We’re all used to the traditional retail tropes of loyalty cards or points awards schemes, whether we buy into them or not.
But what happens when this marketing trick is flipped on its head and utilised as a points system in a gamification addition to an existing app? What if points aren’t rewarded for monetary purchases, but rather for contributions to an online community?
While there are scores of brands that push their loyalty scheme-like gamification programmes (McDonald’s Monopoly springs to mind, especially as the double whammy of a capitalist purchase-led game gears up for it’s 2019 UK launch), there are some brands that have taken a different approach.
Brands such as Nike have focused their attention on gamification for community sake. The Nike+ Run Club app has been a global success for Nike and it’s easy to see why. By removing the direct marketing and up-sell message from this intimate engagement with their consumers, they have cemented their place in people’s phones, pockets, and lives.
This has created an audience-focused space that allows consumers (or simply those interested in running, there’s no financial requirement of the app) to create a digital space of like-minded people working towards a common goal. And, realistically, that’s what every consumer wants. To feel like they are part of community and are supported – if Nike manage to snag a few new customers in the meanwhile then it’s win win.
This is where Enty and their new community focused gamification system, ‘Karma Points’, come in. Launched in 2017, Enty connects its community users to global fashion professionals with spare capacity – enabling access to the professional advice of stylists 24/7 within a carefully controlled troll-free environment.
We spoke to Sophia Matveeva, CEO and Co-Founder of Enty, late last year about the new app, it’s aspirations, and the importance of investing in safe digital spaces for women.
Following a second successful funding round, Enty has announced the launch of its gamification engine featuring a new customer reward system called ‘Karma Points’. This points based rewards system incentivises users to interact with each other by answering style queries in Enty’s unique troll-free style community, and to invite their friends to join the platform.
“We are delighted to kick off 2019 with a significant product update, preparing the groundwork to scale our audience to 1 million users this year. Enty is proud to be the world’s only troll-free platform, a supportive and safe space where women go to feel confident, whatever their size or budget. Our latest updates both protect our users and offer them an enriched experience across the platform. We’re excited to be entering this new period of Enty’s evolution.” Sophia Matveeva, Founder and CEO, Enty
A little Bit Of Good Karma (Points)
The ‘Karma Points’ system does double the work by, in a move away from systems like the Nike+ Run Club app utilises, incentivising community interactions and consumer engagement with monetary rewards. Points are awarded as a reward for their contributions to the Enty community and for inviting friends to join, thus boosting interaction and fully tapping into the opinions of Enty’s engaged style-conscious users. Users will be able to collect their points and exchange them for shopping vouchers from brands including Apple and Amazon.
Interaction across the platform will also be enhanced via the introduction of text questions alongside the existing picture-led mechanic, so users can get advice on where to buy specific items, get brand recommendations from the community and ask about style trends. Enty enables users to tap into the expertise of a personal stylist ‘in your pocket’ from behind the dressing room curtain, or when outfit planning on-the-go.
“The introduction of text questions alongside the existing picture-led mechanic opens up comment submissions to all questions on our platform, enabling our users to engage in a deeper conversation and increase community engagement. Karma points are hidden around the product, which makes them fun to find, and the rewards system enhances the user experience and strengthens user loyalty even further. We are really excited about these latest developments and will be looking to adjust the rewards as we learn how the new system impacts user behaviour”. Sophia Matveeva, Founder and CEO, Enty
The evolution of the app is not only great for consumers using it – promoting community interaction and monetary rewards – but it is also great for Enty. It will enrich the value of Enty’s user insight. Enty’s analytics platform already provides a unique view into why consumers buy certain items and not others. The conversation on the Enty platform can be used to predict future trends, validate existing ones, and estimate their life cycle, helping brands and retailers sell more of what consumers want.
It also signals a shift in the tech and retail sectors as this development comes directly off the back of a successful second funding round for Enty with the largest investors taking up their pre-emption rights in a seed round in December 2018. This harks back to our original conversation with Sophia Matveeva, CEO & Co-Founder, where she predicted that “Communities that put the female experience in their centre are the next big wave in tech innovation.” And she is absolutely right, this second wave of funding is representative of a wider call for female digital spaces and the reality that Sophia and Enty are “operating in a market for the digital female consumer, which is far less understood and appreciated by traditional tech investors. This means that fewer companies like mine are getting funded, so I have less competition and more chances of winning the endgame.”
Having been named App of the Day by Mashable and one of the world’s best fashion tech start-ups by Grazia, the fledgling app certainly seems to be on the right trajectory.
The Future Of Gamification Or Are Games The Future?
The problem with trends is that they are just that, trends, and there is something intrinsic about them that means they are temporary – often fizzling out when the final brand has jumped on the trend bandwagon. Another thing about trends (or buzzwords as many in the industry like to call them) is that, like certain fashion trends and styles, they don’t suit anyone. Trends are not one-size-fits-all.
So what works for one speedily growing fashion tech startup may not work for another established brick-and-mortar store that are developing an app. It is different for each brand and any decision to wander into the realm of gamification or interaction based rewards systems needs to be hypothesised and supported by more research and testing than you can shake a stick at.
Having said that, it’s telling that a ‘thinking-outside-of-the-box’ approach to gamification – namely a system based on consumer interaction with each other and general audience engagement – can work for brands on the opposite ends of the retail sector. The basic underlying message of both Enty’s ‘Karma Points’ system and the communal nature of the Nike+ Run Club app is the same: we care about what you say, we care about what you do, and we care about both of those things without actively trying to sell to you.
As I mentioned earlier, as humans and consumers all we really want is to feel heard and be part of a community of like minded people. And with an app like Enty, it literally pays to get stuck into that ethos.