Fun Shopping: A Randomized Field Experiment on Gamification

Yi Jen Ho, Siyuan Liu, Lei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Gamification utilizes game-like features to engage participants, widely implemented in a variety of contexts. Such an IT-enabled engagement strategy serves as a marketing device to boost sales and customer loyalty. This study focuses on two significant game elements (i.e., badges and leaderboards) that promote consumer motivations and social comparisons. To qualify the impacts, we conduct a randomized field experiment at one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. In the experiment, we contrast the two elements against coupons regarding various shopping outcomes. A two-period design (consisting of the treatment and posttreatment periods) identifies the long-term behavior changes after the treatment removals. The main results suggest that badging and leaderboarding promote sales by 21.5% and 22.5% in the treatment period, respectively, whereas couponing delivers a more potent effect of 31.7%. In the posttreatment period, the gamification impacts remain significant compared with the baseline, but the influence of couponing fades out. Besides, the additional analyses document the salient heterogeneous treatment effects across demographics. We further discover the substantial differences in the within-group heterogeneity across the treatments. Specifically, badging is a balanced tool for attracting the general public, whereas leaderboarding is a double-edged sword that could encourage self-reinforcing or self-banishing. Finally, gamification brings more explorations that lead to additional sales and engagements. Overall, the robust results can be translated into actionable strategies to utilize gamification proactively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-785
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences

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