Gamification Black Friday. How we made the game in 10 days

    I don’t like how Black Friday is organized in Russia.
    While in the U.S. they sell a ton of interesting devices for nothing, our retailers give discounts on goods they don’t need (like flash drives), or engage in fictitious sales (raise prices before the action and make a slight discount to the regular price). Fortunately, we can do something different and show other retailers how to work.

    First, a few words about the history of Black Friday.
    This concept appeared in the XIX century, during the financial crisis of 1869 in the USA.
    Let me quote the Tjournal edition:
    Since the end of the nineteenth century, it was customary to call the days of severe economic upheaval “black”. For example, on September 24, 1869, the name “Black Friday” was forever entrenched: then the US Treasury without warning arranged a massive release of gold to the market in order to adjust its rate, which is growing rapidly due to financial speculation. Within a few hours, the precious metal fell in price by 30 percent, which is why many Americans lost their fortunes.

    Read more about the history of Black Friday can be read on TJ .

    Nowadays, Black Friday has secured the status of the biggest sale of the year, allowing retailers to significantly increase sales in the New Year period. For example, last year on Black Friday goods worth $ 57.4 billion were sold, of which $ 1.2 billion worth of goods were sold on the Internet.

    Black Friday came to Russia only last year with the Blackfriday2013 project. An article was published about him on Habré (when the project site fell and didn’t want to go up).
    Only the lazy did not scoff at the guys who organized this sale:

    Yes, they were not ready for the loads on the site, and not all sellers offered decent discounts, but overall it was the first such experience for Russia and those who made a high-quality price offer eventually found satisfied customers. It is worth recognizing that the mood still prevailed on the network, like "We live in Russia, what you wanted, they will deceive us here and leave us without pants."

    Madrobots at the time of the launch of the campaign in 2013 was still completely “green” and we did not yet know what we could offer. Yes, and did not know how to quickly rebuild.
    But we could see what the online shops were doing on Black Friday.
    Most of them worked according to a debugged scheme:
    1. Determines the start date of the sale and the list of goods with discounts
    2. The user is invited to leave an email address and receive a notification of the start of the sale
    3. At the time of sale, the user receives a letter about the start of the action
    4. The most interesting positions fly away in the first 2-3 minutes of the action.

    Those who did not have time to buy a cheaply interesting device are left to bite their elbows.

    We thought that we could improve this mechanics and decided to combine 2 elements:
    • popular devices with very attractive prices
    • element of equalization and competition between participants

    There we came up with the Electronic Queue. Almost as usual, but electronic.
    We made a game where social capital (the number of friends, subscribers) can greatly increase the chances of buying equipment at a discount.
    This is done through the mechanics of the "electronic queue", when leaving the mail on the page, the user receives a serial number at the tail of the queue and in order to advance, he needs to perform as many social actions as possible (like, share, retweet).

    Stage 1. How to make an action attractive

    We have chosen the 5 most desirable gadgets among geeks:
    • Xbox one
    • Playstation 4
    • Jawbone up24
    • Moto 360
    • GoPro HERO4 Black Edition

    We decided to sell all these devices at a price significantly lower than their retail cost and in a limited quantity of 5 pieces each. Moreover, the price is valid only when paying for the order using PayPal, which further limits the possibility of purchase.

    At this stage, we formed a pool of devices that should provide interest in the action.

    Stage 2. How to equalize the chances of participants to buy

    To equalize the chances of the participants, we did 2 things:
    • divided the stock into 5 parts
    • tied the time of receiving the newsletter about the start of the sale to user activity

    Within 4 days from November 28 to December 1, every few hours we will open 21 products on the promotion page according to the rule - 1 gadget from TOP5 + 20 devices.

    We keep the start time of sales a secret, so that everyone has an equal chance of buying an attractive device.
    In total there will be 5 announcements of the action, which will occur at a random time between 08:00 and 23:00 Moscow time.
    At the start of the sale, everyone who has left their contacts on the sale page will receive a notification by mail (and by phone if you leave it).

    Stage 3. How to gamify the sale

    The next task for us was to figure out how to inform the largest possible audience about the action.
    The solution is obvious. It is necessary that the participants in the sale were interested in disseminating information about the action.
    To do this, we used the "electronic queue."
    We decided to link the user number in the "electronic queue" with the time when he will receive a notification about the start of the sale.
    A simple rule applies: the basis of the queue is the number of points scored by the user. The higher the place in the line, the sooner the participant learns about the start of the sale.
    To advance in line, you need to complete the proposed actions and get points for them.
    This widget looks something like this:

    Participants rating is updated in real time.
    All participants of the action are ranked by the number of points scored for completed tasks.
    The first 100 participants by rating will receive a notification about the start of the next sale wave several minutes before it starts, each subsequent 100 participants will receive a newsletter with a delay of 30 seconds.
    The faster the user responds to the campaign newsletter, the higher his chances of becoming one of the lucky owners of the new device.

    To process social data, we used the engine of the service .
    Magictab is a kind of social loyalty program, where for various social actions (like, tweet, subscription, etc.) the user can receive bonuses from the company up to its products or significant discounts.
    Together with the guys from Magictab, we customized their widget, where the user is invited to perform a series of actions and advance in the queue.
    Magictab developed the “Board of Honor”, ​​where you can see your place in the queue and the number of points scored:

    Stage 4. How to gamify the sale even more

    But this was not enough for us and we decided to further increase the speed of disseminating information about the action. In order to leave your email address, you must first share the page on the social network so that the subscription block opens:

    An experienced habrayuzer will notice that we are not checking whether the user sent the post or not.

    Only 10 days have passed from the idea to the launch of the action page, and I am proud of it.
    If you delve into the code and design, you will find a lot of flaws that we just did not manage to fix (for example, due to the method of determining the user, the Magictab widget does not support the Safari browser).
    I would be grateful for private messages listing the problems found or indicating them in the comments to this post.

    Preliminary results of the action for the first day after the start

    A little less than a day has passed since the launch of the announcement of Black Friday.
    And we already have something to share.
    Firstly, it became clear that we did not understand the mechanics.
    On the page itself there is no explanation of how the action works.
    We will not have time to fix this in the design, but we took it into account for future promotions.
    But at the same time, we realized that the mechanics we had invented worked. You will find a few numbers to confirm this below.

    Social networks and subscriptions

    • ~ 4,000 people in the e-queue who left their mail
    • Facebook> 1,000 Share Shares
    • Twitter> 500 tweets
    • Vkontakte is still unclear how many posts, but also hundreds
    • ~ 3,000 new Madrobots followers on social networks

    Attendance and sales

    • The traffic to Black Friday page for the first day exceeded 10,000 people.
    • We received about 150 orders for ~ 1 million rubles, most of them without discounts. Just more people found out that there is such a store -

    I am very glad that we began to work quickly. As fast as a startup should work. All this thanks to the different teams and people who work together with Madrobots.

    Worked on the action:

    The account of user actions - Service
    Programming promostranitsy - High Tech Center
    Hosting, stress testing, site support - the agency MCT
    creation and formatting of email adresses - Agency Digdog

    In the next post I will write on the results of the action in more detail about how the stock worked and what we've learned .
    Ask questions in the comments and write about what aspects of the store and the action page you would be interested to know.

    If you leaf through the post to the end and have not yet visited the site, below is a link to the action page:

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