Using Sports Leagues as Models to Gamify Contests in Retail

1338391365656_048f2 volleyballWhen it comes to gamification of work inside large organizations, it is just as important to focus on the team as the individual. Because, let’s face it, Retail is highly competitive and it is best played as a team based activity.

The sports team metaphor can be a powerful driver of performance.

Team contest and championships have long been used in organizations to drive performance and extraordinary achievements.

  • Team spirit is infectious. Peer pressure to perform and not let the team down boosts performance all around. It also drives individuals to improve their own skills, to be a better contributor to the winning effort.
  • Role players contribute their unique skills. While individuals may not want to compete in individual events because they think they do not have a chance to win, bringing together a collection of diverse talents into a team, gives everybody a chance to contribute to a winning effort.

Many retailers already conduct individual and team based contests to boost performance. But we can do more than awarding the top performing store managers a trip to Las Vegas. Using proven game techniques, it is possible to structure a rewards system that recognizes and reinforces the behaviors that result in high achievement scores. And involve everyone in gamified competitions right up to the final event.

How do you make contests play more like a game? In discussions with several retailers, we have been looking at major worldwide sports competitions and leagues for clues.

  • Leaderboards are a well recognized staple to report on standings in a league
  • Soccer leagues worldwide promote and demote teams to and from the top, premiere leagues based on team performance
  • The Olympic Games have medals for both team and individual efforts.
  • Most sports now monitor personal best records and all-time best records allowing players to compete against themselves as well as others
  • Professional sport leagues use pre-season camps to allow players to hone their skills and for managers to develop strategies taking into account the talents they have on the team
  • And not be overlooked, ESPN has perfected the art of fan and participant engagement in its TV, print and website reporting.

Formalizing competitive game, league and event structures for retailers to boost productivity is a no-brainer. With the new digital tools available today, we can also make it more fun and engaging.

By the way, I really like this quote from the author and speaker Bill Taylor:

“Players win games, teams win championships.”


Stuart Silverman

About The Author

Stuart Silverman has designed, installed and marketed the full spectrum of systems used to provide competitive edge for retail organizations.

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