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E-commerce Lessons from Doomfist

E-commerce Lessons from Doomfist hero image

E-commerce Lessons Doomfist builds on an earlier Curagami post. In A Video Game E-commerce Steal, we suggested gamifying e-commerce by stealing leveling up, community and other gamification features from video game developers. Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch game creates an excellent example of the power of the game within the game this summer with Doomfist skins.

Doomfist Skins An E-commerce Steal

Doomfist is a new character in Blizzard’s Overwatch game. More than thirty million play Overwatch.  Overwatch added five million players in the first quarter, and Doomfist dominates video game buzz this summer. This Curagami post focuses on five ideas any online merchant can steal from video game developers:

  • Create Great Products
  • Develop Community and then Listen, Learn, and Change
  • Give customers chances to collaborate
  • Forge badges, banners, and other rewards
  • Define how rewards are earned but don’t forget serendipity and surprise

Create Great Products

Today, companies face an age-old choice – quality or quantity. Quantity products are commodities bought on sale and from many acceptable suppliers. Market pressures want to turn every product into a commodity. Branding is the shield marketers use to stave off commodification.

Airlines provide vivid examples of what happens when brands collapse. When once storied, trusted, and vibrant brands become commodities they appear lost. Who trusts airlines today? Who cares what airline they fly?

Amazon’s pricing strategies and scale threaten entire categories with commodification. Great products, products customers love, advocate, and share like Overwatch and Doomfist aren’t commodities. If you want thirty million customers to help create, market, and sell your products then use any two of these tips.

Community

Blizzard Entertainment like most video game developers create products in a vibrant community of forums, chat rooms, and feedback loops any online merchant must envy. Reviews help sell products, but reviews also signal customers desire to communicate, interact, and engage.

  • 1% of a website’s visitors will contribute user-generated content (UGC)
  • 9% of visitors will share a site’s content when created by one%ers
  • 90% of visitors are more passive but no less important in their content consumption

The 1:9:90 rule above shows not all visitors are equal. We modify the 1:9:90 Rule to become the 1:1:9:90 Rule. Our change happened after noticing a common viral marketing characteristic. We thought broad acceptance came from a daisy chain of average followers picking up a cause.

Research showed something different. In every viral marketing example, when posts reached audiences of more than 100,000,  an “ubermensch” helped. “Ubermensch” in this context is someone with a lot of followers. As Mastin Kipp explained on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, there’s someone helping.

$$$

Our 1:1:9:90 Rules suggest finding your Ubermensch, and that’s not easy. There may be two to four followers capable of becoming your Ubermensch. The rub is asking for help isn’t recommended. Ubermensch’s are asked for help a lot. You are better off creating great products, recognizing and thanking any help from a possible Ubermensch, and tracking how your community builds.

Collaboration

Every online store can do more to collaborate with customers. Are you following back more than 50% of your followers? Do you ask for and respond to comments? Have you created contests and games to reward your 1:1:9:90 customers? Do you ask for help? Here a few of our favorite e-commerce collaboration ideas.

  • Contests – Create competitions for things you need such as reviews
  • Public Rewards – Badgers, Banners and Earned Clubs shared on public profiles can help build a community
  • Profiles– Shareable customer profiles creates great and inexpensive UGC
  • UGC Curation – Sharing customer content creates a great, cheap, but impactful reward
  • Ask For Help – Publish a page asking for Ambassadors to help but do so understanding this is WORK

What are your favorite ways to build an online community? Share in comments wand we’ll include in this post with a Curagami tee.

Public Rewards

Websites are public forums. Websites are also games. Create digital rewards such as badges and banners and define how customers earn your rewards. Audible badges are an example of rewarding customer behavior to form a community.

Doomfist E-commerce Steal - Audible Badges image

Audible badges are hard to find, not the same on every device and impossible to find on a desktop computer. Even as flawed as Audible’s badges are I’ve had conversations about them with friends. The value of public rewards is they create buzz, shape customer behavior and help develop community.

Rewards and Surprises

Rewards can be tricky. Any system gets gamed. The web has a few million people who live to game anything and everything. Publish and share your rewards and define how customers earn your badges, banners, and clubs. Be flexible and listen to feedback.

Rewards are conversations between web developers and marketers and their intended customers, advocates, and buyers. Don’t change things once set without checking in first. Share what is happening and ask for help. Making changes based on collaboration with your community reinforces key marketing attributes including:

  • Listening – using suggestions is an excellent way to confirm that you care and are listening
  • Collaboration – you see your role as curator and collaborator, not dictator
  • Community – contributions are valued and so happen more often

A surprise is something you, as the community’s developer and marketer, can and should use. Sharing unexpected rewards creates delight, loyalty, and love. Be specific when granting a serendipitous award. Share your rewards on social media (with permission) to magnify the impact, but don’t share EVERY surprise.

When players reach certain levels or game thresholds they “unlock” new “skins.” Here is some of Blizard’s explanation about skins:
“Skins are cosmetics that modify the appearance of the player’s heroes, changing their outfit or color scheme. There are skins of every rarity, with the Common skin being the default, Rare skins being simple recolors.”
Learn more about skins on Blizard’s Wiki

Create great products and then imagine creative ways to engage, reward, and surprise your customers, advocates, and Ubermensch.

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