E-commerce psychology: ‘Gamified promotions’ popular during COVID-19

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty consumers are looking for fun and positivity online, and spin-to-win promo tools offer just that, according to Wheel of Popups (Getty Images)
Beauty consumers are looking for fun and positivity online, and spin-to-win promo tools offer just that, according to Wheel of Popups (Getty Images)

Related tags: e-commerce, online retail, Online shopping, COVID-19, promotion, Beauty brands

Beauty shoppers are responding much better to playful online promotions amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis because they’re looking for fun, says the founder of an e-commerce promotion tool.

Wheel of Popups – a promotion building online tool created in 2017 – provided online shoppers a wheel they could ‘spin-to-win’ various prizes from the brands using it. The tool could be integrated into own-brand beauty websites or social media channels, with communication and colour schemes adapted accordingly. Wheel of Popups worked on a subscription basis for brands and provided an app enabling companies to analyse performance.

Online promotions that inspire fun – ‘it’s all about psychology’

“Since its inception, the focus has been on e-commerce merchants whose target market are millennials who are bored with traditional discount promotions and crave (…) something more engaging,”​ said Rade Joksimovic, founder of Wheel of Popups.

However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, Joksimovic said the promotional tool had widened in relevance – not only because e-commerce had boomed but because most online shoppers were seeking fun.

“Since the coronavirus took over, customers are reacting much better to gamified promotions than ever before. They crave fun, and a game-like promotion fulfils this need,” ​he said. “When a spin-to-win promotion pops up on their screen, they see it as a way to have fun – even for only a minute – and rush to enrol in the promotion to see what the prize wheel will reward them.”

Importantly, the tool created a feeling of positivity towards the beauty brand running the promotion – “it’s all about psychology”, ​Joksimovic said.

An alternative to ‘old boring pop-up’ promotions

For beauty and personal care brands, he said the tool was especially valuable because this was one of the categories “best suited for gamification” ​given how frequently consumers shopped online.

Asked how Wheel of Popups was addressing rising popup and advertising fatigue among online consumers, he said: “This was the very reason why we built Wheel of Popups – to make pop-ups and promotions fun and engaging for consumers, instead of annoying them with the same old boring pop-up that asks for their email address in return for a small discount, which no-one finds engaging.”

An example of how the Wheel of Popups could look online (Image: Wheel of Popups)
An example of how the Wheel of Popups could look online (Image: Wheel of Popups)

Because the tool could be integrated into a company’s branded website, Joksimovic said it also remained unaffected by ad blockers because it wasn’t an add, rather an integrated part of the website.

As beauty and personal care brands approached the important Q4 2020 holiday season, he said promotional tools were vital to attract and engage consumers, and importantly “convert more of them to buyers”.

This was particularly important in e-commerce – an increasingly saturated market, he said. “The biggest challenge is to convert as many of the website visitors and social media followers to loyal customers, to justify the high cost of acquiring them. This is where tools like Wheel of Popups come into play.”

Beauty differentiation – converting visitors to buyers

For beauty brands today, Joksimovic said the focus had to be less about increased investments in targeted messaging and more about increased efforts to optimise websites to sell products better.

“I believe that the biggest success differentiator is the ability to improve the conversion rate of the sales channels the merchant is using, rather than having a bigger advertising budget or being better at media buying,”​ he said.

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