Zigi leverages mobile games to bring foot traffic into physical stores

By January 15, 2013
gamer with her phone in the streets

Zigi leverages game mechanics to encourage gamers to visit nearby stores and earn in-app power ups. These users learn about nearby businesses as they visit shops or cafes for virtual items.


In the mobile gaming world, virtual goods were meant to create a new revenue stream for game developers, and branded virtual goods were seen as new advertising model that turned brands into players’ best friends. Location game platform Zigi is taking this model to the real world, by using the same game mechanics to drive foot traffic to local businesses. By Zigi’s own estimation, less than 5 percent of mobile gamers are willing to spend money to buy in-game items. However, more players would be open to visiting real shops in order to earn free power ups. Zigi’s platform is similar to traditional virtual goods platforms, but in the physical world.

Going to a local business to move on in the game

When a user needs some power ups to keep playing, Zigi shows her a map with a list of local businesses. When the player shows up at one of these locations, the system automatically sends her a push notification with a reminder to collect her in game item - the game does not require a manual check-in, it simply verifies location directly on the iOS device. Additionally, if the player is close enough to a point of sale, the business can send a special offer or discount for products. In China, Rovio’s Angry Birds players can visit any of 1,500 McDonald’s locations to receive in-game items using Zigi’s platform.

Foot traffic guaranteed

Zigi considers that integrating physical stores into a game is not only a good way to associate one’s brand to a positive experience in a user’s mind, but it also is a reliable technique to drive foot traffic into retail stores and local businesses. First of all, users play mobile games in the streets, on the go – in other words, just next to small businesses. Also, gamers need their power ups and virtual goods to keep playing, so they are more likely to actually show up at a physical store than in other location based advertising platforms which might encourage users to visit retailers, but don’t necessarily make sure they enter the store. According to Zigi, brands can effectively drive sale from a new channel of visitor with proper in-store marketing. Finally, the service provides analytics and insight about gamers and store visitors. 

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