Chuck Yu is vice president of revenue operations at TrialPay, a leading cross-platform monetisation company.
Imagine standing on a street corner, engrossed in your favorite mobile game. After completing the level, you close the app and go into a local burger joint for lunch.
As soon as you pay for your meal, a notification alerts you that virtual currency has been sent to your game account as a reward for buying the burger.
By focusing on consumer behavior and everyday shopping habits, companies such as TrialPay have begun to bridge the gap between online and in-store experiences.
The offline opportunity
US consumers spend around $2.5 trillion annually in retail stores and restaurants. Despite healthy e-commerce growth (up 13 percent in 2012), consumers still spend 95 percent of their dollars at grocery stores, coffee shops and malls.
In this way, enabling offline transactions in apps and games is a huge untapped opportunity for developers.
Card-linked offers literally reach customers as they walk by a store, providing instant measurement and ROI tracking for online advertising spend.
By registering for an offer, users only have to swipe their card in the store to immediately receive a reward while bypassing clunky coupon print outs, or apps and their required check-ins.
Mobile devices are the perfect platform to take advantage of such card-linked offers. TrialPay's research shows twice as many mobile users make an in-store visit within the first three hours of seeing an offer compared to desktop users.
Tapping into offline behavior is a way for brands to leverage the gaming experience to create a positive customer interaction with their products.
Several companies are working to bridge the gap between mobile gaming and offline commerce. For example, TrialPay has developed in-store offers to reward gamers with virtual currency when they complete an in-store purchase with a registered card.
Other companies such as Kiip and PaeDae can reward users with tangible rewards for accomplishing objectives within a game. ShopKick doesn't even require purchases or a game. It rewards its app users for simply going to a participating store.
Paid to do what you do
We have found that players are happy to participate in these promotions because they are being rewarded for things they already plan to do.
Stores and restaurants have to compete for new and returning customers every day. Your users' engagement with your game currency can be the deciding factor that sends users to restaurant A instead of restaurant B.
In this way, you can be paid by an advertiser for your customers' loyalty to your game.
Budgets will follow
Every advertiser wants measureable, high quality leads. But big offline brands often struggle with how to measure impact of online ads on in-store transactions. The same brands also avoid aggressive online and mobile ad spending.
By allowing gamers access to card-linked offers, advertisers will be able to directly associate a high quality customer to its source. Budgets are quickly following!
We believe developers are the key to connecting consumer shopping habits and online/mobile gaming habits.
By controlling a majority share of mobile and online attention via their apps and games, they have an opportunity to delight users by rewarding them for completing everyday actions.