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From Points To Play: Is Gamification The Secret Weapon Of Middle East Loyalty Programs?

Updated: Jul 4

It’s the dream!

Which is?

Capturing the customer loyalty of the Middle East market: That’s the dream!

Imagine the sun glinting off skyscrapers as you sip chai in a Dubai Cafe, effortlessly managing your investments on your smartphone. Across the bustling marketplace, tourists marvel at the Burj Khalifa, seamlessly paying for souvenirs with a tap of their digital wallet. This is the Middle East, a land of vibrant contrasts, skyrocketing purchasing power, and a booming FinTech scene where innovation thrives daily.

But with so much competition, how do you stand out and cultivate lasting customer loyalty in this dynamic market? That's where gamification comes in.

Gamifying user experiences in FinTech is the rising star reshaping the Middle East loyalty programs. While FinTech has already revolutionized financial experiences, gamification unlocks its next chapter, transforming sterile transactions into thrilling journeys for customers. It makes managing finances an adventure, and your brand becomes synonymous with fun, engagement, and customer loyalty.

Why the Middle East Loyalty Rewards Program Market craves Gamification

Traditional loyalty programs have generally been like a camel plodding across the desert – steady and reliable but lacking excitement. Several UAE customer loyalty programs have captured customers' hearts with their simple & effective systems.

Shukran Rewards, for example, is the biggest loyalty program in the Middle East, boasting over 10 million members. It is the Landmark Group’s award-winning retail loyalty program that offers personalized rewards & experiences enabling customers to earn & use points (shukrans) to shop with them or their partner brands.

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Another good example is the Baitak Rewards program by the Kuwait Finance House. It offers three tiers with options for multiple cards suitable to various customer segments.

These are some of the programs with the best loyalty in UAE, and their successful adoption proves that loyalty programs are a massive deal in the region. So, there is a huge potential in the Middle East for FinTech players to boost their customer loyalty programs.

But why should you gamify your loyalty programs?

As evident, Middle Eastern consumers crave unique experiences and exclusive rewards, and they have the spending power to back it up. It’s just that the traditional points programs just don't tickle their fancy any more.

Amidst a significant prevalence of online gaming in the UAE and a cultural penchant for challenges, the transition from conventional loyalty programs to gamified strategies becomes increasingly imperative. The change is not just a response to trends but a strategic alignment with the preferences and behaviors of Middle Eastern consumers.

Giants like Majid Al Futtaim's "Share" program and the UAE Exchange's "Wisely" are already gamifying rewards, offering digital badges, personalized challenges, and interactive levels. 

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This trend isn't limited to retail – FinTech players are taking to the sand, too. Imagine earning badges for timely bill payments or unlocking exclusive investment options by completing financial quizzes. Gamification breathes life into Fintech, transforming mundane tasks.

What areas of Fintech can gamification improve?

Savings goals become treasure hunts, loan repayments climb experience ladders, and financial literacy transforms into a competitive arena. It's a future where every tap and swipe holds the potential for a reward, fostering engagement and economic well-being.

Weaving Gamification Right for the Middle East

Gamification isn't a one-size-fits-all robe. To thrive in the Middle East loyalty rewards program market, it must be adorned with cultural threads woven with sensitivity and understanding. That's where culturally aware gamification transforms loyalty programs into experiences that resonate with regional values and preferences.

Imagine leaderboards that showcase financial prowess, acts of charity, and community engagement. Think of badges celebrating financial milestones and rewarding cultural achievements like Ramadan fasting or Hajj completion. By aligning gamified experiences with these preferences, loyalty management systems of Fintech apps transcend mere transactions, becoming gateways to a culturally relevant loyalty journey.

This cultural sensitivity unlocks robust engagement. It fosters a sense of belonging and purpose, making users feel their financial choices connect with their values and community. It's about more than points and badges.

How does Gamified Fintech Build Customer Loyalty

Boosted Engagement

Gamification elements like points, badges, and leaderboards motivate users to interact more with the app.

Mashreq Bank did just that by turning banking into a game. Their Salaam loyalty program added points, badges, and leaderboards to spice up how people interact with their services. They turned their customer’s financial journey into a friendly competition.

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Supercharged Brand Loyalty

Building a community vibe through gamification is a game-changer.

Take Dubai Islamic Bank's Walaa Rewards program, for example. They nailed the art of making customers feel part of an exclusive club. With their "DIB Rewards" program, they're not just about banking transactions; they're about building a community. Imagine getting virtual gifts and exclusive experiences just for being a loyal customer. It's like being in a VIP crew; that connection with the brand goes way beyond just dollars and cents.

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Improved Financial Behaviours

Gamification isn't just fun; it can also push people to develop smart money habits.

The potential impact of gamification goes beyond engagement, loyalty, and behavior change. It personalizes experiences, offering tailored challenges and rewards that speak to individual goals and aspirations. It collects valuable data on user behavior, allowing you to optimize your program and provide ever-evolving adventures. Most importantly, it humanizes FinTech, transforming cold screens into playful platforms for engagement and growth.

Success Stories of Gamification in Middle Eastern Fintech

The sands of the Middle East FinTech landscape are shifting, and gamification is the rising tide. Here are just a few success stories demonstrating its transformative power:

Warba Bank: Their gamified loyalty program, powered by Open Loyalty, saw a 30% increase in app engagement and a 25% rise in active users. Customers embark on "financial journeys," earning points and badges for completing tasks like bill payments and transfers. Clearly, gamification has turned financial management into an engaging experience for Warba Bank users.

Zywa: This Gen Z-focused neobank leverages gamification to educate and empower young adults. Their app features playful challenges, rewards for saving goals, and a vibrant social community. The result? A 50% higher average account balance compared to traditional banks. Zywa proves that gamification can make financial well-being a fun and social adventure for the next generation.

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Emirates NBD: This banking giant partnered with Nagarro to implement gamification in their app. Users earn points for everyday transactions, unlocking exclusive rewards, and climbing leaderboards. This playful approach led to a 15% increase in customer satisfaction and a 20% rise in app usage. It's a testament to the power of gamification in driving loyalty and engagement within established financial institutions.

Beyond these shining examples, there are several other success stories.

The message is clear: gamification reshapes the FinTech Loyalty programs in Middle East. By embracing the gamification of loyalty programs, FinTech companies can cultivate lasting customer loyalty, drive engagement, and make financial journeys truly rewarding.

Gamification: the Golden Sands of UAE Customer Loyalty Programs

Fintech gamification unlocks financial doors across the Middle East, from bustling cities to remote villages. This tech-driven wave makes financial services accessible and engaging for everyone, fostering economic empowerment through playful experiences.

Key Takeaways:

Financial Inclusion for All: Fintech is bridging the gap, bringing even the unbanked into the financial fold through accessible, gamified experiences.

Sharia-compliant Fun: Innovation meets tradition with Sharia-compliant gamification, ensuring ethical engagement while staying true to local values.

Collaboration is Key: Fintech startups partner with established financial institutions, combining agility with stability to enrich the financial ecosystem.

Youth Take the Lead: Tailored gamified experiences cater to the tech-savvy youth, making financial journeys as exciting as the destination.

Cultural Nuances Matter: From local storytelling to culturally-inspired app design, personalization is critical to winning hearts and minds in the diverse Middle East.

The future of finance in the Middle East is bright, playful, and inclusive. As gamification takes center stage, the region is poised for a financial revolution, one tap at a time. 

Are you ready to leap to gamify your loyalty program in Middle East? Start with Flyy. Join the league of FinTech leaders like BFC Payments, who are at the forefront of making the change with us. 



Want to know how Gamified Loyalty can help your company? 

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