Sweeter than Sugar: The Gamification of Temu

Sweeter than Sugar: The Gamification of Temu๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ›๏ธ(And why our kids love It) ๐Ÿ’–

Temu, the latest online shopping platform to pop up on our kids’ devices, has captivated their hearts and minds through its gamification features. So when Joshi next begs for your card details, itโ€™s important to understand what lies beneath the need for yet another hoodie. The answer lies in how Temu has cleverly incorporated game-like elements into the shopping experience, making it more engaging and addictive. ๐Ÿ›’โœจ

THE GAMIFICATION ELEMENTS

  1. Reward Systems: Temu uses reward systems such as spinning wheels, daily bonuses, and surprise discounts to keep users hooked. Each spin or surprise offer provides a small dopamine hit, the brain’s way of rewarding us for engaging in enjoyable activities. This creates a cycle of continuous CHEMICAL ENGAGEMENT, where kids feel compelled to return to the app frequently, not so much for the hoodie but often for the chemical hit itself. ๐Ÿ”„๐ŸŽ
  2. Discounts and Special Offers: The promise of getting 50% off or other significant discounts creates a sense of urgency and excitement. KIDS FEEL REWARDED for making purchases, which reinforces the behaviour of buying more. ๐Ÿท๏ธ๐Ÿ’ธ
  3. Social Features: Temu often includes social sharing options, encouraging users to share their purchases and deals with friends. This not only broadens Temuโ€™s reach but also CREATES A COMMUNITY ASPECT, MAKING SHOPPING A MORE SOCIAL AND ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE FOR KIDS.๐Ÿคณ๐Ÿ’ฌ
  4. Progression and Achievement: Just like in video games, Temu offers a SENSE OF PROGRESSION AND ACHIEVEMENT. As kids continue to use the app, they unlock new levels, earn badges, and achieve milestones, which keeps them engaged and motivated to shop more. ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ“ˆ
  5. Perceived Urgency: By using timers and countdowns to convince our kids that deals are running out. This strategy is not dissimilar to sitting at a slot machine and the sounds associated with button pushing heighten arousal levels. โณ๐ŸŽฐ

Now, brands worldwide are attempting to cash in on this phenomenon, incorporating spin-to-win features, quizzes, and elaborate referral systems on their sites. Even iconic brands such as Starbucks and Sephora have added gamified elements to their online reward programs. All of this on our kids’ developing brains means that the gamification of shopping on platforms like Temu can have several effects on children:

  • Increased Screen Time: The engaging features can lead to increased screen time, as kids spend more time exploring deals and playing the gamified elements. ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ•’
  • Shopping Addiction: The constant rewards and discounts can foster addictive shopping behaviors, where kids feel the need to make frequent purchases to continue experiencing the dopamine hits. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ๐Ÿง 
  • Financial Implications: Frequent purchases can lead to unnecessary spending, impacting both the childโ€™s and the familyโ€™s finances. ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ“‰

All of these factors make for a worthwhile chat. ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

What should I do?
Decide ahead of time how many times a season you will allow a Temu shop.Make it fun by scrolling through things together.Load items in the basket and PAUSE. Leave items in the basket for a weekend together, decide a week later what top five items are a โ€˜have to haveโ€™.Throw in some chats around, โ€œWhy this and not that?,โ€ โ€œWhat do you love about this?,โ€ โ€œWhen do you think you will use this?โ€ and โ€œHow do you feel about quality vs quantity?โ€ all of these are opportunities for learning.

CONVERSATION STARTERS๐Ÿ’ฌ

  1. “Have you noticed how when you scroll on Temu you feel like you are playing a game? Why do you think they add features like spinning wheels or daily rewards?” ๐ŸŽก๐ŸŽ
  2. “We all love a good deal, but did you know that getting discounts and rewards online can give your brain a little burst of happiness from a chemical called dopamine? That chemical can make you want a bigger burst of happiness the next time, so you keep going back to spend on their site. Does this make you feel like they are manipulating you into buying on Temu, or do you feel in control?” ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ›’
  3. “I get how itโ€™s fun to scroll through all the stuff on Temu, but sometimes endless hours can pass this way. How much time do you think is okay to spend on shopping apps?” โณ๐Ÿ“ฑ
  4. “Often things are โ€˜on saleโ€™ on Temu. How can we make sure we’re only buying what we really need?” ๐Ÿ›๏ธ๐Ÿ”
  5. “Can you think about what hoodie you really want and letโ€™s go look at some together in real life.” ๐Ÿ‘•๐Ÿฌ

Stay connected (and warm)

Sarah and Pam ๐Ÿ’–

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