As shoppers’ enthusiasm for online grocery grows, apps are an increasingly important customer touchpoint. Attempting to “gamify” a shopper’s experience is one tactic that is proving very successful.

Gaming is now recognised as an effective element of business marketing strategy. Some m-commerce brands are using games - or “gamification”- in their apps to obtain and retain consumers’ attention. Innovative brands are using thoughtfully designed apps to solidify their brand identity and build loyalty.

Across the pond, L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret, added gaming elements to its app to boost customer engagement and gain new users. For the US company, gamification literally means downloadable mobile games, which customers play outside their natural ‘shopping time,’ for instance during sports events. The increased exposure and association with leisure time is a perfect brand-building exercise, increasing brand loyalty even when consumers are miles away from the high street and not browsing websites. Implementing interactive and seasonal marketing campaigns with gamification into their mobile user experience has kept its core demographic engaged and excited about the brand. Its app, Pink Nation, was one of the main contributors to its 2% growth in sales in May 2014.

Another successful example of engaging users outside the traditional retail mould is the Home Shopping Network (HSN). The stalwart TV shopping channel has started to use gamification to improve engagement with its target audience by adding the game Spin to Win to its shop app. Since this integration, HSN has reported the registration of 700,000 more shoppers.

There is significant opportunity in the grocery market and no front-runner to date. In the UK, Tesco recently started to catch the wave with its Tesco Discover app. As part of an augmented reality promotion campaign, the high-street supermarket included ground-breaking gamification for Big Night In products whereby consumers can bring a family quiz to life. But more needs to be done to stay ahead of grocery shoppers’ needs and wants.

Olivier Bernard is GM EMEA at App Annie