Wait Marketing: Monetizing waiting time with gamification

Think about the last time you went shopping, saw a doctor, or took a flight… While these activities are quite different, they share a common element: waiting. You probably had to wait in line to pay for your groceries, wait in front of a concert hall before seeing your favorite artist, or queue to scan your carry-on before boarding the plane.

For users, this waiting time is often a test of patience and a waste of time. Yet, waiting can be transformed into a much more qualitative and productive experience through wait marketing. It can even turn from an unpleasant moment into a fun and enjoyable experience thanks to gamification.

In this article, we provide tips to improve your customer journey and engage users interactively through wait marketing.


What is Wait Marketing?

Wait marketing is a strategy where businesses capitalize on the consumer’s attention during waiting times to engage them. It can be defined as a non-intrusive, even opportune, communication strategy because it occurs precisely at a moment when any form of distraction is welcome.

According to a Pew Research survey, 77% of people use their smartphones while waiting in general. 53% use their smartphones when queuing, mainly to avoid boredom.

Broadcasting a marketing animation in a queue doesn’t bother the user by interrupting their activity (as a commercial would between two social media stories, for example). On the contrary, it allows them to be entertained during a traditionally perceived as boring or unproductive time.


The benefits of Wait Marketing

Waiting time is an ideal moment to capture consumers’ attention and promote the retention of a commercial message. This is seen with posters in the subway or at bus stops. However, by adding a touch of creativity and interactivity to these static formats, brands can turn waiting into an engaging brand experience, even converting new prospects.

It’s also a way to monetize spaces where consumers spend a lot of time, which are traditionally not used as communication channels. For example, the queue space in a physical store can be used to highlight products and boost cross-selling rates. However, it typically doesn’t convey an interactive experience with the brand, which would be more engaging for the customer.

The non-intrusive aspect of this form of advertising also allows companies to create a closer relationship with the consumer. The brand offers a real experience and helps make a previously perceived unpleasant or useless moment pass more quickly. The brand becomes a source of entertainment in addition to being a commercial organization promoting its products.

Thus, this waiting time is no longer a constraint but an opportunity. Companies can create an interactive experience based on customer insights. The challenge is to understand the audience and how the brand can help them pass the waiting time pleasantly.

Companies can leverage wait marketing to:

  • Motivate customers to come to the store;
  • Entertain during waiting times and avoid purchase abandonment;
  • Reward waiting time with instant wins;
  • Collect data on purchase intentions to personalize the customer journey;
  • Boost sales.


Enhancing Wait Marketing with gamification

The traditional waiting experience is generally deemed unpleasant because it is often considered boring or a waste of time. The challenge for companies wishing to engage consumers during this time is mainly to entertain them.

This is where gamification comes into play. This marketing strategy involves offering users fun experiences incorporating mechanics traditionally used in games.

Instead of using consumers’ attention to broadcast an ad, companies can engage them through an interactive and entertaining animation such as:

  • Instant win: This format allows the company to animate a queue while rewarding customers for their patience. It enables them to instantly win discount vouchers (or another reward) by playing a game.

  • Action games (such as a quiz, survey, vote, or swiper): This interactive format allows the company to entertain its customers during the wait. Again, it can reward their patience by offering prizes or other benefits. It’s also an effective way to collect data on audience preferences and analyze their purchase intentions.

With an Interactive Marketing solution, companies can better capitalize on their customers’ waiting time. The geolocation feature, for example, can restrict game access to only those customers present in the queue.

The CRM connection tool allows for leveraging data collected at a point of sale (notably on purchase intentions) to offer personalized in-store or online support. The brand can thus transform this data into a sales opportunity.


Wait Marketing: Scenarios and inspiring examples

In practice, the typical scenario of a wait marketing animation will take this form:

  • Drive to store: The customer goes to the store and finds themselves in a queue;
  • Access to the game: They discover the animation through posters in the queue and access it via a QR code or URL. The game can also be presented on an interactive kiosk.
  • Registration: They register using a simplified form and can opt-in to the brand and its partners;
  • Participation: They can play a game and find out their win immediately. Additionally, the brand can customize the game according to a wide range of scenarios;
  • Revelation and win: In the case of an instant win, they immediately receive a discount voucher usable in the store. If the brand chooses a raffle mechanism (which rewards participants after their store visit), the customer can receive their prize by email or SMS. This can also be a purchase voucher encouraging them to buy again from the brand.


An example of a marketing campaign to animate waiting

For example, Auchan supermarkets implemented a wait marketing animation in their stores. During their year-end sales event, the chain distributed a scratch card with a unique code for every purchase over €10 in-store, plus an extra card for loyalty cardholders. The campaign counted nearly 183,000 registrants in two weeks, and 325,000 codes were used.

Eurotunnel, the company operating the Channel Tunnel, capitalized on its users’ waiting time to gain visibility and generate new leads. The company used a slot machine with a registration form, accessible only to those with a ticket number. This captivating format, along with attractive prizes (smartphones and earphones), boosted participation rates, totaling 29,000 games played.



Wait marketing is thus a profitable strategy to capitalize on customers’ waiting time and engage them through interactive animations. Use it to improve your customer experience and strengthen your brand image with Betshot Studio.