The U.S. gaming industry is worth roughly $51 billion, as more than 155 million Americans play some kind of game regularly, many of them through a console. But who doesn’t like to win something or gain something, whether or not they know they’re offering up data or getting hooked on a brand?
At the same time, many eCommerce companies face the battle of how to keep customers loyal and engaged enough to warrant transactions. Attempts to connect through social media, email marketing or even in-person — there are tried-and-true ways of successfully connecting with consumers and ultimately incentivizing them to purchase.
However, one way to encourage those purchases is through gamification. The market is estimated to be worth nearly $3 billion, growing tenfold over the past three years. No need to contest this: From Starbucks’ rewards program, to OpenTable’s $100 for 1,000-point reservations deals, to the success of Pokémon GO.
Indeed, those two worlds — gaming and eCommerce — can collide and, ironically, jive well.
At least that’s what one company — OfferCraft — has found. Whether it’s focusing on eCommerce and retail or health care, transportation and sports, OfferCraft has found its place in gamifying the consumer experience through custom software and analytics.
“Our business augments the work that payment processers and eMerchants do. Most of those companies make a little bit of money from each transaction; the bigger the transaction or the more transactions, the more money they make,” said Aron Ezra, CEO of OfferCraft. “We encourage more and bigger transactions by making the buying process more enjoyable.”
Las Vegas-headquartered OfferCraft has made it its mission to infuse game elements into day-to-day marketing to craft an experience that enhances the target audience experience and improves the business’ bottom line.
“OfferCraft’s software blends gamification with artificial intelligence to make business transactions more fun (and more profitable),” said Ezra.
The platform allows for actions like interactive coupons and rewards that evolve depending on an individual customer’s preferences and behaviors, to customized rich-media games that enhance the purchasing process — all through deep data insights that enable companies to not only optimize but personalize those experiences as well. In the end, the customer begins to build loyalty with a brand as they’re rewarded for the continued business and interaction.
“We felt that, if we could find a way to tap into people’s inherent desire to be entertained, we could boost sales while making customers happier,” said Ezra. “As with many software businesses, the biggest hurdle was inventing the platform itself. A huge amount of research and money went into building the technology, making sure it worked as intended and was easy to use.”
Of course, being headquartered in “Sin City” or the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” OfferCraft seems to have made its initial foundation in the casino industry. While working with Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, the companies announced a game-like incentivizing platform that brought in more than 800 percent more in revenue over previous campaigns. Washington State’s Northern Quest Resort & Casino paired with OfferCraft to gamify emails and social media, which then allegedly yielded more revenue, as well as 10,000 meals and other rewards for consumers. The Palms Casino earned a 13 percent redemption rate through OfferCraft’s custom software developed for a Chinese New Year event, and nearly half the participants were first-time customers.
But OfferCraft has also worked with both brick-and-mortar and eMerchants in creating specific, custom game-type incentives to drive that connection and those transactions with consumers. Working with auto service company Fabulous Freddy’s, OfferCraft created a game program through its website that awarded customers with car washes, gas and oil changes. It created a program with Grand Bazaar Shops for those perusing to make purchases. Back in April, the business hopped to the Land Down Under to launch a fan incentive program with the Southport Sharks Australian rules football team. And a month earlier, it built a scalable platform to get in on the fun for March Madness this year.
Since founding in 2014, OfferCraft has won top technology awards in the hospitality and gaming industry and had some media highlights.
“Our mission is to make business fun, and that’s a mission a lot of companies can really get behind,” said Ezra. “One of the ways we’ve been able to grow so quickly is by joining with smart partners who bring our software solution to their customers — that benefits both of us.”
The reason these type of platforms may work? Ask a psychologist — or don’t — and they’ll tell you that people want to feel like they’re getting more than what they’re getting. That they’re gaming the system.
Question is: Are they?
Some say, somehow, everybody wins in the end: consumers and businesses.
“We started with a good idea, then we put together a great team to build it and give it life in the marketplace,” said Ezra. “We’ve had our fair share of good fortune. But we’ve also worked our tails off to create something that people really want, and it works. If you create something new that has a significant impact on the bottom line, while making customers and employees happier, it’s a no-brainer.”