Engagement specialists Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB) has achieved a 20% increase in the sign-up rate, and a 50% increase in attendance, for a leading US retailer’s product testing panels by using the principle of ‘gamification’ to re-brand the initiative and generate greater levels of interest and loyalty.
These increases have led to an estimated saving of $20,000 per month when compared to external product testing options, as well as an increase in the volume and quality of feedback obtained.
Like many retailers, the Private Brand team runs regular product panels where employees and associates rate and benchmark its products against competing retail and national brands. The panels help to maintain quality and create products that will perform well on-shelf.
However, attendance had reduced over time, particularly in product categories that were less popular or perceived as ‘same old’. As a result, the value of feedback derived from the panels was diminishing, posing a risk to both product quality and brand reputation.
Flagging levels of engagement with product panels needed to be addressed, and engagement experts S4RB identified gamification as an effective means of achieving this. Within months, they helped the retailer achieve an increase in attendance, an increase in sign-ups and an estimated annual cost reduction of over $200,000.
S4RB’s solution was to create a product panel club for the retailer where employees could earn points for attending. In this new club, accumulated points entitled attendees to perks, such as free merchandise, invitations to exclusive product focus groups, and recognition as Product Development ‘Heroes’. Panel administrators are also now able to manipulate available points in order to increase demand for historically less popular products.
The initiative is supported with posters, table displays and on-going internal communication campaigns. As the incentives offered are already available to the Private Label team, the programme does not incur any additional costs – a proverbial win-win.
As well as the increase in attendance and cost-savings compared to an external panel, the product panel club solution also empowers improved audience segmentation. Members are able to set and update their preferences based on taste, time schedule and diet. For example, if they are vegetarian or they have a particularly busy morning schedule they can opt to receive only email notifications about products or panel times relevant to them. This has further increased the relevance and quality of panellist feedback and is an example of how improved engagement drives success for Private Brands.
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