eCommerce Gamification in China: Increasing Your Audience Engagement Through Mini-Games

eCommerce Gamification in China: banner

In the digital age, every brand makes serious investments to catch customers’ attention, because traditional forms of advertisement are no longer enough to stand out in the media landscape. Marketers want to invent new innovative ways to capture customers’ attention in a shorter amount of time and keep them engaged longer. 

As online shopping nowadays is focused mainly on engaging and interesting shopping experience, e-commerce gamification is a new way of making shopping more fun. One of the great ways to engage Chinese users is by building WeChat Mini-Programs to increase interaction via gamification.

In this blog post, we will try to understand the phenomenon of Chinese e-commerce gamification and see how it can be used on WeChat, the most popular social e-commerce platform in China.

What is E-Commerce Gamification?

E-commerce gamification refers to the integration of game elements and mechanics into online shopping experiences to enhance customer engagement and drive desired behaviors. It combines elements from both e-commerce and gamification, leveraging game-like features to make the shopping process more enjoyable, interactive, and rewarding for consumers.

The primary goal of e-commerce gamification is to increase customer involvement, create a sense of fun and excitement, and ultimately boost customer loyalty, satisfaction, and sales. By incorporating game mechanics, such as challenges, rewards, leaderboards, badges, points, levels, and virtual currencies, e-commerce platforms aim to motivate and incentivize users to participate more actively and make repeat purchases.

Overview of eCommerce Gamification in China

China is way ahead of the game with the e-commerce gamification concept, as Chinese people are very used to all things gamified and mobile, and they love special deals, discounts, and events, especially if those can be won in games.

China’s e-commerce gamification market has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, driven by the combination of a tech-savvy population, a vibrant e-commerce landscape, and a strong culture of gamification. In fact, e-commerce gamification is one of the key strategies during the biggest shopping events in China year-on-year (for example Double 11 shopping festival from Alibaba Group).

What are the reasons for e-commerce gamification popularity in China?

One of the key factors contributing to the popularity of e-commerce gamification is the increasing adoption of mobile e-commerce. China has a massive mobile user base, and consumers are highly engaged in mobile shopping activities.

E-commerce platforms have capitalized on this trend by integrating gamification elements into their mobile apps, creating immersive and entertaining shopping experiences.

eCommerce Gamification in China: ecommerce sales

Furthermore, live-streaming e-commerce, which blends entertainment, shopping, and gamification, has gained significant popularity in China. Live streaming platforms, such as Taobao Live and Douyin, have become powerful channels for e-commerce gamification, allowing consumers to participate in interactive games, quizzes, and challenges while watching product demonstrations by influencers. This form of gamified shopping has led to increased consumer engagement and conversion rates.

eCommerce Gamification in China: live-streaming

China’s cultural heritage and traditions also play a crucial role in shaping e-commerce gamification strategies. Companies have tapped into cultural elements like zodiac signs, traditional festivals, and lucky symbols to design gamified campaigns that resonate with Chinese consumers.

For example, gamified promotions during the Chinese New Year, where users can unlock virtual red envelopes or win special discounts, have proven highly effective in driving customer participation and purchases.

Most Common Examples of eCommerce Gamification in China

Let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of gamification in the e-commerce ecosystem in China:

eCommerce Gamification in China: WeChat ecommerce

Badges and Achievements

Users can earn virtual badges or unlock achievements for completing specific actions, such as making a certain number of purchases, leaving reviews, or sharing products on social media.

Loyalty Programs

E-commerce platforms may implement loyalty programs that offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive perks based on customer engagement, repeat purchases, or spending levels.

Points and Rewards

Users can accumulate points by performing various actions, such as making purchases, referring friends, or interacting with the platform. These points can then be redeemed for discounts, free products, or other rewards.

Below you can see an example from the Pinduoduo e-commerce platform, where active users can get money for sharing special offers with friends.

eCommerce Gamification in China: Pinduoduo

Contests and Competitions

E-commerce gamification may include contests, competitions, or sweepstakes where customers can participate to win prizes or exclusive offers. This encourages active engagement and increases the chances of repeat visits.

Personalization and Recommendations

Gamified e-commerce platforms often employ algorithms to provide personalized product recommendations based on user preferences, browsing history, and previous purchases. This helps create a more tailored and engaging shopping experience.

Social Sharing and Peer Influence

Integration with social media allows users to share their purchases, reviews, or achievements with their friends, fostering a sense of competition and encouraging social interaction.

Chinese Social Media and Kols - Little Red Book KOCs

By incorporating these gamification elements, e-commerce platforms aim to tap into consumers’ intrinsic motivations, such as competition, achievement, and social recognition, to drive their behavior and increase overall engagement. This, in turn, can lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and improved customer loyalty.

WeChat Gamification Marketing: The Art of Audience Engagement

The WeChat messaging app, with its 1.26 billion monthly active users and high engagement rates, is the best platform to develop an e-commerce gamification strategy. WeChat offers a feature called “WeChat mini-program“, where brands can build apps within WeChat, serving as game apps.

wechat mini program users data

It’s incredible, how a simple interactive game, with an incentive element such as a discount or coupon, can help to increase participation and develop brand awareness. The only way to succeed is to set up a unique and engagement-worthy game with your brand messaging and overall campaign objective. It’s a fun and engaging way to appeal to digitally savvy, competitive Chinese consumers that tie in well with the brand’s campaign.

A popular game could be used to promote a new product or service while offering some amazing rewards that have proven to be used, valued, and shared more so in comparison to generic handouts other traditional means of advertising often tag onto the end of their campaigns.

  • Target and know your audience: Usually, the campaign is created with a clear goal: to raise awareness among Customers. The campaign is constantly striving to digitally engage customers in China in unique ways.
  • Make it fun and keep your audience engaged and loyal
  • Lucky Winner takes all, collect valuable data
eCommerce Gamification in China: WeChat

Let’s talk about the Interactive games on WeChat

Interactive games are an example of a WeChat marketing campaign, which allows people to participate in some activities through various forms of rewards. Gamification has always been built on a solid foundation of social engagement and accessibility.

Data shows that the millennial generation (born between 1983 and 1997) will rise up to 70% of China’s consumption growth by 2025. A recent study shows that Chinese millennials purchase luxury items more frequently and spend more than the previous generations at their age. As the highest potential consumer symbol for luxury brands, it was only a matter of time before marketers introduce gaming to attract the millennial shopper.

eCommerce Gamification in China: Wechat

Interesting eCommerce Gamification Campaigns in China

Here are a few examples of some of the best e-commerce gamification campaigns that have been successfully implemented in China:

Alibaba’s “Singles’ Day” Campaign

Alibaba’s annual Singles’ Day shopping festival, held on November 11th, is a prime example of e-commerce gamification at its best. The event features interactive games, virtual treasure hunts, and real-time quizzes that users can participate in to win discounts, coupons, or even exclusive products.

Alibaba leverages gamification to create a highly engaging and exciting shopping experience, resulting in record-breaking sales year after year.

Taobao’s Game using AR, launched during the 11.11 festival
Taobao’s Game using AR, launched during the 11.11 festival’s “Joybuy Lucky Draw”’s e-commerce platform, Joybuy, implemented a gamified campaign called “Joybuy Lucky Draw.” Users can earn virtual lottery tickets by completing various actions, such as making purchases, sharing products, or inviting friends to join the platform. These tickets can then be used to participate in a lucky draw for a chance to win prizes ranging from discounts to high-value products.

The campaign incentivizes active engagement and encourages users to explore different aspects of the platform.

Pinduoduo’s “Team Purchase” Game

Pinduoduo, a popular social commerce platform in China, introduced a gamified feature called “Team Purchase.” Users can invite friends or join existing teams to unlock better discounts for products.

By encouraging social interaction and collaboration, Pinduoduo gamifies the shopping experience, fostering a sense of community and enhancing the thrill of finding great deals together.

eCommerce Gamification in China: Pinduoduo

Xiaohongshu’s “Red Packets” Campaign

Xiaohongshu (RED), a social commerce platform focused on lifestyle and fashion, launched a gamified campaign centered around virtual red packets. During certain promotional periods, users could shake their smartphones to receive virtual red packets containing discounts, cashback rewards, or even surprise gifts.

The campaign successfully generated buzz and encouraged users to actively engage with the platform, fostering a sense of excitement and exclusivity.

Taobao Live’s Interactive Games

Taobao Live, Alibaba’s live streaming platform, frequently incorporates interactive games during product demonstrations to engage viewers. Influencers may host quizzes, challenges, or mini-games related to the showcased products, allowing viewers to participate and win exclusive discounts or limited-edition items.

These gamified features not only entertain the audience but also drive sales and increase conversion rates.

Gamification mistakes to avoid

There are some errors from both business and branded gamification initiatives that you had to know in order to avoid some mistakes.

Too many rewards at the same time

The reward is a positive way that helps identify accomplishment. Unfortunately, too many gifts could become bad. In fact, if users are being rewarded too much for every little action the value of rewards is lost on them, making the reward system null.

The main goal of gamification is encouraging users to carry out specific actions, rewards are an indicator of growth and progression.

Stop thinking that gamification campaign will solve a brand’s problems

Gamification is often viewed by companies or brands as a solution tool for marketing, and internal operations. When companies/brands find that their products or services are not getting the results that they hoped for, they decide to try something “new” to see if the results change.

Misunderstanding and no clear campaign goals

Without a clear plan, you will not be able to manage the gamification campaign, keep the game alive, or make improvements. The reason for such high failure rates was and still is due to poor design, which is an outcome of having no clear campaign goals.

Brands used to adopt gamification with a broad stroke overview of how a campaign will work, assuming that putting your branding on a game and hoping that people will play. In order to have an effective gamification design, you must start by defining and having a clear understanding of your target.

Not enough user motivators

Gamification is not just a passive form of marketing, it requires users to be continually motivated in order to participate and carry out the desired action. This is a higher-risk form of marketing compared to most traditional tools.

Your campaign needs to overcome, simply to initiate customer engagement. Motivation is the way, it is what will make someone care, and what will encourage a user to continue.

How Can Your Gamification Campaign Be Fun & Engaging?

Winning always makes users feel good, and more engaged with a brand. Brands are willing to use games in different forms such as quizzes, contests, and challenges to get audiences involved. We all know that the use of mobile devices is a great opportunity for brands because Chinese people are always connected.

Over 80% of Chinese play video games approximately four times a week. With e-commerce gamification marketing, companies or brands can easily reach this market and increase their sales and revenue by meeting their customers where their interest and attention are already being invested. There are multiple ways your brand can take advantage of WeChat gamification marketing, but you can’t move forward without a strategy.

What Gentlemen Marketing Agency can do for you?

Looking ahead, the e-commerce gamification market in China is poised for continued growth. The integration of advanced technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is expected to further enhance the gamified shopping experience.

Additionally, the rise of personalized marketing, data analytics, and AI-driven recommendation systems will enable businesses to deliver tailored gamification strategies that cater to individual preferences and behaviors.

The e-commerce gamification market in China presents tremendous opportunities for businesses to engage consumers, drive sales, and foster brand loyalty. As consumer expectations continue to evolve, companies that leverage gamification effectively and stay attuned to the latest market trends will be well-positioned to succeed in this exciting and ever-growing industry.


Let us help you with your e-commerce gamification strategy in China! We can add the brand elements of our customers and link them with our promotion strategy.

As you launch your e-commerce gamification campaign, you should be mindful of where your target audience will be and what kind of content they will respond to. We can publish interactive games as a single event and post the game by pushing articles or images.

Location-based marketing promotes your brand to customers while they are in your building and actively engaging with your brand. When it comes to building atmosphere, some stores just want to have people present. That is why certain chains and independent cafes/restaurants have adopted in-store competition as a means of keeping butts in seats. Gamification is a fun way to get customers to engage with your business, pass the time, and form deeper brand loyalty. It comes with the added bonus of allowing you to collect valuable customer data that helps you learn about and connect with shoppers and clients.

Transform offline customers into online followers. For more information Contact us!

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