Gamification in E-Commerce: Tangible vs. Intangible Rewards


Increasing user participation or changing behavior are key goals when applying gamification. Existing studies in domains such as education, health, and enterprise show that gamification can have a positive impact on meeting these goals. However, there is still a lack of detailed insights into how certain game design elements affect user behavior and motivation. To gain further insight, this paper presents a user study in the field with 20,000 participants of a mobile e-commerce application over a one-month time period to analyze the impact of gamification in the e-commerce domain and to compare the effectiveness of tangible versus intangible rewards. Results show that gamification has a positive impact in the e-commerce domain. The study also reveals that tangible rewards increase the user activity substantially more than intangible rewards. We further show how tangible rewards affect certain user types and provide a first discussion on the lastingness of these rewards.

 author = {Meder, Michael and Plumbaum, Till and Raczkowski, Aleksander and Jain, Brijnesh and Albayrak, Sahin},
 title = {Gamification in E-Commerce: Tangible vs. Intangible Rewards},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 22Nd International Academic Mindtrek Conference},
 series = {Mindtrek '18},
 year = {2018},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-6589-5},
 location = {Tampere, Finland},
 pages = {11--19},
 numpages = {9},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/3275116.3275126},
 acmid = {3275126},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {E-Commerce, Gamification, Intangible Rewards, Tangible Rewards, User Behavior Analysis},
Michael Meder, Till Plumbaum, Aleksander Raczkowski, Brijnesh Jain, Sahin Albayrak
Conference Paper
Proceedings of the 22nd International Academic Mindtrek Conference