Businesses large and small have been quick to adopt loyalty programs that offer a free or discounted products based on frequent purchases -- the "buy 10, get one free" approach. But giving away something for free that customers probably would have purchased anyway isn't they key to true customer loyalty, says gamification expert Gabe Zichermann.

Instead, businesses can incorporate gaming features such as challenges and quests to foster deeper engagement between the business and the customer, Zichermann says. A "gamified" loyalty program can also generate new business when existing customers get their friends playing, too, he says.