When I first saw Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk about how “gaming can make a better world,” I struggled with the concept. It was akin to my experience with Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s approach to turning work into a game. Both of these ideas were new to me and it took a while to sink in. But then it hit – they are all onto something.
Take a few minutes to watch Jane’s presentation.
I want to throw out a challenge to you – how can you turn your current shopping experience into something fun? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Several of the grocery stores around town highlight the money a customer saves, but the experience is less than exciting. Typically this involved the checker circling the amount you saved on the bottom of your receipt and then handing it to you. So what! Now, what if you had some fun with this. Perhaps you add a big screen to your register that makes a major deal out of the saving a customer gets. Perhaps you plus this up with levels of savings.
- Staying with the “savings” idea, why not create a savings leader of the day board where you track which customer saved the most money that day. Award the top three customers with a gift card or another special gift. Remember, it does not have to be a large amount, you’re simply trying to make them feel special. You could push this out even further by tracking the daily winners across an entire month where you then make an even bigger deal out of the monthly finalists. Take their photos and put them on a wall with the amounts they saved. Not only will you be making the check out experience funner, you will also be reinforcing your value image.
- Remember the balloon pop game that you played at the carnival as a kid? You know, the one with darts; you threw the dart, hopefully popped a balloon and then got the prize under/in the balloon? Why not replicate this game or come up with something like it where customers get an opportunity to participate every time they shop your store or when they spend a certain amount?
- Make a special game for the kids. Depending upon your type of business, many times shoppers end up bringing their children with them. Take advantage of this situation and show the parents that you care about their kids too. Hold coloring contests, set up a treasure hunt, or play trivia over your PA system.
- Create a secret club and for your most loyal shoppers. The secret part is absolutely critical. Why? First, it helps your these customers feel a special sense of achievement. Second, think about the power of reverse psychology – by telling your secret club members not to talk about the club, they will be way more likely to talk about it. Reward them with a special club card and give them exclusive benefits when they shop with you. What might those special benefits be? It can be about anything – special hours, extend sale dates/hours/days, free items, etc. Talk to your shoppers and find out what rewards would really matter to them.
These are simply five ideas to help you get started. Look at your store, your customers, and the opportunities you have to turn a boring or routine shopping experience into something fun. What could you do without spending any additional money or for a small investment? What if you had a moderate or large amount of money to invest in making your business fun, what would you do?