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Exclusive Books gamifies online shopping with social discounts platform

In case you missed it, South African retailer Exclusive Books just gamified its online store. Stickers — its new DIY social discounts platform — rewards you for rating their products and sharing them via Twitter and Facebook.

Exclus1ves.co.za customers can now earn up to a 25% discount on books, ebooks, music, movies and games just by dragging and dropping stickers on to items they want. In case you’ve just logged on to the website and are wondering why on earth your home page is covered with multicoloured symbols and emoticons, let me explain how it works.

The point of the ‘game’ is to earn smileys. If you rate items (from 1-5) or share items via social media, you earn smileys. If you earn enough smileys, you qualify for personal discounts. If you jump on the band wagon with some other Exclus1ves users and smiley-bomb an item, you can trigger a group discount of up to 25% for 24 hours. You can still benefit from these discounts even if you’re just a casual shopper who logs in during the discount period.

Ok, it’s a bit confusing, but there’s a FAQ page if you’re still wondering what all of this is about. The system rewards social media sharing the most — users earn 5 smileys for each item they share on Facebook or Twitter, as opposed to 3 for rating something. Members of Exclusive Books’ loyalty programme, Fanatics, earn more than other shoppers.

The company has redesigned the store’s home page to highlight products that have recently collected stickers, and draw users’ attention to the items which just need a few more stickers to hit their discount targets, so they can swoop in with their smileys and help the cause. The side tab with the stickers hovers on the left side of every page, so you can drag and drop stickers when you’re on other parts of the site.

The company claims the retail gamification platform is a first for South Africa, but it’s part of a growing trend to take aspects of games (like virtual rewards and leaderboards) and apply them to real-world situations.

But just like any game, there will be cheaters. Exclusive Books has put some safe guards in place — for example, you can’t add more than 10 smileys to a product, or earn more than 30 a day, and some products don’t qualify — but the threshold to trigger a group discount is quite low: if just 10 customers each put 10 smileys on an item, it triggers a discount. The system is geared towards the crowd — individual customers would take a minimum of 10 days to earn 300 smileys for a 20% personal discount, but it takes just 250 smileys to qualify for a group 25% discount. There have already been group discounts on some of the books in the store, and the system only became active this week (it was officially launched today).

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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