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Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Postgraduate Programme in Communications Management Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
Submitted By Siddharth Sriram PGDM (C) 2011 – 2013 Under the guidance of: Prof. Rajneesh Krishna February 2013
Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad Shela, Ahmedabad 380 058, Gujarat, INDIA Phone: + 91 02717 237946 to 51 | Fax: + 91 02717 237945
Despite the promising start, Indian eCommerce has been going through a rough phase in recent times. At the core of this problem is the fact that the new customers who do come to these online stores rarely stay loyal to them. The fact that the online Indian consumers are now used to the deep discounts offered on various websites means that price has become a dominant criteria for them to make purchases. In other words, Indian eCommerce sites are beginning to get commoditized with online shoppers having little or no emotional affinity towards them with very few exceptions. With many sites also offering similar product choices and delivery times, there is very little to choose between them and hence a real need for such sites to better connect with their customers and engage them in more creative ways. This study looks to solve this pressing business problem many ecommerce companies face through intelligent use of gamification, which is defined as the art of using game elements in a non game context. Examples of good gamification delivering great benefits have been seen in various fields ranging from healthcare, workplace motivation to innovation in the past. However, the advantages of its use on eCommerce sites are only beginning to be seen abroad, with little or no current implementation on eCommerce sites in India. Our research starts by exploring the factors involved in making a game more engaging at a primitive level through ethnographic observation of play and games involving children. We then look to find out the impact of gamification and if it is currently being utilized in the most effective manner to tap into user motivations in the different online contexts in India through qualitative in depth interviews. Lastly we use quantitative statistical techniques, to determine the dominant motivations and how the different proposed game mechanics relate to the various online consumer segments based on engagement and buying behaviour. Hence, seeing the immense potential that exists to uncover this knowledge gap prompts us to delve further and explore the use of gamification for better customer engagement in the ecommerce context in India. We only hope that the results of this research are actually useful for future research to solve pressing issues of engagement and loyalty facing the Indian eCommerce industry today.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... 2 Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................................... 5 Chapter 1 ....................................................................................................................................... 6
1.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................................6
Chapter 2 ..................................................................................................................................... 10
2.1 Literature Review ................................................................................................................... 10
2.1.1 What Are Games? ........................................................................................................... 10 2.1.2 Why Are Games So Engaging? ............................................................................................ 11 2.1.3 Gamification For Motivational Design .................................................................................. 12 2.1.4 Using Game Design For Behaviour Change ........................................................................... 14 2.1.5 Dangers Of Inefficient Game Design .................................................................................... 15 2.1.6 Uses Of Gamification In Different Applications ...................................................................... 16
2.2 Knowledge Gap ...................................................................................................................... 20
Chapter 3 ..................................................................................................................................... 21
3.1 Research Objectives And Key Information Areas ................................................................... 21
3.1.1 Objective 1 ................................................................................................................................................. 21 3.1.2 Objective 2 ................................................................................................................................................. 21 3.1.3 Objective 3 ................................................................................................................................................. 21
3.2 Methodology And Research Design ......................................................................................... 22 3.3 Universe And Sampling Design ................................................................................................ 23
3.3.1 Phase One – Ethnographic Research ......................................................................................................... 23 3.3.2 Phase Two – In Depth Interviews............................................................................................................... 23 3.3.3 Phase Three – Quantitative Survey ............................................................................................................ 24
3.4 Expected Outcome And Marketing Implications ...................................................................... 25
Chapter 4 ..................................................................................................................................... 26
4.1 Results and Interpretation ...................................................................................................... 26
4.1.1 Study I - Ethnographic Research ................................................................................................................ 26 4.1.2 Findings From Ethnographic Research ....................................................................................................... 26
4.1.3 Results Of Study I ....................................................................................................................................... 31 4.1.4 Study II – Secondary & Qualitative Research ............................................................................................. 31 4.1.5 Findings From Qualitative Research .......................................................................................................... 38 4.1.4 Results Of Study II ...................................................................................................................................... 50 4.1.5 Study III – Quantitative Research ............................................................................................................... 52 4.1.6 Findings From Quanitative Research ......................................................................................................... 52 4.1.7 Results Of Study III ..................................................................................................................................... 52
Chapter 5 ..................................................................................................................................... 53
5.1 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................ 53
5.1.1 Implications of Research Findings ............................................................................................................. 53 5.1.2 Limitations of the Study ............................................................................................................................. 54 5.1.3 Future Scope of Research .......................................................................................................................... 54
Chapter 6 ..................................................................................................................................... 56
6.1 References ............................................................................................................................. 56
Chapter 7 ..................................................................................................................................... 60
7.1 Appendix .................................................................................................................................... 60 7.1.1 In Depth Interview Guidelines ................................................................................................................... 60
I would firstly like to thank Prof. Rajneesh Krishna for being the guiding force and an inspiration. His constant motivation and unending support helped me deliver results as planned. From the stage of narrowing down to a topic to providing direction for literature review to guiding the group through proposal formation and finally taking us through the process of research and analysis, he has mentored us in his un-inimitable style and pushed towards a learning that will come very useful. I would also like to thank all my friends and respondents for patiently taking the time to respond to my survey and interviews. The list of people to be acknowledged would be incomplete without mentioning the families in Ahmedabad and Chennai and their lovely children who were part of this study. It was truly a pleasure interacting with them. Most importantly, I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me at every point in life so unconditionally with valuable life lessons that have always helped me in times of need. And a heartfelt thanks to Sinduja for being with me at every step and the encouragement that sees me through every obstacle without fail.
Chapter 1 1.1 Introduction
“Life, like all other games, becomes fun when one realizes that it's just a game‖ - Nerijus Stasiulis. The practice of playing games has been an age old one, with a history that runs well into the past. From serious hunting and warfare related games meant only for the elites in ancient kingdoms to leisure games that were played by the common man, civilization has witnessed its use in many different forms. Over the last few decades, we have also witnessed its extensive use in the virtual worlds in the many forms of popular video games. A common reason for the popularity of all these forms of games being the immersive and fun experience that they provide, and the fact that they help mastering specific skills over time. However, with the rapid technological advancements in the world today, we are seeing a major shift in the manner in which games and game elements are also starting to be utilized in different real life contexts, ones that could seldom have been achieved before. This practice is what is commonly referred to today with the term gamification. Though there have been many attempts to formalize the definition of gamification, a widely accepted definition is that gamification is the "use of game design elements in non-game contexts" (Deterding et al, 2011, p.1).This is generally achieved by equating activity in the non game context with points and provide rewards for users reaching a specific goal. The end objective is generally to encourage a desired set of behaviors and engagements in a large community. Gamification as an industry has received noticeable attention worldwide over the past year, where the research firm Gartner estimates that 70% of large companies will incorporate some form of gamification applications as part of their internal or external operations by 2016. Its applications are beginning to be seen in many varied fields ranging from health, education, employee motivation to even encouraging sustainable green living. Even in the context of the internet, we are beginning to see many websites beginning to use game elements to drive loyalty.
However, its use in online commerce is currently limited and needs to be further explored to encourage user loyalty and interactions. We have already witnessed the rapid growth and proliferation of ecommerce in India. The IAMAI 2011 Report estimates that the Indian ecommerce market stood at $10 billion in 2011 and is predicted to grow anywhere between $70 billion to $260 billion by 2024 – 25. This is mainly being driven by the increasing demand for the aspirational and lifestyle products from the growing middle class, growing digital awareness with online transactions and lack of retail infrastructure in semi urban areas. However when it comes to online retail, customer loyalty has been an ongoing concern since its inception. The internet has led to decreasing loyalty among consumers due to price transparency and the ease of switching from one online store to another. The price for retaining customers has risen and so has the price of new customer acquisition in the face of increasing competition. Another problem is the issue of low engagement among Indian shoppers online. Franchise India‘s E Retail Report (2012) observes that low engagement shoppers make upto 40 per cent of the total shoppers while about 35 per cent have medium engagement in online retail. By successful design and application of game mechanics in online ecommerce, it becomes possible to improve their engagement and the current problem of low loyalty. This involves clearly identifying the objectives of the consumer and the types of user behaviors the game design is intended to encourage. A step in the right direction would be to recognize that information identification and recommendations on such websites are being seen as one of the main drivers. In fact, more than two-thirds of users (68%) say being able to identify information on a site is very important (Center for the Digital Future, 2004). Indian users are looking for source identification to support their credibility judgements on sites. This is mainly because the traditional mindset of the Indian shopper of experiencing and purchasing at a brick and mortar store with help of the retailer is being replaced by a situation where they have to buy it solely based on brand reputation and peer recommendations. Ecommerce forums have been fostering the development of people sharing thoughts on products they have bought, or providing advice for individuals interested in purchasing a product or service. However, these forums have yet to reach their full potential of direct integration with e7|Page
commerce platforms and explicitly driving online sales. The successful integration of these features depends on incentivizing users to create and consume product-related content. This shift can effectively be encouraged and enforced through this concept: gamification. This research explores how loyalty has changed in the internet era and how gamification applications in ecommerce can induce e-loyalty amongst consumers. Proposed below are new game mechanics that have worked well in online forums but whose effectiveness needs to be tested in the ecommerce space. 1. Points In this proposed platform, users could have access to a curated list of reviews and recommendations made by other members of the community for each product. Points will be rewarded for a variety of activities on the platform such as: creating product reviews, answering real-time questions raised by other consumers, aiding with transactions made by other users, identifying the most truthful reviews for a product and ultimately making purchases on the platform. Over time, based on the user‘s engagement and activity on the website, he or she will reach varying levels of expertise in a specific or variety of topics. For example, a user that routinely participates in reviews and discussions of mobile devices could be categorized as a ―mobile guru‖ and another user that contributes to a large number of product reviews could ultimately reach the level of ―advanced reviewer.‖ From a consumer‘s perspective, these titles will help identify and seek relevant experts for each of their potential product purchases. This user categorization is specifically critical to platforms such as Flipkart or Jabong that offer a wide range of goods. The following gamification elements are particularly recommended to maximize engagement and other desired user activities on an online retailer‘s website: ranks, badges or virtual points, and public statuses. The no. of followers model used on Zomato to rate reviewers can also be considered.
2. Leaderboards - Over the course of a user‘s lifetime on the website, they can accumulate various numbers of points by participating in activities such as leaving product reviews, answering questions to other users, facilitating good transactions and being an active member of the community. Each activity corresponds to a certain amount of points.
These points will build the foundation for a ranking formula that tracks all users‘ activities and as such places them on various levels of expertise against one another. Leaderboards could be category specific or general to reflect the overall activity of users on the website. Leaderboards will serve two purposes: giving new users quick access to topic-specific experts, as well as publicly rewarding experts for their contributions on the website. Further, it will create an incentive for non-leaders to aim for spots on the leaderboards. Samsung is an early adopter of gamification for increasing online customer loyalty and has effectively used ranks and leaderboards as part of its Samsung Nation initiative. 3. Badges - Another form of rewarding users for engaging on the platform would be through badges that reflect various achievements and milestones of activities. The notion of badges was proven to be very successful with Foursquare in increasing the number of ―check-ins‖ at varying locations. Similar to Foursquare, a member of the e-commerce community could receive a badge for making his or her first purchase on the website or for receiving endorsements from 10 other users on the platform. Ultimately these badges could be turned into targeted discounts and promotions, invitations to exclusive online events, or even monetary prizes to show gratitude to the most contributing members of the community. 4. Public Titles and Statuses - Publicly announced titles and statuses are another way of humanizing the community. If their activity on the platform also suggest that they are in fact experts in this field then in addition to their title the platform will add a descriptive measure of their expertise such as ―Advanced.‖ These public statuses will help members of the community identify others with similar interests, identify those with a complementary set of expertise and, ultimately, facilitate more profound interactions and discussions. For example Viafoura, an audience engagement platform for digital publishers, uses titles such as ―Investigator‖ or ―Contributor‖ to distinguish between varying levels and types of user activity on a news publisher‘s website.
2.1 Literature Review
A common definition of gamification is ―the application of game elements in non game contexts‖ (Deterding, 2011) .At the heart of gamification is the objective of getting the desired behavioral response by appealing to the player‘s motivations. A repeatedly used approach is to use the scoring elements used in video games and use them in a different context. But before delving further, it will be useful to understand the different elements that go into making up a game.
2.1.1 What are Games?
A formal broad definition applicable to all forms of games proposed by Zimmermann & Salen, 2003 says that “A game is a system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, which result in a quantifiable outcome.”
However, what this definition lacks is the notion of a feedback system. The feedback system can take the form of points, levels, progress bars and serves to quantify the progress made by the user, how close/far the user is from the goal and provides motivation to keep on playing.
In addition to this is the concept of voluntary participation. Be it indoor games such as monopoly, social games, alternate reality games to the most popular sports played today, voluntary participation requires that each one plays the game willingly, accepting the rules and goals of the system with the freedom to enter and leave the game whenever desired. This ensures that the artificially created challenging environment is not found threatening and can be experienced as a playful, safe and enjoyable activity.
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All these characteristics of the definition of a game are important and are modelled by Dignan in the figure below (Dignan, 2011):
A definition of a game (Dignan, 2011)
2.1.2 Why are Games so Engaging?
Before we delve further, it is important to explore what is it about games that is so engaging and why it seems to be the answer to engagement and motivation issues according to us. An important research conducted by McGonigal to explore how playing games leads to human happiness has answers to this question. According to McGonigal (2011) studies have actually shown that ―people are at their happiest when doing hard work at the borders of their skill level‖. Only when people are continuously challenged according to their skill levels and continuously receive feedback on their work will they have a sustained engagement, otherwise they will end up getting bored. This is also explained well by a central model for the appeal for video games – the concept of flow. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, people feel best when they are neither under challenged nor over challenged but at the right level of skills. And as people learn with time and repetition, challenges have to increase to keep up with growing skills.
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The research goes on to say that most of the traditionally considered relaxing activities such as watching TV, are actually mildly depressing. She argues that this is because such environments often fail to continuously challenge people at the right level in a structured way without giving them frequent feedback. In short, it goes on to proclaim that ―The Opposite of Work is not Play, it is Depression‖.
Empirical studies also show how the responses that games elicit are very similar to real life emotions, if not the same. Even if the reward might be growing more crops in Farm Ville, the reward though purely fictitious elicits an emotional state that happens to be no different from a real life scenario. To summarize there are multiple dimensions to games that cater to different needs of the players and have been segregated as follows -
2.1.3 Gamification for Motivational Design
At the core of the gamification system is tapping into the right set of motivational factors that drive users. Since the motivators vary for different people, game systems needs to be customized accordingly. Broadly speaking, motivators can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic motivators.
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Extrinsic motivators are driven by external rewards such as curiosity or the desire for power and status ie they tend to employ a more carrot and stick principle. Intrinsic motivators are driven by the inherent joy of doing the task itself instead of using any external reward mechanisms. Such motivators according to the self deterministic theory include autonomy, mastery, relatedness to the community. Reiss’ Sixteen Motivators (2001) An important element of gamification involves identifying what are the biggest underlying motivators for the users for whom the system is designed. Despite the many theories in the field, few are based on actual scientific research. One of them was Steven Reiss who in his book ―Who am I‖ comes up with 16 categories of motivators which are collected in a statistical manner using which he tries to explain human behaviour. Among the 16 we found only 11 categories to be relevant to the thesis as the rest were found to be related to basic physical needs such as consuming food which is outside our scope here. The 11 categories are presented below with a brief description of their desire profile and segregated into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators accordingly:
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The dominant motivators among this list would be different for the various profile segments, hence research would be necessary to figure out the most important motivators for online shoppers in India and the right game elements that will elicit those.
2.1.4 Using Game Design for Behaviour Change
Dr. BJ Fogg of Stanford University developed a behavioural model which described three elements Motivation, Ability and Trigger that are necessary for behavioural change to occur. In essence, the greater the user motivation, more the probability of hard to do abilities being performed. Similarly if the motivation for the user is very low, the ability demanded to perform the task must be also very low ie easy to do. (Fogg, BJ, 2012) Even when both motivation and ability are sufficiently high to reach the threshold, a trigger becomes necessary to be able to change the user behaviour. The model is intended to help designers identify what stops people from performing the intended behaviour.
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Game elements go a long way in incorporating this model to change user behavior in the following manner 1. Game dynamics use positive feedbacks in the form of points, scores, progress, social status etc which help in improving user motivation. 2. Through training and master of skills, they increase the perceived ability of users by making difficult jobs simpler and more manageable. 3. Game dynamics place triggers in the path of motivated users at the optimal level of user
ability to trigger a behavioral change.
2.1.5 Dangers of Inefficient Game Design
Despite the popularity in the use of gamified applications, there have been plenty of instance of bad game designs that are only extrinsically focused through points, badges and rewards. One significant problem is that it can reduce the internal motivation that the user has for the activity, as it replaces the internal motivation with external motivation. If, however, the game design elements can be made meaningful to the user through information, then internal motivation can be improved as there is less need to emphasize external rewards. This is commonly referred to as user centric or meaningful gamification.
Nicholson, S, in his paper introduces the concept of meaningful gamification through a usercentered exploration of theories behind organismic integration theory, situational relevance, situated motivational affordance, universal design for learning, and player-generated content. (2012) The term "pointsification" has been suggested as a label for gamification systems that add nothing more than a scoring system to a non-game activity (Robertson, 2010). Ian Bogost suggests the term be changed to "exploitationware," as that is a better description of what is really going on (2011).
In short, meaningful gamification should focus on introducing elements of play instead of elements of scoring. The same activities will not be meaningful to all users, so designers need to provide a variety of game-based activities to appeal to different users or a customizable gamification system where users can create their own activities. The resulting user-centered
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meaningful gamification will result in longer-term and deeper engagement between participants, non-game activities, and supporting organizations.
2.1.6 Uses of Gamification in Different Applications
1. Personal Finance – Mint.com is a personal finance management site in the US that helps users set specific financial goals for themselves, be it buying a car or getting out of debt. By linking to their bank accounts, keeping real time track of expenses, Mint.com helps users achieve their goals by giving them detailed steps on how and where to save/make more money. Its success is vouched for by the 10 million plus users since its inception in 2006. Deterding, S. (2011a)
2. Fitness – Nike+ helped runners keep track of their fitness with the help of a self tracker which would store and depict data such as, distance and speed achieved by the runner. By adding scores, challenges, trophies, competitions and social interactions to what would otherwise be just a running self-tracker, it is one of the first successful applications for gameifying fitness.
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3. Community Interaction - One of the most successful online marketing campaigns in India which used elements of gamification was the Sunsilk Gang of Girls campaign, started with an aim of promoting the Miss India pageant in 2002. Two distinctly popular features were the Makeover Machine that allowed users to experiment with a virtual makeover using different hair and dressing styles from head to toe and Gang Wars where girl gangs had to collectively compete with each other through blog entries to win prizes. It today stands as the largest online girl community in India with more than 7.7 lakh registrations till date, which stands testimony to its success. (BcbWebWise Case Study, 2012) 4. Workplace Innovation – The UK Dept of Works & Pension created the Ideastreet, essentially seen as a trading platform for ideas. Employees put forward ideas which have a inherent stock listed price associated with them. Other employees have the option of buying or selling these stocks so that a few of the ideas have a much higher market cap than the others. This has proved to be a well performing solution, with the no. of new ideas being implemented increasing by the tune of 54%. (Burke, B. and Mesaglio, M. , 2010)
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5. Customer Loyalty - Foursquare is often seen as the pioneer of gamification by creating a purely badge-and-point driven ecosystem where users ―check-in‖ to local stores and connect with friends and peers to receive new points and go up on Foursquare‘s leaderboard. In addition, members can receive location-based promotions or activitybased offers while logged-in to Foursquare.
This combination of this game-fueled ecosystem with the potential of non-virtual offers has made Foursquare a dominating player in the location-based, mobile social market. Closer home, Jet Airways has partnered with popular online forum TripAdvisor where for the specified time periods in the annual offer, anyone who has written 10 or more Hotel Reviews becomes eligible to enter the sweepstakes wherein 5 winners and earn 5000 Jet Air Miles. This was done to incentivize reviewers to increase the number of trip reviews that will benefit the community. The above examples seek to demonstrate how gamification elements be used in many different non-game contexts. What game elements and design need to be incorporated depends on the following factors The business objective that needs to be achieved (For example, more referrals from users) Delineating Target Behaviors - The desired intended behavior change desired Understanding the Users – This is to figure out what sorts of game elements and other structures are likely to be effective for this population. For example, figuring whether a more competitive or cooperative system would be better for this player community. Motivation and Feedback Loops – To describe the kinds of feedback the system will offer the players to encourage further action, and explain how this feedback will work to motivate the players Hence, when it comes to customer loyalty, contrary to the traditional offline approach there is a great degree of uncertainty and excitement involved in the gamified loyalty models online. Users can unexpectedly receive badges that reward certain behaviour or instantly get social recognition. The combination of increased levels of excitement and public recognition makes the gamified loyalty model a much stronger platform for engaging users and shifting behaviours online.
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A report on the drivers and barriers for online shopping in India, Charu (2009) details some of the biggest barriers to be due to a lack of assistance from sales personnel, lack of proper guidance and an inability to create same social environment online as in brick and mortar models. Lack of ownership of cards and difficulty in trusting with online payments was another major factor at the time. However, with the introduction of the Cash on Delivery option over the past year, this concern has subsided drastically. Hence we could conclude that most of the barriers here are related to a lack of assistance or a social setting in online ecommerce. One manner in which this can be overcome is by improving user generated data online for product reviews. Most current websites, especially the online apparel stores have a very low proportion of reviews for every product as most of the merchandize is not standardized. There is a real need for users, especially the frequent buyers to review and recommend their purchases to others much more frequently. Through game design such user behaviour can be encouraged through use of rewards and incentives and making it more fun.
An example of such a service provider in the US is PowerReviews that has helped many e retailers such as Teleflora and Step2 by rewarding actions of users for every product review or social sharing action that resulted in a 102% increase in referral traffic from Facebook, 92% increase in conversion and 10x increase in pictures and videos uploaded. All this was achieved by social amplification of peer recommendation actions.
Despite there being no e commerce site in India that uses such loyalty programs online, it has been successfully employed for food review sites such as Zomato where reviewers are followed in a ‗twitter like‘ manner based on the quality and frequency of such reviews. The desire for top users to be known as influencers/food critics (another form of gamification) is what seems to propel them towards a more frequent act of reviewing on the site.
As such, it remains interesting to be seen if such game designs would do well on ecommerce sites in the Indian context. Our research here will explore the fact to figure the most effective game elements (points, badges, leaderboards, followers etc) in this context. What is clear at this stage is that to improve upon customer engagement, the follow to explicitly encourage the following set of behaviours 19 | P a g e
Improve the number of product reviews written by customers post purchase. Improve number of new users by referring one‘s friends on to the site Improve consideration set for apparel products Improving time spent browsing on the site
2.2 Knowledge Gap
Despite the many applications of gamification in varied fields today, its use in the ecommerce field has not yet been extensively identified and studied despite the many possibilities. When it comes to online shopping satisfaction, there has been only sufficient in depth study one study by Khalifa, M. and Liu, V. (2012) that details the different contingent effects of online shopping habit and online shopping experience from a customer retention perspective. However, the study only offers guidelines on customer profiling and prioritisation of customer retention programs for online retailers but fails to detail how it can be achieved. We know that game design techniques, when applied well, are known to result in effective and sustainable behaviour change.
There is also a business problem with many ecommerce companies in India is currently facing problems regarding customer participation which could be resolved using intelligent use of gamification. Hence, seeing the potential that exists to uncover this knowledge gap prompts us to delve further and explore the use of gamification for better customer engagement in the ecommerce context in India.
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3.1 Research Objectives and Key Information Areas
3.1.1 OBJECTIVE 1 To explore the factors involved in making a game more engaging at a primitive level Key Information Areas The dominant motivational factors involved in game play during the early stages of a child‘s life The role of play and games in the developmental sequencing of a child and therefore a human being. Also to explore why is it so engaging?
3.1.2 OBJECTIVE 2 To find out the impact of gamification and if it currently being utilized in the most effective manner to tap into user motivations in the different online contexts in India. Key Information Areas How the different ecommerce and peer review based Indian websites today are able to employ gamification successfully? How does it compare to the sites abroad? Understanding the underlying motivations of the different segments of online users in India among active shoppers, passive buyers and non buyers, based on their shopping and reviewing behaviour.
3.1.3 OBJECTIVE 3 To determine the different motivations and how the different proposed game mechanics relate to the various online consumer segments based on engagement and buying behaviour, namely – Active Buyers – Most loyal online purchasers and regularly contribute to product reviews.
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Passive Buyers – Consumers who buy online but relatively infrequently and seldom contribute to product reviews Passive Non Buyers – Consumers who only research online product reviews and other details and purchase offline
Key Information Areas What‘s the difference in the online purchasing habits with respect to purchase frequency and product information search? What game designs are found most appealing to the different customer segments and are found to be effective to improve customer loyalty and engagement? Is there a better affinity from the online buyer to the brand due to the designed incentives?
3.2 Methodology and Research Design
PHASE 1: ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH The ethnographic research will be conducted to understand The dominant motivational factors involved in game play during a child‘s life The role of play and games in the developmental sequencing of a child and therefore a human being.
PHASE 2: QUALITATIVE IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS Based on the findings and insights from the secondary research, a list of game mechanics to be probed in-depth will be created. All the areas that emerge as important for the topic of research will be encompassed into a guideline for qualitative research. The different incentives and reward mechanisms work best on ecommerce sites will be explored and compared with websites employing the same abroad.
The effectiveness of the different game mechanics such as points, leaderboards on review forums, narratives etc. will be reviewed through in depth discussions with the respondents.
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Tools to be used: In -depth Interviews
PHASE 3: QUANTITATIVE SURVEYS In the quantitative research the findings of the qualitative research will be validated using a questionnaire to determine how the different proposed game mechanics relate to the different online consumer segments.
The data from the questionnaire will also be used to validate these effects of game mechanics on customer engagement and purchase intent expressed in terms of the underlying motivators.
3.3 Universe and Sampling Design
3.3.1 PHASE ONE – ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH Target Population Groups of children in the age range between 5 to 10 years Urban Areas
At least two such play groups will need to be studied to understand the fundamental elements that go into making play and games.
3.3.2 PHASE TWO – IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS
Group Male (Urban Areas) SEC A1, A2 Young (18 – 24 years) - 2 Mature ( 24 – 30 years) - 2 Female (Urban Areas) Young (18 – 24 years) - 2 Mature ( 24 – 30 years) - 2 SEC B1, B2 Young (18 – 24 years) - 2 Mature ( 24 – 30 years) – 2 Young (18 – 24 years) - 2 Mature ( 24 – 30 years) – 2
Total Number of Respondents In-depth interviews: Minimum of 16
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3.3.3 PHASE THREE – QUANTITATIVE SURVEY
Respondents of the survey will belong to the 16 – 32 year old age bracket in urban areas who will either be customers who had previously shopped from various internet stores or just browsed through these ecommerce sites for research but seldom/never purchased a product. Sampling will be based on convenience sampling and participation will be entirely voluntary. Target Population Males and females aged between 16-32 years Belonging to SEC A1, A2 and B1, B2 Internet Literates Urban Areas
Total Number of Respondents According to the design of the methodology, the total number of respondents will need to be around 200 and the method of data collection will be through online surveys. The following table shows a snapshot of all the three phases Information Area Research Tool Universe and Sampling Design
Understand the elements that go into making an efficient game structure To find out gamification‘s impact and its current use to tap into user motivations in the different online contexts in India. How do the different game mechanics appeal to the different online consumer segments based on engagement and buying behaviour Qualitative: Ethnographic Children between age of 5 and 10 years, urban playful setting Males and females aged between 18-30 years SEC A1, A2 and B1, B2 Internet Literates Urban Areas Males and females aged between 18-30 years SEC A1, A2 and B1, B2 Internet Literates Urban Areas Minimum two play groups of children Qualitative: to arrive at a list different elements and the structure of a game To understand how different online behaviours are influenced by incentives
Type of Analysis
Qualitative: In depth Interviews
16 In Depth Interviews
Minimum 200 respondents
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3.4 Expected Outcome and Marketing Implications
The onset of the internet has brought ample opportunities as well as significant challenges for ecommerce players in India. Lack of trust and information overload are some of the main inhibitors to creating customer e-loyalty. The impact of online communities in facilitating or preventing transactions are ever more powerful today, but are often over-looked by leaders of online businesses. The research will be able to predict if such game mechanics can be used by Indian online retailers to instill a sense of loyalty amongst its customers. The system as described proposes the different elements of gamification to drive repurchase behavior or loyalty among Indian online shoppers which needs to be validated by research. If proven, the competitive and community aspects of the game-driven model will help institute attitudinal loyalty when users participate in discussions, read and write reviews, and witness their public rankings improve. The effort involved in building and maintaining an online presence in such e- commerce platforms limits the users‘ activity and interest to a few online retailers and, therefore, creates windows of opportunities for creating behavioral loyalty. Lastly, the opportunity to collect redeemable badges, points, and non-virtual prizes could attract the incentive-driven customer types.
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4.1 Results and Interpretation
4.1.1 STUDY 1 - ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH As mentioned above, the ethnographic research was to be conducted to understand The dominant motivational factors involved in game play during the early stages of a child‘s life The role of play and games in the developmental sequencing of a child and therefore a human being --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.2 FINDINGS FROM ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Before we delve further into the findings here, it is important to make a distinction between the concept of play and games. Play refers to an unstructured process with a set of no rules and no end states (win or loss), which gives the player a feeling of intense involvement with no ulterior objective in mind. An example would be that of a young boy trying to walk on a slide in the opposite direction, ie from the bottom to the top, in a very involved manner. Games on the other hand, as already described before, are defined by a set of rules, require voluntary participation and result in a specific quantifiable outcome. Making this distinction between games and play is important mainly in the context of explaining the results and observations from this ethnographic research. Age groups that were researched were: 3-6 years 7-12 years
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The initial part of our research involved observing the behaviour of 3 to 6 year old children in a playful setting. Two such groups were considered, both hailing from SEC A families and in both the scenarios we found that each child was more involved in a highly individualized set of activities ie, playing with the sand, using the slide, pushing the swing etc. Listed below are a few possible explanations of the different motivational factors involved in game play and its role in child development from some of our observations. The younger the child, the more individualistic his/her actions which are driven out of their curiosity and the need to explore. This can be inferred by the fact that these children were involved in activities such as observing and playing with an object for very long, exploring the different ways in which it can be used (throwing a ball, sitting on it, digging it within the ground, rolling it on the slide etc) and talking to themselves from time to time.
Though children of both genders were largely similar in their playing behaviour, one fundamental difference was observed. Young boys were generally found trying out more dangerous activities such as climbing a slide in the opposite direction or trying to stand on a swing despite being reprimanded by their parents. Younger girls on the other hand, were found to be much more obedient to the elders and indulged in more conventional, safer activities ie in using things in the way they are supposed to be used.
This difference can be explained in evolutionary terms where the boys are more inclined to test their skills and expand their boundaries of strength during their play which becomes an important learning for them to survive and thrive. Girls on the other hand, are relatively more socially aware and mature in nature, in that they are able to distinguish between which actions are acceptable and the ones that are found unacceptable by parents.
There is a healthy level of imagination and role play that the children exhibit through their activities which opens them to creativity and imagination and helps develop their mental faculties. They experience the sense of power (autonomy) that comes from being
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in control and figuring things out on their own (something children often do not get to do in real life)Ultimately, it can be said that children choose to play because it is inherently enjoyable for them and satisfies their need to be active and to explore.
The second part of this ethnographic research involved observing the behaviour of groups of 7 to 12 year old boys in a play setting . Two such groups were considered, again hailing from upper class localities. Listed below are a few of our observations from these groups and their explanation. The older the boys, the more they tend towards playing in a group where interaction with others became a basic necessity. Games, and not play, now become the dominant mode of interaction ie, a basic set of rules is agreed upon by the players and the win states identified. In the game stage, organization begins and definite personalities start to emerge. Children begin to become able to function in organized groups and most importantly, to determine what they will do within a specific group.
One of the traits that was dominant in these children was the function of imagination or role playing. This refers to the ability of adding meaning to the situation when the kids imagine themselves to be in the shoes of their favorite player, playing for the country etc. This allowed themselves to further improve their engagement and their faculties of creativity and imagination.
It can be said that one of the most important leanings of being part of games in a group setting is that it allows children to develop the knowledge they need to socially connect with their peers in a meaningful way. It is the time when they truly learn to balance their individual goals with those of the group, learn to cooperate with others, resolve confusing social and emotional issues, dealing with challenge, failure etc. All of these are traits whose development becomes necessary for humans to exist grown and thrive in society.
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Theoretical Framework - These observations can also be supported by George Herbert Mead’s concept of the ‗Individual Self‘ and the ‗Generalized Other‘. Mead‘s primary approach focussed on the idea that one's self is purely a product of social interaction with others. Mead focussed on four major components of social co-operation: Self: Mead believed that the concept of self doesn‘t exist at birth. It must be developed with constant social exchanges with others. According to Mead, the family is the first point of social contact to the child and treats it as an individual, while also responding to his/her individual needs. This gives rise to the concept of the ‗Self‘ which according to Mead only develops with constant social exchange with one‘s own family. Social experience is the product of social exchanges and the ability to be reflexive Cooley‘s Looking glass self: Mead stated that in order to fully understand one‘s intentions, we must take the role of the other. The anticipation of how another human being will react can be done by imagining yourself in another person‘s shoes. Two part self: Mead then split the concept of self into 2 parts, the ‗I‘ and the ‗Me‘. The ‗I part‘ is to describe the self, the part by which we initiate social action. The ‗me part‘ describes the ―Self that we imagine others see us as.‖ The concept of ‗Me‘ or of the ‗Generalized Other‘ is the general notion that a person has of the common expectations of others about their actions and thoughts within a particular society, and thus serves to form a relation to the other as a representative of a shared social system. He saw organized games as vital for the formation of a mature sense of self, which can only be achieved by learning to respond to, and take on board, the others' attitudes toward the (changing) common undertakings they are involved in: i.e. the generalized other. GH Meads’ analysis outlined four stages of development based on the four components described above. These stages are very significant to establish the sequence in which reference groups enter a child‘s life and their relative importance. The four stages are as follows:
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1. Preparatory stage (0-3 years): This is the stage where the concept of ‗I‘ begins to develop and ‗me‘ in the background. The concept of self is only half developed. Infants are only able to engage in imitation of other‘s behaviour without understanding meaning and intentions of these actions. They learn by repeating others‘ sentences. There is no scope for role taking or understanding other‘s perspectives. 2. Play stage (3-5) years: Children begin to identify with and model themselves on primary care givers or significant others i.e. parents. The concept of ‗me‘ begins to set in as approval of others becomes important at this stage. This stage therefore marks the beginning of Cooley‘s ‗looking glass self‘ theory. They begin to pick up language and other symbols. In fact, children actually pick up language faster than adults in most cases. Singular play in a situation is what they learn in this stage. It is at this stage that, as we‘ve observed through ethnographic research, that the child starts to learn more about itself and the world through the acts of curiosity, role play, creativity and imagination. The actions are therefore more individualistic the faculties for interaction with others have not been fully developed yet. 3. Game stage (6-8 years): By the time children are 6, they enter the ‗game stage‘ where the simultaneous playing of many roles is possible. The children are able to process and accept roles of several other people at once; a distinct shift from the singular play situation when they were younger. Mead called this evolution engaging in games. Through our research we found that this stage is of prime importance because the child now starts to learn how to interact with others and accept the rules and norms of society. This is the first time the child goes on to take on the identity of its peers and therefore of the particular group. It becomes an important training ground for the child to explore
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relatively more complex but important activities such as working with others, becoming aware of the rules and of one‘s own role in society. 4. Final stage It is marked by the development of a generalized other which includes both, the generic cultural norms and values shared by us and the set of other people that we use as a point of reference in evaluating ourselves --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.3 RESULTS OF STUDY I --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thus from an evolutionary perspective, we are able to see the role of game play in the development sequencing and the different motivational factors involved during the early stages of a human‘s life. These observational insights would be helpful for us to reason out the different motivational factors that play out during the course of our lifetime and classify them into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and why they occur. Based on the findings and their analysis done above, the discussion guide for the next phase, i.e qualitative research, was developed.
4.1.4 STUDY II – SECONDARY & QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Secondary Research – Since the objective of the qualitative research is to find out the possible impact of gamification and its current use in the different online contexts in India, it is necessary to explore the different ways in which it is currently being employed using secondary research. This would involve exploring and comparing between different game mechanics used on Indian and international websites and how useful they‘ve been tapping in user motivations in different ways. The purpose of this would be to serve as a framework to create the guideline for the in depth interviews ie seeing whether the different types of gamification mechanics are currently having any desired impact and if yes, how.
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We start here by reviewing and comparing the use of game mechanics in Indian sites to international ones with examples to show wherever possible. Points and Badges – Though none of the Indian ecommerce sites employ this currently, one of the most used and abused features when it comes to employing gamification on websites is the use of points and badges. This usually involves giving users appropriate points for performing different forms of activities on the site such as reviewing, commenting, sharing, purchasing. However, a large part of whether these points are serving their purpose by engaging users is by determining how meaningful the users find these points and badges to be.
An example of a badly implemented such mechanic is shown below on the Economic Times website. The use of excessive number of badges on this site is definitely a problem as might end up confusing the user. For example what is the difference between a Biz Influencer and Biz Pundit is not immediately apparent, nor is likely to be. Secondly, there seem to be too many rules and action sets here which might start to overwhelm the user. In all likelihood, he will have to come back to this page repeatedly to check the rule, which if a fundamental flaw. But more importantly, the bigger problem is that there is no inherently strong community present on the site and hence almost all these badges mean almost nothing to users, with very little interest to offer. What this means is that the badges, Inboxer or Share Czar for example when compared to say Power Networker, are neither interesting nor aspirational themselves and might hardly mean anything to the regular audience of the website that is generally interested in business related topics.
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Stack Overflow, a question and answer website for programmers, has on the other hand used this points and badges mechanic extremely well. Each badge is categorized as gold, silver or bronze, with gold badges being the most difficult. Stack Overflow has put a number of rules in place to ensure people are not abusing the system, which is run by the users and based entirely on trust (similar to Wikipedia). It consists of a well knit community of programmers which sets the context of these badges really well. Thus, most programmers here are able to identify well with these badges, a fact that is reinforced by the high numbers of users who have signed up for it. Most importantly, everyone in the community acknowledges what these badges mean which is a powerful motivator.
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When it comes to ecommerce, Teleflora – an international florist store and Step2, a US based toy manufacturer were able to improve their users referrals on Facebook and review user submissions by offering points for these actions and redeeming them for discounts. None of the Indian ecommerce sites today have such implemented feature to the best of our knowledge. Leaderboards – An example of a good implementation of this would be popular food review site Zomato‘s homepage by featuring the top reviewers from every city. Coupled with the fact that the site is extremely popular with a huge audience, this acts a strong motivator for people.
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One of the important aspects of implementing a good game mechanic is to reward the right set of actions that users find just about challenging. This is especially true whenever a leader board is implemented because it taps into the competitive and status driven motivations of people. Zomato smartly decided to reward not just based on the number of reviews but also the number of followers to guard against excess number of redundant submissions and maintain good quality reviews.
While such a concept is yet to be implemented on Indian eCommerce sites, popular UK based online store Shopcade.com was able to use this mechanic very successfully
User Profile Personalization – An important aspect of gaming used is the element of customization and personalization for them to feel more involved. This concept can be implemented in many ways on a website. At a basic level, every user on a site must be able to maintain his/her own personal profile. While most Indian ecommerce sites allow this, it still is to
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a large extent depersonalized due to incomplete information present. For example, Flipkart doesn‘t allow photos to be uploaded as part of your profile nor does it have an About Me section. On the other hand, Shopcade.com allows this level of detailing as shown above. Another way of customization is to maintain one‘s own wishlist or virtual store that acts as an extension of one‘s own personality. Along with Shopcade, Fantasyshopper.com, an international online apparel store allows this to be done in a very easy manner. Social Contact – The desire for social contact from friends is a powerful game mechanic that can be put to good use on websites. Tripadvisor, an immensely popular travel review site uses this to good effect by helping one stay updated about his/her Facebook Friends‘ activities on the site.
When it comes to ecommerce sites, this can open a plethora of new ways for them to influence users by updating them about their friends reviews and recent purchases from the website. It opens up collective gifting options among friends which is a common occurrence among college students in real life.
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Rewarding Mechanisms – One of the first things that a user would look for when these features are implemented is whether it serves any purpose to them ie what would they get in return for what they are supposed to do. As mentioned before rewarding mechanisms can be classified as intrinsic and extrinsic reward mechanisms. Extrinsic rewards such as monetary rewards, greater number of followers, leading a scoreboard tap into the needs of collecting money, power and status respectively. However, if not carefully implemented users might end up feeling manipulated. All of the above mentioned mechanics are forms of extrinsic rewards with ecommerce sites mainly implementing monetary discounts as the final reward. Intrinsic rewards are not driven by any external purpose but driven by the internal needs for satisfying curiosity, fun, autonomy, helping others in a community etc. One of the best examples of such an implementation is on a popular Q&A forum called Quora. Quora taps into the need for helping others by maintaining a powerful community base where the users have the power to ask and to vote the best answer to any question. This gives them the rewarding feeling that they are responsible for the site‘s functioning ie helping others and take ownership for it. Among ecommerce sites, as an example of Intrinsic motivation, Fantasy Shopper allows users to spend fantasy money on virtual representations of fashion items, then share those items – or even whole wardrobes of outfits – with their friends. In other words, players find very the act of discovering and sharing the latest fashion with others to be a very engaging and rewarding experience and hence do not need any monetary (or extrinsic) rewards in return. In this manner, the different rewarding mechanisms can be put to use and the most effective ones are those that resonate well with the contextual audience and tap into their basic motivations. The following qualitative guideline was developed by taking these various game mechanics into account and testing whether an Indian audience might find them useful in an online shopping context.
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.5 FINDINGS FROM QUALITATIVE RESEARCH --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Based on the trend and findings followed from our ethnography and secondary research, a list of factors to be probed in-depth will be created. All the areas that emerge as important for the topic of research will be encompassed into a guideline for qualitative research.
The purpose of creating and using in-depth interviews was to populate the factors that come up as motivational for the using specific features across different websites and also to figure out in what different ways can there be an impact of these discussed game mechanics in the Indian eCommerce context.
The questions posed to online users solved the purpose of getting to know what keeps them to visit the sites that they do and the factors motivate them to do so. Further, it was required of them to help discover things that they did not find satisfactory and would like changed in the existing websites to make it more engaging, useful and interactive.
The same was presented in the context of the use of eCommerce in India and how the site features on the current websites impacted their purchase decisions and their engagement with the site. The different listed game mechanics on other websites were now presented to them to see whether they saw these attributes as desirable and if yes, in what way it might be helpful.
Enlisted below are questions that made up the discussion guide.
Understanding Current Online Behaviour Which of these site categories are they most engaged in terms of their involvement and activity? Elicit reasons for the same News and Media Social and/or Online Gaming Video Consumption
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Social Networking Sites Ecommerce Community Review Sites (Quora, Zomato, Tripadvisor, Mouthshut, Burrp or any other similar peer review site)
Amongst the above listed categories, with an exclusive focus on community review sites and/or gaming websites, what do they consider as the essential elements that were responsible for their heightened involvement?
How much of what they consume online are people willing to share with others and the motivations behind them. Why?
Online Shopping and Reviewing Habits 1. When talking about online shopping what is it that generally comes to their mind? Do they feel more comfortable with it when compared to traditional brick and mortar shopping? Reason out why or why not 2. Their attitudes & beliefs pertaining to online shopping as a whole 3. Tell them to imagine that they had to build an ecommerce site from scratch. How would the look and feel be? 4. What are the categories they prefer to browse or purchase online and why? 5. Detail out the decision making process while they‘re purchasing any time online. Probe: Look for motivating factors, role of influencers, price etc. 6. Role of reviews in their online purchase. Is there any motivation on their part for them to review more often on these sites. Why or Why not? 7. Role of socializing with friends during their shopping and while they make their decisions Effect of Game Mechanics on Online Behaviour 1. Reason out if they‘ve observed other websites using points, badges, leaderboards, follower concepts etc. and their feelings about each of these. 2. Role of social contact, personalization and customization in online experience outside social networking sites 3. Figure out underlying motivations behind why some prefer one type of game mechanics over the other
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Using Game Mechanics in eCommerce Sites 1. If these elements are incorporated in the different ecommerce sites, would it result in an increase in their activity, would they find it unnecessary and/or manipulative? Reason out why or why not 2. What is the biggest motivation for them to visit only one type of ecommerce site and not the others? 3. Are there any particular website features that they remember which actually heightened their urge to contribute something and/or make a purchase? 4. Test each of the following hypothetical incentives for improving participation (reviewing, sharing on social networks, making a purchase) to gauge how it is perceived by the interviewee. At each stage, apart from the possibility of observing tangible outcomes (reviews, sharing, purchase), the intangibles such as purchase intent, satisfaction, loyalty etc Competition Definite Monetary Reward Status Sense of Community Fun Socialization
QUALITATIVE INVESTIGATION -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CURRENT ONLINE BEHAVIOUR --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
―I spend most of my time writing and maintaining my blog or actively following a bike forum. I like to give my opinions wherever there is a context already present that is of interest to me. For example I know exactly what to write on and what the community needs on the bike forum but Facebook is very generic, which makes me feel there’s no compelling need to write anything there..‖ Sethu, 25,Chennai
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“I love to voice my opinion online because I have a large number of friends who I think will be benefitted from the same. For example, if I travel somewhere or watch a movie & then tell others about it, people tell me later how it came to help them immensely.” Chetan, 25, Mumbai “ I spend a lot of time working everyday and so I find gaming online on social networking sites to be a good way to a relaxing experience. I would not want the game to be too intense with many rules, long play durations etc.. Just a small, casual game like Angry Birds which can be played in ten minute breaks and where we do not have to use our mind too much, which also helps us bond with friends at the same time” Aravindan, 31, Bangalore “ I love to be on social networking sites such as Facebook because it helps me stay in touch with friends. However, it is getting more repetitive of late and I often find myself getting bored. On the other hand, there is a lot of fun when one is on sites like Pinterest. I like to check out the latest fashion triends and accessories that others, especially my friends are following and Pinterest allows me to do that so well.” Kavya, 24, Bangalore “When you read the articles on the social reader on Facebook, I find so interactive that I feel that my friends are also there doing the same thing. I’m able to know what articles they’ve read before and what is it that the recommend to the others. However, I do not like the fact that the social reader captures all my activity on the site and makes it public without giving me an option” Gokul Kanzhore, 24, Bangalore “I maintain a blog, another movie review site and consistently post reviews online because I know that many will find it useful. More importantly, it also forms a huge part of my core identity when I look back and see the online reputation I’ve built over the years” Harish Ram, 25, Chennai
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“I spend a significant time online checking real time news updates. One good thing about using online as a medium is that it is quick but more importantly, it gives me the option of choosing exactly what I want to read/see which something like TV has little to offer. For example how many times have you felt that all news channels are talking the same thing & you wish you could look for something else?” Sreekumar, 28, Delhi Observation – A major proportion of the online behaviour of our respondents was either the result of a compelling need to stay updated about their friends or about curiosity the real time events of the world. With limited time and resources, they found the internet to be a very useful tool to stay in touch and interact with friends, as a means of social contact. For some, it also gave a very good platform for them to establish themselves as someone important in their community, which was mainly achieved through regular contribution of reviews/statuses that resulted in a dedicated list of followers. Independence or autonomy was another factor because the medium allows you to choose exactly what you want to consume or show when compared with the other media. It was apparent that to these respondents it gave them a feeling of empowerment when it came to decision making.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“…not certain if online shopping can replicate the shopping familiarity, but perhaps we can construct it to be more familiar with offline shopping by including some indispensable elements of that experience. It would be enthralling to see.” Sethu, 25,Chennai
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“Of course, buying things online has its own advantages, I am able to save up on a lot of time and find it very convenient while making decisions .However, there is a different joy when you shop in the real world, where you just discover something you like a lot by chance, especially with clothes. I don’t think shopping online gives one that element of surprise, I’ve generally already made up my mind about something specific” Kavya, 24, Bangalore “…We girls love to shop, not because we like spending but so that we get to see what others are purchasing, trends, fashions they follow.” Anitha, 24, Chennai “…Though I prefer online as a shopping medium, I do not spend too much time reading reviews etc because I find no need for it. I’d rather quickly make a decision on my own by comparing features etc. I like the fact that it is now possible to make an informed decision much more quickly than before without being too dependent on others” Ayush, 28, Mumbai “Shopping on the net increases the risk of being let down by your purchases as the element of touch and feel, which is important for, is missing and I don’t trust the online medium so much. All in all, online shopping is an appalling idea!” Sreelatha, 24, Bangalore ―…To me online shopping is staying indoors in front of a PC screen & rousing all of society to get lazy habits. Going out to purchase for example provides a chance to meet up with a friend, have a nice chat & at the same time walk around. Fresh air & exercise come in to deed through this while with e-shopping it is not a lot fun to see friends.” Parvathy, 24, Chennai ―…In India, e-retailing is a little bit complicated. Shopping is an outing here. It is not essentially an unpleasant task.‖ Shilpa, 25, Bangalore
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“Discounts matter a lot to me when I shop online. I often find myself checking for deals from Snapdeal and other places in the last minute when I’m about to go to a restaurant or even looking for a spa. I feel excited at the prospect of finding something for a lot lower a price than it otherwise is elsewhere” Varun, 24, Chennai “Though I do not consider to be very active online, I do find myself frequenting travel sites like Makemytrip and Tripadvisor. And ever since they came up with the feature where they could show my friends’ activities on the site, I find it more helpful and spend a lot more time here. Because I’m able to keep updated about my friends’ travel plans and experiences and it helps me feel more connected.” Sreekumar, 28, Delhi Observation – Among the benefits, interviewees loved the fact that they were spoilt for choice while shopping online, compare easily between products and check out user reviews, before deciding on the purchase on their own. Some found online shopping a lot more preferable because it helped them get the best deals. While majority of the interviewees agreed that online shopping had many benefits, they still preferred shopping offline for many categories, especially apparels because the element of touch and feel or hanging out with friends was important. More importantly, almost all of them agreed that the online shopping experience can definitely be made better than what it currently is today though they couldn‘t ascertain exactly how. All of them though, ascertained the social element to be largely missing in the current online experience in one way or the other. This was more so the case with the women interviewed than the men though both expressed their interest in the same.
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EFFECT OF GAME MECHANICS ON ONLINE BEHAVIOUR -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Here are some of the user responses: ―Being a reviewer myself, when it comes to the follower concept that Zomato offers, I find the prospect of having many people from the city read and rate my reviews on local hotel joints to be an exciting prospect‖ Harish Ram, 25, Chennai “Do you know about Foursquare? This platform gives me points for every visit to a particular café/store which in return gives me good discounts. The more I visit the same place, the more loyal I am termed and the greater the discount. I think it’s a great thing to have. Besides, it also tells if my friends are at/near the same place I am going to ” Varun, 24, Chennai “One interesting thing I remember is how LinkedIn has a progress bar when you first sign in. It somehow compelled me to fill my professional information just to see the bar progress and see where I stand‖ ―Another similar concept was Klout. Ever since I signed up there and got to know that my influencer score was measured by my activity across social networking sites, I began to become more active online!” Ayush, 28, Mumbai
“Though I do not consider to be very active online, I do find myself frequenting travel sites like Makemytrip and Tripadvisor. And ever since they came up with the feature where they could show my friends’ activities on the site, I find it more helpful and spend a lot more time here. Because I’m able to keep updated about my friends’ travel plans and experiences and it helps me feel more connected.”
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Sreekumar, 28, Delhi “I am currently ranked as the 9th best food reviewer in Chennai on the Zomato site and I find it satisfying. To know that people are following you of their own will and I am making a difference to them is a great feeling. Besides seeing how much higher I can reach the ranking is going to be so much fun” Parvathy, 24, Chennai
"Site customization is important to me, I like it if I feel that I am able to change the way the site looks or the elements within are selected, because I consider it to be an expression of myself. Facebook doesn’t allow so much of visual customization. Pinterest does, it helps me collect things according to my choice and maintain them." Kavya, 24, Bangalore “I once saw an offer on Tripadvisor that said that for every three reviews that we put on the site, we become eligible for a lucky draw every month for free Jet Airways tickets to a trip of Europe. I thought it was pretty cool. But I feel maybe if the reward was more assured, something like loyalty/review points, I am more likely to do the activity more continuously because I know my effort is not going waste” Chetan, 25, Mumbai ―Many sites such as Quora have this vote up or down mechanism that helps people see only the best reviews or the best answers. I find that the quality and variety of the content on the site goes much higher and I find myself willing to spend more time on such sites‖ Sethu, 25, Chennai
―I think even on Twitter and Facebook, the prospect of knowing that there could be more followers or notifications, goads me to be more active and visit the site more often.‖ Anitha, 24, Chennai
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Observation – The one thing that was important to almost all the respondents was the desire for the site to be clean and clutter free ie, ease of usage was extremely importance. Site personalization ie the ability to maintain their own social profiles on the site was also very important. The interesting part was that different features seemed to work well for different interviewees. For the men monetary rewards seemed to be of prime importance, while the need for status came second. Even among the monetary rewards, there seemed to be a preference for assured rewards of proportionate returns (eg loyalty cards) than for unassured reward with large returns (eg lucky draws). The follower game mechanic that reflected one‘s status on the website was also preferred by the men. Their tendency to perform any activity on the site however, depended a lot on the how easy to perform the task was. (ie they were willing to refer friends, build their own store etc but unwilling to write longer reviews). Social Contact and Customization mechanics made a difference to a lot of women as they expressed their interest to share more items with their friends and saw the site as an extension of themselves.
For the women who loved to voice their opinion, the follower mechanic seemed the most compelling for them to continue their activity on the site. All respondents mentioned that any feedback about their activity on the site (especially social networking) motivated them to return often to the site multiple number of times. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------USING GAME MECHANICS ON eCOMMERCE SITES -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------―I think the concept of having profiles for users can be extended to eCommerce sites. Currently, eCommerce sites in India do not allow you to put your photograph or talk about yourself or even interact with friends. I think it will definitely be helpful.‖ Anitha, 24, Chennai “If an eCommerce site has more number of reviews, of course I’ll begin to have a lot more trust in the site and maybe even feel like contributing myself. I t starts to feel like I owe something to the community, especially if I have made a purchase where their reviews have helped” Parvathy, 24, Chennai
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“I think if I am purchasing online, I do not have the time and patience to write or even go through reviews. Even if I did something, I would prefer if I got some discounts for my activity in return. But then that should not be so much like a lucky draw option.” Ayush, 28, Mumbai “Site navigation and ease of use is a very important criterion for me. I would prefer it if the home page is decluttered and if I just could choose the categories, brands whose updates I want to see on the home page of the eCommerce site instead of everything at once.” Sethu, 25, Chennai “I do not mind referring my friends to join an ecommerce site if it offers me monetary rewards in return, but only provided it is a good and trusted online site” Shilpa, 25, Bangalore “In the context of online shopping, I do not think would be ready to do any activity as reviewing, referring my friends etc on the site for free. There must be some tangible incentive offered in return. But that still might not necessarily make the shopping experience more fun” Deepika, 25, Bangalore “If the category is something that I am interested in, like books I would definitely be very keen on reviewing more often on an eCommerce site if it has a Zomato like follower concept” Harish Ram, 25, Chennai “If the site enables me to see my friends activities and recent purchases on the site, I feel it will help me in my purchase decisions immensely and I will visit this site a lot more often” Sreekumar, 28, Delhi
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“The problem with loyalty points is that we know we’re accumulating but there is generally not much of feedback as to what can be bought with the no. of points we currently have and how much more we might need to buy something else.I will definitely be ready to purchase more often from a site if it suggests exactly what products can be bought with the points accumulated” Varun, 22, Chennai “I think that there is more scope for online shopping sites to be more fun. If I have my friends over on the same eCommerce site then, especially for purchasing clothes and related items, we could do the shopping online together.” Sreelatha, 24, Bangalore “I think building a virtual store with my favorite products and brands in it is a fantastic idea. It doesn’t seem too different from the way Pinterest works, which I love so I can totally relate to this idea. Sharing stuff with friends and others in this manner becomes much easier and more exciting” Kavya,24, Bangalore ―The virtual store is a good option, but I would still want some monetary award for sharing it with my friends. If you asking me if I would naturally want to share such things with my friends, no thanks. It might happen once or twice, but it will not be sustainable unless discounts are offered in return‖ Chetan, 25, Mumbai Observation – The virtual store is a concept that was proposed to the interviewees where one‘s wish list of interested products would become part of their own virtual store. For any friend or other user who buys from their store, they get a set of appropriate points that calculate their influencer score. Ones with the highest influencer scores get featured on the home page of the site (leader board).
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All interviewees felt that this concept would be fun, but were still unwilling to perform the act without any monetary rewards. That is, they felt discounts should be given to people with higher influencer scores. Stumbling upon deals was found to be a major attraction for interviewees during their online shopping. Offering points for reviewing on eCommerce sites was not found to be very favorable among them as it involved a lot of effort and gave very little returns. However, they seemed more open to the idea of performing easier tasks such as referring friends, logging on the site often etc in exchange for monetary rewards.
Also, majority of the interviewees expressed the profiles on the eCommerce sites to have a greater degree of personalization ie ability to maintain one‘s own detailed profile on the site. The presence of Facebook friends on the site was found to be positively influential in their engagement and purchase decisions on the site and overall, the interviewees felt the more the friends on the site, the more trustworthy it will be. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.4 RESULTS OF STUDY II --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The secondary research helped us first to come up with a list of game mechanics that have been successfully employed across different websites to drive engagement among users. Qualitative research was then conducted among 15 interviewees for observing the different ways in which game mechanics define a user‘s online experience in the Indian context and whether they have the potential to improve engagement.
Armed with the understanding of the basic intrinsic and extrinsic motivations through ethnography in stage one and the role of play and games in our lives, the interviews helped us to delve and understand the different motivations of Indians while shopping online and explored the different ways in which game mechanics could be used for improving their engagement in the shopping experience.
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The following statements are important observations made from the interviewee‘s statements during the qualitative research which were then incorporated into the questionnaire I review on a site when it has a lot of reviews & I feel I have benefitted from them I spend more time online if I find that the user profiles are more personalized I spend more time online if it has large number of quality user reviews I review more because I feel many people find my reviews useful I refer my friends to join a good site because it offers me monetary rewards in return I purchase often from a site if it enables me to search for better deals more easily I purchase from a site if it makes it possible for me and my friends to collectively gift someone else I find it interesting to think that a site will allow me to easily create & maintain my own store I will definitely be tempted to share my own virtual store with friends because it allows to bond with them. I will share my personal customized store with friends when there is a monetary reward for it I review more often on a site if I know it will help me become well known with a dedicated set of followers I might review often on a site because my friends are also reviewing here I review on a site when I feel that it helps others in making their purchase decision I might review more if there are points offered in exchange a result to help me challenge others to attain a higher leader board position I will purchase more from a good site if it suggests exactly what products can be bought with the points accumulated I like to spend more time on a site because it shows me real time updates about my friends‘ activities I prefer reading more reviews just to satisfy my curiosity The biggest criteria for me when I shop online is that I find it the very safe & trustworthy I think that there is more scope for online shopping sites to be more fun I spend more time shopping on a site that I find more orderly and easy to use
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.5 STUDY III – QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The objective here will be to express their engagement towards online shopping and purchase behaviour as a function of their different motivations.
4.1.6 FINDINGS FROM QUANITATIVE RESEARCH ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4.1.7 RESULTS OF STUDY III ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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5.1.1 Implications of Research Findings The research objectives that were taken into consideration while carrying out the research were: To explore the factors involved in making a game more engaging at a primitive level through ethnographic observation of play and games in children. To find out the impact of gamification and if it is currently being utilized in the most effective manner to tap into user motivations in the different online contexts in India. To determine the dominant motivations and how the different proposed game mechanics relate to the various online consumer segments based on engagement and buying behaviour. As the portal caters more to the consumers‘ need for power and social contact as well as information seeking nature, the more the portal assumes an importance in the consumers‘ mind. Therefore, an eCommerce site can be said to be of high importance to a consumer when it enables him/her to be highly independent and maintain his/her presence on the site. Interacting with friends and accessing their activities and reviews on the same site also turns out to be a powerful motivator for consumers to make their purchase from the site. Sites which do not possess such a level as is required end up being not so popular and this could perhaps explain portals that have failed to take off among online shoppers. These types of sites should focus of improving the site‘s ease, convenience, autonomy and information capabilities in order to see more traffic entering their spaces.
A significant portion of customers visit shopping sites more often because they satisfy the need for people to obtain and compare information; to get the best deals possible; to be independent and not have to rely on a third party in order to get the job done.
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However, the need to get the best deals possible is more pronounced here; apart from the need to have fun while shopping in terms of looking for the best bargains. Therefore, making the consumer believe that he/she is getting the best deals as well as integrating social features into the site well will give it as much success as it deserves. After carrying out the research, it becomes possible to see the different ways in which online shopping can be made more engaging for Indian thus improving their loyalty towards the same.
5.1.2 Limitations of the Study The different gamification features used in online shopping that we consider and discuss in this research are ones that are seen across different websites and are not present on a singular website. The absence of such an eCommerce site meant that employs all the desired game mechanics made it difficult for us and the respondents to test their use in the most effective manner.
Another important limitation of this study was that, the sample size that was reached was 107 which is a small sample, and a large sample could have more accurate results. If these limitations are taken care of in further research, it would make it more feasible for this research to be widely applicable. 5.1.3 Future Scope of Research More variables that could represent the online shopping behavior of consumers such as amount spent, time spent browsing vs. actual purchases could all be added to improve the comprehensiveness of the work. An immediate and a more accurate way to take forward this research would be to make an experimental model or come up with a good proof of concept of such a gamified eCommerce site containing all the game mechanics suggested by this paper. Testing its effectiveness on a dedicated panel of users by measuring their engagement (time on site), loyalty(repeat visits) and purchase habits would go a long way in providing important information.
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Another future scope for this research could be implementing what is known as A/B testing on an existing eCommerce site by exposing these suggested mechanics to a control group and comparing its behaviour with the test group to see if it actually results in the desired behaviour. The shopping experience can be transformed in various major ways through the online shopping medium by means of the various interactive tools that are available. For all marketers, therefore, it makes good sense to engineer the entire online shopping experience in such a manner that consumers feel empowered while making their purchases. This empowerment could be visible in various ways, but it mostly makes sense in terms of information, autonomy and convenience. The entire needs of online shoppers can be used to sell more products, and to more people, which is the aim of every marketer.
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Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining "Gamification". Proceedings from MindTrek '11. Tampere, Finland: ACM. Retailer Magazine (2012), It‘s the Boom Time for Indian ecommerce, pp 44 -46 IAMAI (2011), 150 million Indians are e-commerce ready: IAMAI, Retrieved from http://www.afaqs.com/news/story/32429_150-million-Indians-are-e-commerce-ready:-IAMAI Srinivasan, S. S., Anderson, R., & Ponnavolu, K. (2002). Customer loyalty in e-commerce: an exploration of its antecedents and consequences. Journal of Retailing, 41-50. Zichermann, G., Cunningham, C. (2011) Gamification by Design, O‘Reilly Media Inc. Zimmermann, E., Salen, K. (2003) Dignan, A. (2011) Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success, Free Press. McGonical, J. (2011). Reality is Broken. New York: Penguin Press. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996), Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Dr. BJ. Fogg, BJ Fogg’s Behavioural Model, [online] Available at:< http://www.behavioralmodel.org> [Accessed at 6 June, 2012] Reiss, S. (2001), Who Am I?. Penguin Putnam Inc. Bunchball (2010) Gamification 101: An Introduction to the Use of Game Dynamics to Influence Behaviour, Bunchball Inc.
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Deci, E., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. (2001). Extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivations in education: Reconsidered once again. Review of Educational Research, 71(1). 1-27.
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Deterding, S. (2011a). Meaningful play: Getting «gamification« right. Google Tech Talk. Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net/dings/meaningful-play-getting-gamification-right
Nicholson, S. (2012, June). A User-Centered Theoretical Framework for Meaningful Gamification. Paper Presented at Games+Learning+Society 8.0, Madison, WI.
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7.1.1 IN DEPTH INTERVIEW GUIDELINES Setting & Warm Up Moderator Self-introduction General Idea about the Interview Profile of the interviewee: It should contain all the data about the candidate, age, occupation, family details, income, culture. Also find out the standard of living of the family, by observation. What are their hobbies and life aspirations? What do you like to watch on TV or read or net-surfing? (Moderator Note: This is to get general idea about media consumption habits)
Understanding Current Online Browsing Behaviour Which of these site categories are they most engaged in terms of their involvement and activity? Elicit reasons for the same News and Media Social and/or Online Gaming Video Consumption Social Networking Sites Ecommerce Community Review Sites (Quora, Zomato, Tripadvisor, Mouthshut, Burrp or any other similar peer review site) Amongst the above listed categories, with an exclusive focus on community review sites and/or gaming websites, what do they consider as the essential elements that were responsible for their heightened involvement? How much of what they consume online are people willing to share with others and the motivations behind them.
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Understanding Gaming Habits and Preferences When compared to other forms of entertainment, (TV, Cinema etc) where does gaming stand. State reasons why. What are the kind of games that they most frequently play currently and why? Elicit reasons for the same Puzzle and Learning Games MMORPG‘s Sports Based Games Adventure Social Games
Examples of situations where they prefer playing different types of games in different circumstances (mood) or does it remain constant throughout? While playing any game, which among the following do they tend to seek the most – Role Playing & Fantasy, Socializing, Fun, Exploring, Adventure, Challenge and Reward (Flow), Mastery of a Skill, Status. Probe – Reasoning out why the person seeks these while playing a game and their choice of games will help in figuring out their underlying motivations.
General Shopping Habits A general discussion about what does shopping mean to them What are the places they like to shop most often? How often do they visit each of the places mentioned? What are the things they usually buy from the places mentioned? Probe: To find out whether certain places preferred only on certain occasions How are the decisions made pertaining to the purchases? Where do they go? Whom do they consult? Probe: Influencers & patterns of influence as in are they based on consumption occasion or generic How much time do they usually spend on shopping? Probe: Find out on which type of shopping occasions do they spend more time, look for motivating factors there
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Online Shopping and Reviewing Habits When talking about online shopping what is it that generally comes to their mind? Do they feel more comfortable with it when compared to traditional brick and mortar shopping? Reason out why or why not What are their attitudes & beliefs pertaining to online shopping as a whole? Tell them to imagine that they had to build an ecommerce site from scratch. How would the look and feel be? What are the categories they prefer to browse or purchase online and why? Detail out the decision making process while they‘re purchasing any time online. Probe: Look for motivating factors, role of influencers, price etc. What is the role of reviews in the their online purchase? How many and how often do they check reviews for the different categories, if at all. Also is there any motivation on their part for them to review more often on these sites. Why?
Improving Engagement Using Game Mechanics If these elements are incorporated in the different ecommerce sites, would it result in an increase in their activity, would they find it unnecessary and/or manipulative? Reason out why or why not What is the biggest motivation for them to visit only one type of ecommerce site and not the others? Are there any particular website features that they remember which actually heightened their urge to contribute something and/or make a purchase?
Test each of the following hypothetical incentives for improving participation (reviewing, sharing on social networks, making a purchase) to gauge how it is perceived by the interviewee. At each stage, apart from the possibility of observing tangible outcomes (reviews, sharing, purchase), the intangibles such as purchase intent, satisfaction, loyalty etc Competition – o Imagine a scenario where you can maintain your own store on the ecommerce site. Everyone gets the same denomination of virtual currency (say 50,000 XP
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points) to make the purchase & keep the items on sale in your store. The top five ones who make the maximum sale by value every month would receive a monetary reward (say 20,000) Definite Monetary Reward – o Imagine the same scenario where instead of only a few lucky winners getting the reward, each individual will get the reward based on their respective XP points. o A slightly different scenario where, for every review made by you, share on your social network or every purchase made by a friend on your recommendation, you get XP points that can be exchanged for real value. Status – o A leaderboard is maintained for each category listing the top followed reviewers (influencers) in their respective categories. Would this motivate the interviewee to review more often? Sense of Community – o Would you rather review only out of a sense of helping others decide on their purchase and nothing else? Would a separate FAQ section be of any help. Fun – o Tell them to imagine the concept of a virtual trial store which will help them decide on clothing and have fun by sharing them with friends and asking their opinion of the same. Socialization – o A friends features, where you can see exactly which of your friends has already made a purchase or a review on the same site. (Feature currently used on Tripadvisor)
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