How could retail brands leverage techniques used in online gaming to increase engagement and revenue?

To explore this topic we were joined in the first of our Biglight Briefings by Karen Cham, Professor of digital transformation and expert in human centred design.

Characterising herself as a mad inventor, Karen has had a varied career across a variety of contexts, but in essence is a human-centred designer who works with technology on what’s happening next.

In her view, the coronavirus crisis has accelerated our thinking and the need for innovation, it has emphasised the need to be agile as a way of thinking, doing and being. She believes massive change is possible in a very short time if you think digitally and laterally.

During her interesting and highly entertaining presentation, supported by real-world examples and academic research, she explored the following topics:


  • The evolution of digital disruption, from the first-generation players like Limewire, who created new ways to distribute digital signals, to third generation disruptors like Uber, who changed social interactions, often with undesirable consequences.
  • That retail brands haven’t gone far enough in their digital transformation journeys and there are many opportunities for them to innovate and go further.
  • How brands need to understand their value proposition as a combination of customer experience, brand values and the product itself and how they can migrate this into the digital domain.
  • That, by increasing the number of senses involved in an interaction, we can increase engagement and once somebody is immersed, their responses are much more visceral, with a direct correlation on commercial outcomes.
  • How the gaming industry learned from early marketing techniques in gamification and harnessed visceral engagement to create a hugely valuable industry that continues to grow.
  • That brands like Star Wars and artists like Travis Scott have recognised the potential of hosting in-game events to generate levels of engagement that are unprecedented in the world of ecommerce, as they launch new products.  
  • How there are clear opportunities for retail brands to do the same, using their brands as a social anchor - what is Black Friday after all, other than an extrinsic, massive multiplayer roleplayer game? 


To watch Karen’s presentation click here - we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It you’d like to get in touch with her directly, she’d be pleased to hear from you - just click here.

A big thank you to Karen for taking part and to our partners Tech Circus for their support. 

Our next Biglight Briefing is on 24th June at 17:00 BST, when we will be joined by Will Page, former Chief Economist at Spotify to explore what retail can learn from the music industry's journey from potential oblivion to recovery. 

As usual, it's remote and it’s free!

Click here to register