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