Using Gamification to Build a Recurring Revenue Business

Designing an Experience around the Decision to Buy

You have an amazing product. Congratulations. Now it’s time to sell it. Enter product gamification.

Since you know what you’re doing, you’ve managed to get people onto your site through SEO and other channels. These people are ready to buy.

But then…they don’t.

It’s the experience surrounding your product that counts, not just your product. One cannot go without the other. Sometimes the experience itself is even your product!
Octalysis designs user experiences that engage your potential buyers and makes the process of purchasing feel great and gets people coming back again for more. Because you have a good product, but more importantly because it ‘feels good’ to come back.

The core mechanic of your customer activity (which leads to loyalty)

You have a business, but you have a problem. Customers aren’t buying at the velocity or volume you hoped for. You haven’t engaged them in the buying process. You haven’t made it a no-brainer to click buy, to complete the cart and checkout.

Game designers consider and test the engagement question repetitively in the design process (even before a product or service goes to market).

Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman describe the Core Mechanics of a game as

the essential moment-to-moment activity of players.

Consider the players in your game. The players are your customers. Do you know what their moment-to-moment activity looks and feels like in the nano-seconds before buying (or leaving your site)?

If you don’t, why don’t you start with what you concretely have? Use your data.

Finding the leaky pipe

Once you’ve identified the leak in your design, you can take the steps to pinpointing what the problem is from a motivational standpoint.

Maybe customers are on your site, but bounce after two seconds because they were promised something that isn’t apparent on your actual site.

Maybe customers are on your site, but not clicking buy.

Maybe customers are clicking buy, but leaving their carts unfinished.

Usually, the customer is dropping because something about the experience is missing or not resonating. Usually, the experience design is either too extrinsic, black hat or too intrinsic, white hat.

Is your experience too intrinsic or too extrinsic?

If it is too extrinsic, black hat (e.g. focused on rewards and creating urgency) you may have create a lot of push for people to want to get that discount you offer. But then buyer remorse can set in and they back off. Customers do not feel in control. When users do not feel in control, they will find a way to exit the experience.

What about the flip side? If your design is too white hat, intrinsic (e.g. focused on making people feel special and in control) they may not feel any urgency to buy. So they feel good about your product, but after a short while they will start to think about things they really should be doing rather than spending time on your site (like doing their taxes).

The moment-to-moment experience

Dissecting the minutiae of moment-to-moment experience is absolutely critical. When you press ‘Buy now’ on Amazon, you can bet there are 1,000 engineers on the other side of that click.

Why wouldn’t you spend as much effort and attention to ensure each decision your customers’ make is equally persuaded?

Choosing not to go to this level of detail is a losing proposition in a world which is increasingly pushing and pulling on nuances of human motivations is a decision to lose versus that competition.

The Octalysis Group often uses its Strategy Dashboard to investigate the Core Activity Loop. This usually illuminates the problem quite quickly. Identifying solutions is the next step.

There may be four or five steps you want to carry your potential customer through. Each of these decision points may involve multiple actions or reactions in the customer’s mind. Each of these actions or reactions can be tailored motivationally through Octalysis, and it is a mistake to brush these details aside.

Remember, most experiences that perform well seek a balance or harmony between the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis, between extrinsic and intrinsic and Black Hat and White Hat.

Doing the hard work, the risky work

While you make these observations about your customers’ behavior, your business will continue to struggle or flatline. You probably want to implement changes, but you might be fearful of making the problem worse. This is a risk.

At The Octalysis Group, we have experience in delicately diagnosing and recommending design changes to businesses that wish to maintain their business and look for ways to improve revenues.

To learn how we can assist your firm in creating long-term customer engagement and gain a stronger market position, get in touch with Joris Beerda right now.

Joris Beerda, Managing Director The Octalysis Group

Leading Octalysis Expert, International Keynote Speaker, Behavioral Scientist and Managing Director of The Octalysis Group.


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