Loyalty Program Gamification Challenges Increase Customer Engagement

By: Melissa Canellis


Challenge campaigns are a great way to gamify your loyalty program and keep members engaged throughout the year. Since enrollment in a program doesn’t always mean engagement, gamification offers a fresh and creative approach to inspiring certain behaviors with your customers. 

These days people are inundated with emails and text messages. Break out of the mold with a bold and fun challenge campaign that is sure to garner attention for your brand. 

Taking the time to develop a compelling challenge is worth the effort. Punchh customers see a 65% increase in average visits when running a gamification challenge campaign. And during the post challenge period, average visits remain 20%-30% higher than the pre-challenge period.

We’ve outlined some steps below to help you think through how to add a gamification element that helps meet your business goals. 

Preliminary Aspects of Gamification Challenge Campaigns to Consider First

It’s important to first ask “Why am I running this challenge?”

  • What is my goal?
  • What behavior am I trying to change?
  • Why do I want this?

Answering these questions will help determine how often you should run a challenge. For example:

  • The level of effort required to participate in “Menu Bingo” is higher than that of a visit challenge. Therefore, these challenges may be implemented less often.

Review the performance of each challenge to determine if it is moving the needle and adjust accordingly for future campaigns.

How to Apply Loyalty Program Gamification Strategies 

  • Ensure your challenge aligns with business objectives.
  • Reward your guests for stepping up to the challenge and make sure participating is worth their time.
  • Outline clear terms and conditions for the challenge. 
    • Visit Period
    • Requirements to Qualify
    • Will guests receive their reward upon completion or at a later date?
  • Notify your guests about the challenge prior to activation. 
  • Consider milestone messages after each check-in for an added layer of guest engagement.

What are the Different Types of Loyalty Program Gamification Challenges?

It’s important that customers chosen to participate in a challenge have initially demonstrated interest in your brand, such as having made a purchase. Furthermore, depending on your business goals, additional criteria can be layered to improve outcomes and meet business goals.

Visit Behavior – Drive frequency and participation rate by encouraging the adoption of new visit behavior during a predetermined time frame.

Examples include:

  • Order Online 2xs this weekend for 2xs the points. 
  • Visit for lunch 3 days this month for X reward.

Blaze Pizza
, a Punchh customer since 2018, ran a visit based campaign during the summertime to increase frequency during the month of July. Brands often experience a dip in visits during the heart of summer as families are often vacationing or following different routines. Creating a challenge to incrementally increase visits offers a fun way to keep loyalty members engaged with your brand when they might otherwise not have you top of mind.   

“Having the Punchh dashboard at our fingertips helps us dig into the metrics and better understand our customers’ behaviors and preferences,” said Jerry Shen, Blaze’s Director of Digital Growth. “We’re able to innovate and create really engaging campaigns that drive repeat visits and customer lifetime value.”

Spend Based – Incentivize guests to visit while driving average order value (AOV) with challenges that require guests to spend a certain amount each visit. 

Examples include:

  • Order $X worth of your favorites 3 times this month.
  • Earn X reward for spending $XX-$XX as a tiered approach.

Item Based – Drive product sales by challenging guests to order a certain number of products in a set timeframe. 

Examples include:

  • Purchase X items this month and receive a free item next month.
  • Menu Bingo

Customer loyalty gamification challenges are a powerful tool for driving loyalty program engagement and repeat business. They incentivize customers by appealing to their competitive nature and encourage engagement over greater  stretches of time. The Punchh Platform provides brands with the tools and tactics to create rewarding gamification challenges, connect with us to learn more about this topic. 

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