Of the many factors that make F2P games successful, one of the most important is to have a store where players spend a considerable amount of time. This article presents tricks for getting players to your store and some strategies to keep them there.
Briefly, here are the four best ways to make users spend more of their time in your store
- Make a return to the store a crucial part of the regular flow of users
- Have your store contain everyday items people need to play the game
- Make the shopping experience interesting
- Place limits on continuous gameplay without having to visit the store
1. Game Designs with User Flows that Integrate Shopping
Getting users to flow into your game’s store in a seamless and natural way can be easily achieved if you make it part of the regular sequence of events within your game. For example, in games where there are different levels, you might be able to design a user flow that includes a trip to the store at the start or finish of every level. In games that have a “repeated scene” users can also flow into your store at the end of each interval. These two types of designs cover a large segment of the mobile games already out there. If your mobile game design doesn’t fit into either of these categories, there still may be a way to tie a routine visit to your store into any regular occurring event like an achievement or after a bonus. Additionally, it’s a good practice to add a small indicator with a number showing how many items are available for purchase.
Another strategy for getting players more frequentlyto your store could be to select an active virtual item followed by a selection of purchasable goods. This approach is called “equipping”. This is where a player is able to equip his or her character with only one virtual good at a time. This integrates the store interface into your user flow to make equipping part of a new scenario where the player first enters the store.
2. Offer Everyday Virtual Goods that Require Multiple Returns to the Store.
This strategy designs a consumption loop which repeats itself at regular intervals, like every 1 to 3 stages or levels. But how, you ask, do you design a simple loop that consumes virtual goods? Here’s an example. When a player begins a level, place just enough coins for the user to purchase a ‘no brainer’ virtual item that’s good for using only once. Next time the player begins the level all over again but with the good he or she just purchased. This time the player collects enough gold coins to purchase the same one-time virtual good again but also manages to save a few extra coins.
As this progresses, you can imagine how this consumption loop will eventually get the player habituated into spending coins in your store every day and becoming familiar with all your purchasable items in your in-App store.
Checklist: Do your virtual goods make for good everyday items?
- Does the virtual good being offered complete the game’s story, like a cowboy’s horse or a board to a surfer?
- Can the virtual items be earned by collecting enough coins to reach its purchase price after a few minutes of gameplay?
- Does the virtual good enhance the gameplay experience?
- Does the virtual item make it easier for characters to collect coins?
3. Making your Store More Interesting
A key to getting users to spend more time in your store is by constructing them to be more interesting. There are three ways to make your store to do this; by adding variety, by creating mystery and by retaining product freshness.
For the first, take the example of CSR Racing which now has in their catalog over 2 million different purchase combinations. Second, you can create a bit of mystery by silhouetting items until they become available. This way the player knows to check back in the store regularly to see if any more interesting items have come down the line. Getting users to check back to discover newly available items or by having a ‘surprise box’ can always keep up the intrigue. Third, remember to keep the items in your store as fresh as possible. Combine newly unlocked items with seasonal themes or new limited edition items with special features.
4. Place Limits on Continuous Gameplay
This final trick for getting people to your in-App store is risky because players might perceive it as unfair – so only apply this strategy cautiously, and remember to gauge users attitudes and reactions to you implementing subtle variations of this approach.
Here’s the idea: Design a resource in your game that is required for game play – this can be fuel, life or energy. Make these resources scarce and allow users to replenish their stock of this consumable resource by either making a purchase or waiting for a specific amount of time to pass. Force players into situations where they have to make tough choices, either wait and watch ads until the waiting time is over and the resources replenish, or go and do some window shopping in the store. If you have tried to include elements from the above suggestions, your players are more likely to buy something in your store while they are waiting and have nothing else to do.
Be Careful: this last trick is really dangerous. Before trying this trick, always make sure that your game and store are balanced. Look for other articles on this topic like – http://blog.soom.la/2013/07/game-economy-balancing-3-ways-to.html