Changing the Game!

 

How Loyalty Enables Brick and Mortar Game Stores To Overcome Modern Challenges

 

Choose Your Weapon

 

From Crazy Eights to Call-of-Duty, Minecraft to Magic the Gathering, the gaming industry is absolutely massive.

Gone are the days that gaming was just a young boy’s hobby, as the industry has grown exponentially, and people from different demographics are coming together to join in on the fun. An industry report, dated April 2016, notes that 73% of gamers are 18 years of age or older, and 41% are female. These numbers show just how far the gaming industry has expanded from its humble beginnings, into a multi-billion dollar empire. Statistics show that in 2015, the global gaming industry generated $91.8 billion dollars, and is projected to grow in the coming years.

 

 

Age & Gender

Source: The ESA, Industry Facts

 

What these numbers show is that the gaming industry is continuing to grow, and there is a large amount of potential for businesses to thrive. However, the projected rise in the industry is bringing a lot of new players into the mix, all looking to get in on the action. And though the competition has always been stiff with retail shops, the rising digital downloads market has upped the difficulty level even further.

The digital downloading segment of the gaming industry first impacted game sales in 2009, and has progressively grown with each succeeding year. Noted by the chart below, 2014 was the first year that the digital market eclipsed the physical portion, and last year it accounted for 56% of overall sales. Included in this digital shift is the emerging popularity of mobile gaming. The mobile gaming industry presented a completely new style of gaming, and has continued to grow and compete with traditional gaming. Market researchers found that in 2015, mobile gaming took a lead over other gaming platforms, and has carved out its place in the industry.

Digital game downloadsSource: Statistica, Video game sales delivery by platform

 

 

The Roadblocks in Retail Gaming

With the competition in the gaming industry growing everyday, one of the biggest problems that game shops face is differentiating themselves from the rest of the competition. Considering the large number of merchants selling the same products, formulating a unique selling point for your shop allows consumers to connect with your business. This helps you build a relationship with those customers who frequently visit your store. The gaming community is a large part of the industry, so being linked to it is important, and a good way to engage with your customers.

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competition is how you communicate and engage with the customers who come into your shop. Customers, quite obviously, have different interests; while some may like first-person shooter games,  others will prefer role-playing games. The problem that arises for game shops is how to target these customers specific tastes and preferences. With the vast number of games that are out on the market, your business probably offers a number of different products, to meet the interest of your customers. That means that your consumers won’t want updates on products they would never buy. For example, if one of your customers is a board game fan, they most likely won’t want to see promotions for trading cards. Imagine a customer receiving your promotions on items they have no interest in, by the time the targeted promotion comes their way they will probably ignore it. Consumers do not like spam! A study found that 40.5% of consumers prefer ads that are tailored to their interests, and this fact is especially important in the gaming industry, where there is a diverse range of products available at your store.

Source: Marketing Charts, Consumers say they prefer...

Finally, a major challenge that gaming stores face is getting to customers before the rest of the competition on those special occasions. As the gaming industry frequently releases upgrades, and expansions, customers are looking to be the first ones to get their hands on new material. It’s easy enough to understand by the long lines on release dates! The issue of timing is something all game shops must be sure to think about, as gamers will go to the shop that can get them their content the fastest.

Source: Madcatz, Fans waiting in line for Halo 4

 

The Game Changers

With all of this in mind, it can be challenging to think of different ways to set your game store apart from the competition, and draw in a loyal customer base in the process. Below are three great solutions that are highly recommended for you to implement to truly differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.

Unlock the Potential of Rewards

The gaming industry is chock full of creativity, and that doesn’t have to stop with your business! Offering your consumers a special gift after purchases creates an incentive for customers to spend more at your shop, earn access to potential rewards, and keep coming back. Creating a loyalty program is an easy way to keep track of your customers’ spendings, and gives the incentive for customers to return to your store.

The rewards you present your customers should be relevant to their interests based on the different games that they play and their purchasing patterns. For example, a 25% discount off of XBox headsets, or buy two card packs and get the third free, offers a unique incentive to customers. A previous TapMango blog noted that loyal customers spend ten times more than regular customers, and in an industry that revolves around collecting, this has a lot of impact on gaming merchants. Get creative! Your customers will appreciate all the things that you can offer.

Group Customers

The ability to create exclusive groupings for your customers will be so important for easy and effective communication. This gives you a convenient way to message your customers about the games they play, and none of the rest. TapMango, for instance, allows you to automate the process by categorizing consumers to groups based on their product purchases. As an example, say you want to split your customers to XBOX and PS users; then when consumers buy XBOX or PS products they will be automatically associated to that group, respectively. Targeting your customers with relevant information they are interested in is the best way for them to find out about what your business has to offer, without pushing too much unwanted promotions.

Get Ahead of the Game

Pun intended. By offering a system that lets customers prepay for the content they are looking for, you’ll become the first and only game shop they want to visit. TapMango enables you to send out a message via sms or email that a new product or special sale is on the way. This provides your customers with the option to prepay at their convenience, directly from their mobile device or a computer, without having to come into the store. Or imagine your shop is hosting a Yugioh tournament, and you want to offer an advance ticket sale; this can make life a little less hectic when the rush of a tournament comes into play. Adding a digital payment option makes this an even faster and more efficient process, which can put you ahead. As people buy items or tickets online they continue to accumulate loyalty points in your store and have more of a reason to come back to redeem those points.

 

 

Strategy
Source: Rich as a King, Avoid clueless investing...

By utilizing these strategies, you help to build a relationship with consumers in hopes of having them return to your store. Our last blog highlighted the importance of connecting with your customers, to gain their loyalty for future purchases. With all the competition in the gaming industry, the different benefits your business can offer to your customers will set you apart from the rest. With the right strategy in place, victory is nothing more than a click, a roll, or a button-tap away.

For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com

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Connect and Collect

Engaging with customers in the age of referrals

 

Network 3.jpg

 

In today’s era of instant, infinite media, society has been flooded with advertisements, and each individual consumer is targeted for his/her business and loyalty. While sending a multitude of messages may be an effective way to reach your audience, it doesn’t guarantee that they will respond positively to them. A recent study shows that consumers are growing weary of online advertising, and as technology continues to advance, are finding new ways to negate the efforts of marketers. For instance, 71% of consumers find personalized and behaviour-based advertisements intrusive or annoying. Therefore, the method of communication you choose to interact with your customers is very important, as only the most specific channels will effectively reach them.

 

Blog 2 pic.png
Source: MarketingTech Blog, Everyone hates advertising...does paid advertising still work?

 

This phenomenon was exemplified with Facebook in 2014, when they implemented specific changes to their algorithms. Once these changes, which included the limiting of newsfeed clutter, were in effect, growth of sales through social media stagnated. This meant that the Facebook content created by businesses themselves achieved a lower audience engagement compared to before the algorithm was changed. The only exception was content that was sponsored or promoted by the business, meaning they came at a high price. For small to medium sized business owners with low budgets, it became very expensive to reach potential customers, and the cost of trying to attract them outweighed the benefit.

So how does a business attempt to gain new customers when their marketing efforts are not as effective as they used to be? The solution lies in the hands of the existing customers. A study notes that 81% of shoppers conduct online research prior to making purchasing decisions, showing that  word of mouth recommendations have always been a driving sales force. The rise of social networks has brought internet users together, and quickly connected millions to new brands through online recommendations.

Infographic.jpg

Statistic source: SocialTimes, 81% of Shoppers Conduct Online Research Before Buying

 

This provides potential new customers with a way to access information about businesses from other consumers who have already used the products or services in question. It allows for consumers to speak on behalf of the brand, providing a sense of authenticity, rather than a marketed message. This explains why a study found that 78% of consumers don’t find brands open and honest and seek authenticity in the businesses they engage with. Therefore, businesses must be careful as customers can post positive or negative messages. Monitoring what your customers are saying online is a necessary thing to do, and getting to detractors before they write a negative review is even more important. While getting to these critics wasn’t as easy in the past, there are now solutions available, as explained further below.
 

With the increase in the potential of consumer-based promotion, businesses should work to foster a stronger relationship with their customers to gain their loyalty. To keep up with current trends, your business must find new ways to interact with your customers, to create a better in-store experience that would warrant them to return and speak positively on your behalf.


Over the years, we had many businesses utilize TapMango’s customer engagement platform and we are happy to share some tips on creating an innovative customer experience. You want to ensure that your business leaves a positive impression on your consumers. It is only when a customer feels like a business has presented an exceptional experience will they be willing to spread the word of what you have to offer.

 

Engage Customers

While customer loyalty may start at the point of purchase, it spans far beyond this transaction. Following up with a consumer after the transaction is equally important, and creating a relationship with your customers is a crucial part of the process. Send your customers messages after their visits to your store to give them a reason to come back. By offering a positive customer experience, your customers will become loyal to your brand, and will want to come back to your store and write a positive review, especially with the incentives you offer them.

        

You can even tailor your message to specific groups of customers to make sure only relevant information is relayed to them. By categorizing your customers into groups, such as female clients at a hair salon, you can contact them with messages and promotions that are specific to their needs (for women, promotions on men’s haircuts are pure spam!). This is a great way for your customers to know that the messages you send will be suited to them.

 

Listen to Customers


In a situation where a customer has a negative experience with your business, it is best to identify them right away, and find ways to change their opinions of your brand. By implementing a survey system into your customer experience, it allows you to quickly find those who were unsatisfied, and presents an opportunity to improve their future experiences with your business. Time is an important factor for unhappy customers - you want to reach out to them as soon as possible. A digital survey lets you contact your customers right after their negative experience to react as fast as possible.

 

With a set-it and forget-it system, you can set it up once and then the whole process becomes fully automated. As an example, you can send a survey to go out automatically 2 hours after the purchase. To ensure your customers fill it out, you can provide an incentive for filling out the survey and results will flow in. The ultimate approach would be to know how your customers responded the next time they show up at your store. Surprise them with a 10% discount for coming back knowing last time they gave you a low score. We bet after that discount your score and sales will go up!

 

Connect Customers

The best way to attract new customers is to have your existing customer spread the word! Whether it is a positive review on websites such as Yelp!, or a post on their social media page, this is an easy way to get exposure to a new network of potential customers. As our last blog noted, loyal customers make up roughly 20% of the total customer base, but generate roughly 80% of sales revenue. With this in mind, enticing your existing customers with referral incentives is a bonus to everyone involved. New people are introduced to your business, pre-existing customers are rewarded for their recommendation, and your client base can grow.

 

Creating a personal record of referrals for each customer allows their recommendations to be tracked, and each time someone they refer comes into the store, the referrer is automatically rewarded. Technology has allowed for this process to be integrated seamlessly, making it easy for everyone.

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Source: Loyalty360

 

In the age of social media, customers are now voluntarily sharing information throughout the web about the products and services they use. This has become exceedingly important for small to medium sized business owners whose resources are scarce compared to Fortune 500 competitors. The way consumers speak of your business has become extremely powerful in today’s world, and maintaining a happy loyal customer base is the best way to keep good reviews coming. By using some of the techniques that are listed above, you can create a positive customer experience, continuing the cycle of word of mouth recommendations. When you connect is when you collect.

For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com 

 

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The Loyalty Craze

 

Why Customers love it… Why Businesses Want it…

In today’s day and age, as a small to medium business owner you must ask yourself (and if you don’t, you should), what can you do to ensure that your customers keep coming back to you and how to attract new ones along the way? Is it possible to inspire that feeling of loyalty in customers towards a brand and more importantly, if it is, why isn’t everyone doing it already?

For anyone who has ever heard of the Starbucks Rewards program or CVS ExtraCare Rewards, there is a good reason why you have (and if you haven’t, clearly something’s wrong). Larger retailers have already been doing it for years, spending lots of time and money to implement such programs. A Loyalty Program is a great marketing tool which can help increase growth, retain customers and also provide valuable customer insights. That being said, don’t let the sheer size of these propositions daunt you. Thankfully due to cutting edge technology, it has never been easier to implement one of your own such programs.

Here are a few good reasons why you should consider implementing your very own Loyalty Program:

They Actually Work

There is actual evidence to prove that loyalty programs do provide results. Most businesses are ready to jump on the bandwagon for a reason, and nothing speaks more than $$ does. A study of U.S companies conducted by Experian Data showed that 69 percent of businesses that use loyalty programs could track each of their customer’s lifetime value. They found that those loyal customers spend over 10 times than a non-loyal customer would.

Another study by RJMetrics shows that the top 10% of your loyal customers spend 3x more than the remaining 90% while the top 1% spends 5x more! Furthermore, as seen in the picture below, businesses can increase their profits by up to 95% by just increasing their customer retention rates by as little as 5%. Nearly 83% of customers claim that they are more likely to do business with companies who have loyalty programs in place. So wouldn’t it be beneficial for your business to know who those loyal customers are and provide them with even more incentives?

 

Make Your Loyalty Rewards Practical

SOURCE: FONOLO, 10 GO-TO TIPS FOR INCREASING CUSTOMER LOYALTY

 

Give your Customers a Reason to Keep Coming Back

Studies have shown that customers who accumulate points on their rewards program, tend to keep coming back to stores to redeem them, which leads to further increased purchases and thus, the cycle continues. In most cases, saving money is the primary incentive (almost 60%) behind customers signing up for loyalty programs, but the use of loyalty programs also allows them to gain a sense of achievement by receiving and redeeming rewards they now feel entitled to.

 

SOURCE: TECHNOLOGY ADVICE, WHY CUSTOMERS PARTICIPATE IN LOYALTY PROGRAMS

 

Invoke Brand Loyalty

Customers crave personalization. The more attached a customer is to a brand, the lesser are their chances of switching to another. Think Customer Experience. Businesses need to understand the emotions invoked within their customers which are what lead to the underlying sense of loyalty. Loyalty Programs tailored to their customers give them the sense of importance and exclusivity they innately wish for.

Why would someone come to your store if you offer the same thing as the store across the street? A good reason would be because you make them feel extra special. You give them more than just a product, you make them feel wanted. And who doesn’t want that? This is clearly seen from a study by Bain and Company, there exists an upwards of 70% chance of selling to an existing customer as compared to as low as a 5% chance of selling to a new one.

SOURCE: MARKETING METRICS, 50 FACTS ABOUT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FOR 2011

 

Valuable Customer Insights

Loyalty programs are no longer about simply receiving and redeeming points, but can also be used to measure any marketing tactics used (promotional offers, sales, etc.) and their results in reeling your customers in. The dollars spent on traditional marketing (PR, media, etc.) are not being discredited here, but simply being shifted lower in the ladder as many of the dollars spent can instead be saved by using the tools of loyalty.

Tracking customer spending habits and product preferences allows businesses to target particular customers who are known to contribute more to the bottom line. A loyalty program helps you understand what works and what doesn’t. As they say… ‘Know thy Customer’. The data a loyalty program could collect for your business provides you with an integral insight into the minds of your consumers so that you can now understand them better to make more relevant offers. It has been found that loyal customers make up about 20% of your total customer base but generate about 80% of the associated revenue by sales.

Loyal Customers are your best Advertisers

Everyone who is in the business to attract new customers knows that keeping the ones you have is on an average 6-7 times cheaper than finding new ones. Not only will a loyalty program allow you to do the former but it could also allow you to use these same faithful followers to help spread the word to their friends, who are more likely to take advice from friends than strangers (refer picture below). Happy customers tend to brag about their favorite brands and having an official system in place which could allow them to refer friends/family by offering related incentives is a tactic most successful businesses are already employing, and that’s based on a good reason.

 

SOURCE: INFLUITIVE, HOW TO CREATE A B2B REFERRAL PROGRAM THAT WORKS

 

Sets You Apart

A myth that most businesses find themselves believing is that customers own loyalty cards from multiple stores, especially retail and grocery stores, and therefore, loyalty programs are ineffective. However, there is evidence to suggest that customers do end up making almost 67 percent of their purchases in their favorite store, making their top brand their dominant spend. In such cases, what needs to be considered is that having your own loyalty program is the first step, but it’s the differentiating factors incorporated that could truly set your store apart.

And So finally…

If you don’t have a loyalty program in place yet, don’t worry because it has never been easier, and cheaper, to get one. At TapMango, we make it possible for any business owner to setup their very own loyalty program, not just comparable to those already out there but so much better. A program customized for our merchants’ specific requirements and targeted at helping them increase sales at an affordable price.

 

For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com.

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