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The birth of gamified shopping

The birth of gamified shopping

Digital media is having an impact on shopping missions, mindsets and motivations. Liz Crawford, VP, strategy and insights, Match ShopLab, will be part of a Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo panel that will address this subject. Called “The Impact of Digital Media on the Psychology of Shopping,” the panel will be held Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 8 to 8:45 a.m.

In a preshow interview, Crawford discussed some of the topics that will be explored.

Question: What are some of the ways that digital media has impacted the psychology of shopping?

Liz Crawford
Liz Crawford

First, categories are being shopped in increasingly divergent ways. Years ago, shoppers had to physically visit a store in order to compare and evaluate products, as well as to purchase them.  This held true for everything — from living room furniture to groceries to office supplies. The process was very similar or even the same. 

But today, thanks to digital technology, each category is developing an independent, path-to-purchase trajectory.

Question: What are some examples of this?

Crawford: For example, we order PizzaHut pizza via mobile app. Our usual favorite toppings and drinks are saved, so that we only need to click and wait (or drive). In the case of household appliances, we compare features and prices of models using Sears' excellent online comparison tool.  We might print our consideration set before touching the products in-store.  On the other hand, must-have fashion items can be bought instantly via QR code, directly from the pages of Glamour magazine.

So, even in each of these cases, the shopping journey is significantly divergent.  The context of each of these category purchases is very different, making the psychology of the moment more important to the sale.

Question: What are some other trends?


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Crawford: The interactive nature of digital media has trained people to participate. With a quick click, consumers can explore, communicate, discover or listen. "Clicking" to get a reward, is a form of instant gratification. Studies have shown that clicking through on links and icons releases a bit of dopamine, which explains why we keep surfing, even after we have found what we were looking for.

The impact of clickable gratification is that we want to do it again. We want to do it (keep clicking for rewards) while we are shopping too.  This human drive opens the door to gamified shopping. Even today, shoppers are using apps that are slowly beginning to resemble games.  We'll see this accelerate in the future.

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