You only need to walk into (what I think) is the flagship Exclusive Books store in Hyde Park to realise that the Kindle really is killing retail book stores. When the company revamped the store it was smaller in size with a bigger focus on merchandise and magazines compared to the old layout. Enter Exclusive Books Online (or as they call it “Exclusives”) with the concept of “Stickies” to save the brand.
The ever excellent Techcentral summarises:
Exclusive Books has launched a social service for its online store called “stickers”, which encourages customers to rate and share items in the company’s digital store and mark items they want, which can then become eligible for a group discount, earning them individual discounts in the process.
Ben Williams, GM of the online arm, Exclus1ves.co.za, calls the service “retail gamification”.
There are four main categories of digital stickers. The first allows users to share items on social media. The second allows them to rate items, which Williams says is arguably the most important part of the service. There are also “smiley” stickers that are essentially a digital currency and result in group discounts when sufficient users have placed them on the same item. The fourth category is rewards stickers that allow for discounts on items.
Customers earn smiley stickers by rating or sharing items. These can then be applied to items in order to trigger group discounts. Placing smiley stickers on an item will trigger a 24-hour discount on that item once a certain threshold is met. The price is applicable to all users of the service, not just those who have placed stickers on the item.
Right now you’re asking yourself the question: “How many Stickies do I need to place to order a discount?”. Complicated table to follow:
|Earning and spending||Fanatics member / non-member|
|Customer visits Exclus1ves.co.za||Earns 2 Smileys / 2 Smileys (once every 24 hours)|
|Customer rates a product||Earns 3 Smileys / 2 Smileys|
|Customer shares a product||Earns 5 Smileys / 3 Smileys|
|Customers can earn max 30 Smileys per day|
|Customers can spend max 10 Smileys per product|
|User milestones (iterative from 600 Smileys)||Action|
|Customer earns 150 Smileys||Earn 1 x 10% discount sticker|
|Customer earns 300 Smileys||1 x 20% discount stickers|
|Customer acquires 450 Smileys||1 x 10% and 1 x 20% discount stickers|
|Customer acquires 600 Smileys||2 x 10% and 1 x 20% discount stickers|
|Customer acquires 750 Smileys||2 x 10% and 1 x 25% discount stickers|
|Customer acquires 900 Smileys||2 x 25% discount stickers|
|Product milestones (iterative)||Action|
|Product tagged with 100 Smileys||15% discount for 24 hours|
|Product tagged with 250 Smileys||25% discount for 24 hours|
Huh? What on earth does all this mean? From what I understand you need to place 150 Smileys to get a 10% discount, which to me sounds like a lot of effort for not enough reward. Since you earn three Smileys per rating you need to rate 50 items before you get the 10% discount. Some rough numbers but if you buy a book for R200 you’ll get R20 off for a fair amount of work. You can only earn a maximum of 30 smileys per day so you’re looking at 5 days worth of going back to the site to earn your 10% off.
The group buying approach makes more sense in that if a group tags an item with at least 100 Smileys the product is reduced by 15% for 24-hours. This is a fairly innovative approach to group buying but actually removes the simplicity of sites such as Groupon. With Groupon the hard work of organising people around a product is done for you rather than having to rally other customers to rating or sharing a specific product. I can see this working well with popular products but being a hassle for slightly more esoteric items.
Gamification is a great idea when there are proper incentives, easy rules and reasonable challenges to a reward. If Exclusives made the requirements a little lower (especially to start with) I could see this flying. Right now though, it’s a hassle.