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Gamification and the online retail experience

Victoria Insley (Associated British Foods plc., London, UK)
Daniel Nunan (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 6 May 2014




As online retailing grows in importance there is increasing interest in the online customer experience. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of gamification, the use of game mechanics, in enabling consumer engagement with online retailers.


The research adopts a qualitative methodology carrying out 19 in-depth interviews with individuals who are frequent online shoppers.


Findings support the importance of including game elements to enhance the retail experience. However, data also suggests that without appropriate management customers can subvert gamification strategies to create their own “games” which increases competitive pressure between retailers.

Practical implications

The paper suggests ways in which retailers might more successfully “gamify” their online retail stores and reduce incidences of undesirable customer behaviour.


This paper provides empirical support to the current paucity of research into the role of gamification in the context of the online retail experience.



Insley, V. and Nunan, D. (2014), "Gamification and the online retail experience", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 5, pp. 340-351.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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