Gamification of Commerce

Gamification of Commerce, sometimes referred to as "G-Commerce".


Gamification Q&A

Good discussion thread on this topic :

Gamification of E-Commerce

[1]Zynga makes money by producing simple games that are highly addictive and easy to learn(at least for some). Other companies, like Foursquare, challenge people to earn badges and status by "checking in" at locations or events. Even the Amazon Gold Box appeals to a certain type of user. Flash Sale sites like Hautelook (now owned by Nordstrom) and Gilt attempt to add excitement and fun to shopping in their own ways. Games and friendly competition can be used to inject fun while influencing behavior.

And what could be more fun than an auction? There's competition with other bidders, the need for strategy, and a nice payoff if you win the bid at a discount. An entire industry has grown up around eBay to support this type of retail business. In both the eBay and Flash Sale models, the retailer brings buyers and sellers together for a transaction that benefits all three parties.

But there's a new group of retailers that have combined auctions and gaming (some might even say gambling) into a fun way to shop and possibly go broke. I recently saw a TV commercial for Quibids where they claimed someone got an iPad for $24.74. Yeah, right. But after investigating, I believe it could have happened. And while one lucky person got a great deal, many others wasted a lot of money.

The way these penny auction sites work is that you must pay for each bid you make, typically 60 cents. Items start at one cent and each bid increments by a penny within a preset time limit. Each bid can potentially extend the time limit as well. So using the iPad example, 2474 people submitted bids netting Quibids $1484.60, which is well over 100% markup. The last guy got an iPad for $24.74 and everyone else wasted their money.

To their credit Quibids now offers "Buy It Now" so that the money you spend on bids can be put toward the same item at list price. So if you made 25 bids on the iPad, they credit your account $15 toward the purchase of an iPad at the list price. Its that very feature that makes Quibids look like an e-commerce site with a gaming front end.

Their homepage reminds me of all the slot machines in casino. Its very enticing...and profitable.

See also

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  1. ^ [1] - Oracle Blog by David Dorf(May 12th, 2011)
  1. gCommerce: The Gamification of eCommerce -
  2. MetaGamify: How would you gamify an E-Commerce Website specializing in clothing? -
  3. HOW TO: Make Your eCommerce Site Social With Gamification -
  4. Getting started with gamification for e-Commerce -