عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction. In recent years, online channels are rapidly replacing traditional channels, so that shopping and consumption have grown with an annual growth rate of more than 18% in the last decade. Gamification has quickly become a trend in service marketing. Gamification is a service improvement process that is achieved by achieving useful game experiences and its purpose is to support the user creating overall value in the game. In fact, the use of game design elements (for example: points, billboards and badges) in non-game contexts is to promote user engagement. Many researches refer to it as the main goal in this field. Many researches that have been done about gamification and its effects emphasized the entertainment aspect and customer experience, but the rational and psychological aspects of using gamification and its effects on customer behavior, including conflict, have been neglected. While the role and importance of perceived service quality in customer behavior cannot be ignored, through the implementation of gamification, service quality can be improved in the mind of the consumer. Thus, this paper aims to investigate the effect of gamified e-service quality on customer behavioral intention through customer engagement as mediator in e-retailing.
Methodology. The present research is a mixed study. The data of this research were collected in two quantitative and qualitative stages. In the qualitative phase, a semi-structured interview was used to collect the opinions of elites and managers, and with thematic analysis method, concepts and themes related to the variables were obtained and categorized. Then, by studying previous theoretical literature, the research conceptual model and research questions were designed. In the quantitative stage, it included confirmatory factor analysis for scale validation, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equations. The sample population of consumers was considered to be users of online retail stores, who were selected non-randomly available. Quantitative stage data was collected through a questionnaire designed with a 5-point Likert scale. The sample size for confirmatory factor analysis was 549 buyers. The collected data were used for confirmatory factor analysis using SMART PLS 3 software.
Discussion and Results
Based on the results obtained from the theme analysis, ease of use, reliability, interaction, visual appeal, emotional appeal and security were introduced as dimensions of the gamified e-services quality. Among these dimensions of interaction, visual appeal and emotional appeal were extracted from thematic analysis. Identified outcomes include customer engagement, behavioral tendencies. According to the results, the gamified e-services quality positively affects customer engagement and behavioral intentions. The relationship between customer engagement and customer behavioral tendencies is also significant. In addition, customer engagement mediates the relationship between the gamified e-services quality and customer behavioral tendencies.
Conclusion. This study connects gamification to service marketing on gamification as a service system and game design elements can be considered as services. Based on this, gamification served as a quality improvement process. Also, this study showed that the quality of gamified e-services is a multidimensional variable consisting of security, interaction, emotional appeal, and visual appeal. Second, investigations on indirect effects also showed that the effect of the quality of gamified e-services on customer behavioral intention is positive and strong through the mediating variable of customer engagement.
Confirming the impact of the quality of gamified e-services quality on customer engagement shows that the player's participation in the game completes the game service by creating interaction. This concept is also consistent with the definitions of games, where the player's voluntary commitment and participation are seen as one of the main building blocks of a game. However, according to service marketing theory, customer engagement with a brand or organization leads to his positive performance in terms of introducing and providing positive feedback to the organization. Gamification can be a customer feedback mechanism that creates a low-cost and powerful channel for attracting and retaining customers, and helps managers focus on creating superior brands in the minds of customers. Also, collecting and analyzing opinions and feedback from customers can provide companies with the knowledge needed to improve product quality and product development. In line with the results of this research, they showed that understanding the quality of electronic services can cause more customer involvement. Our results help e-retail managers identify customers based on their personality traits and focus their marketing efforts accordingly as they seek to capitalize on engaged customers. Service providers should use mass media effectively to evoke a sense of connection with customers and the importance of the service to them. They should also continuously interact with customers through social media where gamification can be implemented and immersion can be enhanced.
These results help the companies to have a comprehensive and documented planning in the customer satisfaction survey and to know their opinions about their purchases. Categorize customers based on the number of purchases and purchase times, and by identifying and targeting loyal customers, consider incentive programs for them. In the same way, encourage other customers to finalize the purchase by playing games.
Based on the results obtained from the model, retail companies can design and formulate a strategic document for designing the customer journey through gamification of their journey based on communication elements such as team building and communication between retailers and users, and personal characteristics such as identity characteristics, which will lead to predicting behaviors and evoking the behavioral tendencies of customers through gamification. Improving managers' understanding of customer expectations will help them respond quickly and effectively to the needs of customers who access and use the website. Meanwhile, game dynamics and mechanics should be used to create conflict and persuade customers to increase their durability.