How Can Gamification Improve Store Operations?

Mila Budeva
Mila Budeva
Oct 2, 2017

Gamification is the application of typical elements of gameplay such as rules of play, point scoring, milestones and competition to professional activity, aimed to encourage employee engagement.

So how can gamifying training and in-store execution help to improve onboarding, engagement, in-store productivity and performance?


1. Improve training engagement and knowledge retention

The methods and psychology of games can help to improve induction and compliance training, deepen product knowledge and speed up the onboarding process – particularly valuable in the context of retail’s high employee turnover and requirement to meet compliance standards, from food safety to tobacco and alcohol sales.


Gamification in retail can help transform lengthy SOP handbooks, regulatory manuals and inventory lists into interactive content. This way employees are encouraged to build lasting knowledge by actively engaging with the training process.


For example, Walmart introduced a digital gameboard to deliver product and process information to associates in a more engaging manner. As part of it, store associates access a short quiz, receive points for correct answers and an explanation of the questions they got wrong. They can track their progress and compare their performance to other associates’. As a result, the retailer witnessed improved knowledge retention and a more positive perception to learning than with traditional training methods [1].


Similarly, Tesco implemented gamification to reverse declining pass rates on their fire safety training. Employees learned about fire hazards and pre-emptive actions by playing mini-games, collecting points and competing with colleagues [2].


In another instance, a large discount retailer introduced a “Find That Item” game, aimed at improving store associates knowledge of the products and their positioning in-store. Employees could play the game on the POS during slow periods, keeping them entertained and engaged. The game displayed images of products, the players had to identify the items’ in-store location and earned points based on their speed and accuracy, motivating them to get a perfect score [3]. 


2. Guided task execution

Gameplay, leaderboards and rewards can help improve in-store processes and operational compliance, communicate and incentivise best practices in real-time, providing store associates with guidance at the point of execution.


For instance, the same large discounter, used gamification to improve its checkout process. The retailer defined the games’ success metrics such as items scanned per minute and average transaction time. Cashiers received real-time feedback on their performance, milestones reached and comparison to co-workers. Gamifying the checkout process resulted in saving six seconds per transaction at the point of sale, improving cashier performance by up to 50% [4]. 


Retailers can also convert the points and badges earned in gameplay into gift cards, coupons, cash incentives and experiential bonuses to reward and incentivise best practices, creating a more stimulating work environment.


3. Improved operational visibility

Gamifying store operations can provide the head office with valuable data on employee behaviour and performance. Store associates’ gameplay actions can be recorded and analysed, offering insight on how quickly employees get up to speed during onboarding and how productive and engaged they are once onboarded. Retailers can then use the data to offer employees personalised feedback and guidance. This way retailers can offer support, specific to employees’ needs and can continuously improve training, operations and retention strategies. For example, a store associate who keeps ranking low in the checkout game can receive extra training on using the POS system.


Learn more about driving productivity and engagement in-store