Ready…Set…SHOP

Why shopping is now considered a type of Gamification.

Gamers have you ever spent hours in the store with your mother or sister with the shopping addiction? Or better yet with Black Friday just passing, have you experienced going out just to get a new TV and your mother has you out for hours in Macy’s for their doorbuster sale? Well gamers shopping has now been gamified. Companies all around are taking the characteristics of games and using them for a serious cause, like making money and gaining customer loyalty.

sephora-bangkok-at-siam-center.jpgSephora is a French chain of cosmetics stores. It carries around 300 brands of makeup, skin, body, and hair care products, fragrances and nail polishes.  Sephora has its own product line of makeup, and today it has over 300 stores in the US alone.

In 2003 Sephora launched their Beauty insider  loyalty program. Using Gamaification to enhance their company. Beauty Insider is a rewards program that allows customers to earn points as they shop. As the points build customers are allowed to redeem them for small gifts. Buy using Beauty Insider Sephora is giving shopping in their stores game like qualities.

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Using Sephora’s rewards program is voluntarily like most games. The company states “Beauty Insider is your fast track to a never-ending supply of beauty rewards. It’s free to join, and every dollar spent earns a point that gets you closer to your next beauty fix.”

There is an objective which is to shop so you can earn points. This reminds me of the common objective games have of collecting. Members want to collect points so they can earn and discover new rewards. New rewards are dropped every Tuesday and Thursday. Beauty Insiders try to earn as much points as they can so they can receive these hot new gifts. There is also three different levels of Sephora’s Beauty Insiders. Level one is a “beauty insider” which includes free birthday gifts, free beauty classes, and 2 day free shipping for $10 a year. The next level is an VIB member, this is a Very Important Beauty Insider you get to this level once $350 is spent. This level gets you free birthday gifts, free beauty classes, seasonal savings, handpicked gifts, 1 free custom makeover, and free shipping for $10 a year. The highest level of this rewards program is the VIB Rouge level. This is accomplished when $1000 or more is spent. This level includes everything stated above as well as a private hotline and invitations to exclusive events.

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There are also terms and conditions. Games normally have rules of some kind and Sephora’s rewards programs has many rules for members to follow. Members must agree to the terms and conditions before participating and becoming a beauty insider. Their terms and conditions are often updated and can be found here . Like most games their are also some time of bound. With Sephora points and rewards can only be earned and giving inside Sephora or participating Jcpenny’s stores. Points can not be earned at any place outside this bound.

Sephora has also enchanted their rewards program by using software, hardware, and interactivity to asephora-iphone-app2llow members to use their program while shopping online or through a mobile application. Members can always keep track of the points they’re earning just by pulling it up on their mobile phone. Once logged into Sephora’s mobile application you find a virtual environment personalized just for you. You can save items for future purchases by completing a shipping list. You can keep track of all the items and products you perviously purchased in the past. Their are also extra features like the Videos where you can tune in to video of makeup experts sharing tips and beauty hacks.

Sephora Gamifing their company was a great way to gain customer loyalty. Beauty Blogger Nzara shares the benefits she believes she gains from using beauty insider. In many cases most shoppers don’t even realize the company is using gamification. Customers are normally so satisfied with the gains from using a rewards program they don’t think much more of it. Sephora using gamification and starting up this rewards program was a great way to allow customers to have fun while spending money.  

Company’s using gamification is a smart, and what I believe necessary, way to make their brand profitable. Although rewards programs are not as in-depth as games and only give you the ability to measure progress. Gamification is taking a simple point system and making it fun or more enjoyable. I believe rewards programs have more game like qualities than many people think. Shopping and using rewards programs may not be as thrilling as a basketball game or even playing a video game of 2k however it requires many skills and abilities gamers have.

Gamers in my opinion are smart, they have a lot of knowledge, great reflexives and the ability to think fast. All these decision making skills, a good shopper must have as well. Shoppers need to be able to think fast and make clever decisions they need to be able to decide when something is a waste of money or if something is really a great deal. Gamification is a way of taking something dull and boring and making it exciting. Their are many other serious matters that have been gamificaied I believe shopping and rewards programs should be treated just as equally. So gamers the next time your in the mall bored of your mind, have some fun and be sure to keep an eye out for many beneficial gamified rewards programs like the one offered at sephora.

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