two-fold increase in average daily active users (DAU) in the first seven months of this year from a year ago. Users’ stay time on the app also increased by up to ten times when compared to standard apps in the local retail industry.

The usage rate of coupons provided by Emart also soared. While Emart coupons given to a wide audience were used for an average of only about 300 transactions per day, coupons obtained through game rewards are now being used for up to 7,000 transactions per day.

By Hong Sung-yun and Minu Kim

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