Fun Shopping: A Randomized Field Experiment on Gamification

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 post-treatment periods) identifies the long-term behavior changes after the treatment removals. The main results suggest that badges and leaderboard promote sales by 21.5% and 22.5% in the treatment period, respectively, while couponing delivers a more potent effect of 31.7%. In the post-treatment period, the gamification impacts remain significant compared with the baseline, whereas 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, the leaderboard is a double-edged sword that encourages self-reinforcing and self-banishing, whereas badging is a balanced tool for attracting the general public. Last, 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.


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Work Title Fun Shopping: A Randomized Field Experiment on Gamification
Open Access
  1. Yi Jen Ho
  2. Siyuan Liu
  3. Lei Wang
  1. Gamification
  2. Badge
  3. Leaderboard
  4. Location-based technology
  5. Randomized field experiment
  6. Heterogeneous treatment effect
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Information Systems Research
Publication Date August 5, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited March 20, 2023




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added isre.2022.1147.pdf
  • Added Creator I Ho
  • Added Creator S Liu
  • Added Creator Lei Wang
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    • Gamification, Badge, Leaderboard, Location-based technology, Randomized field experiment, Heterogeneous treatment effect
  • Updated Work Title Show Changes
    Work Title
    • Fun Shopping A Randomized Field Experiment on Gamification
    • Fun Shopping: A Randomized Field Experiment on Gamification
  • Renamed Creator Yi Jen Ho Show Changes
    • I Ho
    • Yi Jen Ho
  • Renamed Creator Siyuan Liu Show Changes
    • S Liu
    • Siyuan Liu