The Ultimate Guide to Enhancing Your Loyalty Program With Gamification

Gamification helps you increase customer engagement in a fun way. It also provides new opportunities to collect data about customers. See how!

The cover picture of how gamification can enhance loyalty programs
The cover picture of how gamification can enhance loyalty programs

Who doesn’t enjoy games? Reward-seeking behavior, a natural competitive spirit, and the classic fear of missing out all contribute to the popularity of gamification elements in loyalty programs. Gamified loyalty programs have the amazing ability to keep experience-driven customers engaged for a long time and to build relationships and communities among participants. Gamification encourages customers to interact with your brand more regularly and purchase more frequently while also providing you the opportunity to collect vital customer data. Let’s see how gamification elements can enhance engagement with your customers in store and online.

Gamified Loyalty Programs and Their Benefits

Game-like elements and mechanics in a non-game context is the definition that best describes gamified loyalty programs. Due to the demand for enriched customer experiences, the global gamification market is projected to reach $40 billion by 2024. Therefore, spicing up your loyalty program with elements of fun can make it much more effective, significantly improve customer engagement and brand awareness, as well as grow customer lifetime value. 

Gamification also adds a more personable touch to your loyalty program, especially helping you target Millennials and Gen Z, who grew up using smart technology. At the same time, this group is said to suffer from a severe lack of attention span, so relying on traditional loyalty features alone most probably will not work for them. Not only is gamification a great way to learn about customers’ product references, lifestyle and favorite brands, it can also help you obtain valuable feedback. Plus, it also encourages recurring behavior, incentivizes specific actions, and promotes engagement beyond transactions. 

The logic behind gamified loyalty programs
Companies should keep in mind that, in order for the customers to want to participate in their gamified loyalty program, they need to offer enticing rewards in exchange.

How to Apply Gamification Elements to Your Loyalty Program

When adding gamification elements to your loyalty program, there are a few rules you should consider. First of all, you need to set goals. Answer the question of what you are hoping to achieve—what is the “end game”? Then, you need to know who your customers are and what kind of games they are most likely to engage with so you can tailor your gamified loyalty program to them.

If your core customers check their phones frequently, it is a good idea to make the gamified loyalty program available to them in app form as well. Encourage members to engage in social sharing. You can also create badges and leaderboards, as seeing how others are progressing in the program builds a sense of competition among customers. Immerse them in a likes/dislikes quiz or show them a selection of images so they can select the option that is closest to their hearts. All the information gathered through gamification can then be used for segmentation and better targeting, helping you offer more personalized rewards.

Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform provides clients with a variety of gamification elements.
Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform provides a variety of gamification elements and makes it easy for clients to set up their gamified loyalty program.

The Best Gamification Features in Loyalty Programs

The significance of both online and offline shopping is growing by the day, especially now, in the pandemic. The sky’s the limit when it comes to gamification options that make shopping more fun than ever as customers continue to shop from the comfort of home.

1. Challenges & Badges – Game On!

Drive recurring behavior by giving your customers a sense of accomplishment, for every challenge they complete. Customers can unlock rewards by completing a task or challenge or receive a badge that delivers an extra benefit. Badges are widely-used gamification elements that create the feeling of being skilled, while strengthening the customer’s connection with the brand. Because being honored is something we all love, badges are one of the most effective tools available. 

Bergzeit, German multichannel mountaineering products retailer, rewards their customers for daily activities. Within their loyalty program, which is called Bergzeit Club, members can earn points by completing sporting challenges thanks to an integration with Strava. In addition to building a like-minded community of hiking enthusiasts, the company also set out to increase brand engagement. Bergzeit not only rewards customers for having an active lifestyle, but also for making repeat purchases, writing product reviews, and inviting friends, too.

Bergzeit’s loyalty program rewards members’ hiking activities via the Strava integration.
Bergzeit Club rewards its members’ hiking activities via the Strava integration.

2. Social Interactions – Sharing Is Caring

Nowadays, it is essential for companies to be present on social media in order to strengthen their bond with customers. By giving customers a voice, you can receive valuable feedback, insights and inspiration in return. Customers love exchanging experiences and sharing ideas with each other so, why not harness the power of word-of-mouth? Turn your customers into brand advocates by rewarding them for recommending your products and services to friends, or set up a hashtag contest on Instagram to drive user-generated content. 

Setting up a hashtag contest on Instagram.
User-generated content is considered more authentic by customers, thereby holding more influence over their buying decisions as well.

Wanting to highlight body positivity Simply Be, the go-to digital destination for fashionable size 12-32 women, created a loyalty program that rewards customers for who they are and how they interact with the brand. They encourage members to upload pictures of themselves wearing their favorite clothes or unboxing their monthly gift box. The aim of Simply Be’s membership program is also to increase purchase frequency and brand loyalty, so they also incorporated Surprise & Delight elements in the program, coupled with contests, social sharing, and friend referrals.

Sign up page for Simply Be’s loyalty program
Simply Be’s loyalty program provides hyper-targeted reward experiences to its members.

3. Gamified Surveys & Quizzes – Getting to Know Customer Preferences

Customers engage more with content that is fun, which is why surveys and quizzes are a great tool for profiling. Create engaging visual quizzes, show your customers a curated selection of pictures and ask them to choose the one they like best, or let them decide whether they like or dislike the image presented. All of these activities allow you to get to know your customers—and their preferences—better. 

Three quiz-like gamified survey questions asking people to share their preferences.
Customers can get so engaged with completing surveys and quizzes they won’t even notice the amount of time they’ve spent doing so. Meanwhile, with these formats, customers tend to share a lot more information about themselves.

Victoria’s Secret created an app, called PINK Nation, through which customers received points for signing up for a contest called “Fashion Show Sweeps”, where they could also win a trip to the company’s fashion show. They receive additional points by playing daily trivia games and sharing on social media. The app also features polls and quizzes, stickers and wallpaper for their members. With the help of their app, Victoria’s Secret not only gathers a great deal of customer information but also increases visits to their website.

Victoria’s Secret membership program is called Pink Nation.
Pink Nation members receive outfit inspo, style hacks, mental health tips and workout playlists. (Source:

4. Online Treasure Hunt – Get a Clue

Surely, you’re familiar with “Where’s Waldo?”. Make customers feel like kids again as they search for specific items on your website. While exploring your online catalog, looking for the hidden treasure, they may very well come across other products they like. You can even use QR codes to hide clues, like an image or an object, and upon scanning the code a reward is revealed to them.

While browsing your website, customers are greeted by a notification and special reward.
Antavo integrates with platforms such as Salesforce to deliver gamified features, including online treasure hunts. While browsing your website, customers are greeted by a notification and reward that they can use on future purchases.

REI, the American outdoor apparel and accessories retailer, once promoted its outdoor clothing and gear by using an augmented reality application that let customers win prizes. The REI “Find Out NYC” app required customers to locate and scan more than 400 REI posters around New York. Once a customer found a poster, they could point their smartphone at it, which would take them to a mobile-optimized page, where they could move their handset around to see a nature scene with outdoor gear scattered around. By tapping on an image of the gear, participants were prompted to enter an online competition to win the gear as a prize.

REI applied a gamification element to its app in the form of a treasure hunt.
In addition to entering to win prizes, customers could also learn about outdoor activities in the city and explore REI’s new New York location. (Source:

5. Leaderboards – And the Winner Is…

People like keeping score, so leaderboards can be a great way to motivate users to interact with your program more often, spend time competing and gain new rewards. Customers can ascend the ranks by performing actions, such as buying products or leaving reviews, in order to collect points. Leaderboards allow customers to see how they are doing compared to other, competing customers. They are also one of the most effective ways of getting users to engage with each other, helping companies build communities of customers with similar preferences and interests.

Started during the pandemic Tmall, the Chinese website for business-to-consumer online retail, launched an avatar game on their app where users can customize their 3D characters and complete daily challenges to earn points. The game also includes a social component: if customers send feedback or write reviews, they can earn better titles and secure a higher position on the leaderboard.

Tmall launched an avatar game on their app.
The Tmall App also allows users to take pictures with each other’s avatars and post them. Plus they can earn extra points for completing different tasks.

6. Prize wheel – Spin to Win!

Who doesn’t enjoy spinning a wheel to earn points or prizes? Following the pandemic, touchless solutions have gained even greater traction. Luckily, prize wheels are ideal for mobile apps and in-store devices. Having an in-store Prize Wheel immediately gets customers’ attention and it is a fun, engaging way to build anticipation.


Spin the wheel and get a reward
Antavo helps companies bring surprise & delight to their loyalty program with a new, configurable Prize Wheel, which experience-driven customers are sure to love.

Prize wheels randomize the reward experience and give the experience a thrilling quality. After spinning the wheel and receiving a reward, customers have to enroll in the loyalty program in order to redeem their rewards, which, in turn, allows you to identify them. For example, Shan and Toad, a luxury kidswear shop, implemented this element in their loyalty program. After clicking on the ‘Play’ button customers are able to win free shipping on purchases, discounts or extra points.


Shan and Toad implemented a Prize Wheel in their loyalty program.
You can include bonus points, coupons, one-time free shipping, exclusive access and more, giving you the possibility to dish out a wide range of rewards.

7. Offline Treasure Hunt – In-Store Search Party

Get customers into your stores with the help of a push notification inviting them to a treasure hunt. In a treasure hunt, customers can search for specified products while discovering parts of the store they may have otherwise overlooked. In-store games also tend to increase time spent at the store location and generate more new and returning customers. Consider putting a QR code on the tags or packaging of your most popular products, so when customers scan it with their phone, they’ll be directed to a landing page where they’ll be offered a reward in exchange for signing up for your loyalty program. Encouraging customers to explore your store increases the likelihood that they’ll encounter something they love. Plus, having them interact with your products directly also reduces the chance of them encountering a competitor’s offer.

Providing a fun experience can contribute to increasing purchases based on emotional connection, rather than simple needs. By using an App Clip, you allow your customers to quickly access and experience what your app has to offer. NFC technology enables people to use their smartphones to interact with store-exclusive loyalty program features and allows you to connect with your customers more easily. 

In-store treasure hunts encourage customers to discover every area of your store.
App Clips can also be used to incentivize customers to visit your store and enter an in-store treasure hunt.

Get Your Head in the Game

The thrill of competition, the excitement of winning and being the best: these characteristics are reasons why adding the right gamification elements to your loyalty program will work wonders to engage customers. Adding gamification to a loyalty program is a smart and exciting way to create a fun, interactive experience for customers. The goal is to encourage customers to interact regularly with the brand and form new habits. 

If you are interested in learning more about what Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform has to offer, don’t hesitate to book a demo & invite us to your RFP.

And don’t forget to download Antavo’s Customer Loyalty Report 2022, an in-depth report that showcases dozens of statistics as well as future industry trends to help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.

A banner recommending to download Antavo’s Global Customer Loyalty Report 2022.

Headshot of Barbara Kekes-Szabo Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo

Barbara Kekes-Szabo

Barbara is a Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo. She is also a writing expert with several years of experience in marketing and also in the information technology industry. In her free time she likes traveling the world, reading crime stories, and doing crossword puzzles.

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