25 February 2011

Tony Bartel, President, Gamestop (ETail West Feb 23 2011)

Tony Bartel, Gamestop President, starts his ETail West presentation with a great gaming timeline video, and the tagline: "We Sell Fun". They're in the midst of a channel transition and are moving into the fast-growing (exploding) digital area.
Tony states that Gamestop is a $9.6 billion company doing business in 17 countries around the world, is number one in market share in most of these countries, and has been growing through the recession unlike other retailers. He gives his Reasons For Success, Multi-Channel Learnings and Actions during the video, and I've posted them below as well for your reference. You are welcome to Link to or Share this Article and mention 'Gaming Trends'. 

Reasons for Success:
1. Culture is a Customer Centric, Roll-up your sleeves work-ethic
2. Specialist Focus:
Gamestop competes against a lot of big boxes; they don't make the games and sell them at the same price or a higher price so they make sure every gamer has a better experience; "we want to be the smartest and best way for them to access the rich benefits of gaming"
3. Unique Value Model Competitors Don't Have:
Gamestop has a 'Buy-Sell-Trade Model' that allows people to bring back games they've already played and convert them into currency to buy new games; this generated 1 billion dollars of credits last year through games traded in and were spent on new games.
4. Agnostic Aggregator - "We give gamers exactly what they want; We listen to them and seek to understand." They have the 17th most valuable brand in America and a Net Promotor Score (NPS) that rivals the iconic Harley Davidson brand. Their challenge is to take that great experience in all 660 stores and bring it into all channels.

Gamestop breaks-down Gaming into 2 areas:
1. Big Games (Console Games) 50% are 35 years and older; 50% are women; 65% households play; 120 million consoles/ 2/3 connected - (50 billion dollar business globally estimated) Console Gaming has slowed in the last 2 years.
2. Small Games - Facebook claims over 600 million users; over 61 million people and high as 90 are playing online and mobile qames (almost 1/3 of people say I have downloaded a game in the last month). Lots of growth and Gamestop is moving into the small game environment.

- Facebook/Zynga 9%/yr
- Online 11%/yr
- Mobile 14%/yr

4 Gamestop MultiChannel Learnings
1. Go beyond ECommerce Website
- 51% say they do online research before they buy in store; 46% go online buy online; 60% people go to store but buy online.
- Per Tony: "Where are people going online to look for us? What you see are Coupons, Facebook, Twitter. Here's the insight: People are not going to the website and we don't control reviews; they are going to their friends on Facebook, YouTube Videos to view products etc, and we need to be there." The Facebook Page has 1.8 million Likes and they find it's a great way to communicate and understand what's taking place in the minds of their customers. Mobile users are using GPS and directions but Tony says they need to do a better job of engaging customers in mobile world, and it's a huge opportunity to expand. 14% of customers are already transacting on mobile. 50% say they will transact on mobile in the future. Tony says they have to be there to address their customer's needs on a mobile basis. 38% users say that if a brand interacts with them in a social environment, that will influence their purchasing decision.
2. Go beyond MassMarketing (discounting)
- Gamestop asked customers "What do you want to do when you engage with the Gamestop brand?".
70% said 'Give me a Coupon'; 58% said if you listen to me and gave me an offer that was relevant but not necessarily a deep discount, I'd deal with you; 52% said give me services I'd like and I'll engage with your brand (1/4 of the people in the Gamestop loyalty program says the loyalty program drives their purchases).
- Gamestop wants a 360 degree customer view and in exchange will personalize deals, i.e. recommendations, promotions
- Gamestop launched the PowerUp Rewards Program 6 months ago and now has 7 million members. It's Points-Based; not Discount and 2-tiered (Free and Paid 14.99 with additional benefits in By-Sell-Trade Business). The Rewards Program Results Show that members shop 3 times as often; account for 25% Gamestop.com transactions; trade-in enough games to represent 1/2 of their purchases. Now there are 40 million games loaded into their libraries. What can you get with your points? They include: Rewards for Pizza etc, Epic Rewards like life-size character statues, trips, personalized game communications (skins)
3. Go Beyond Commoditization (Price discounting)
- Loyalty program
- Make more differentiated products and use product-exclusivity, i.e. working 6-12 months in advance with publishing partners to create specialized game content, i.e. special characters
- Bundled products for great gaming experience - make sure buyers have everything they need before leaving the store
- Midnight launch events
- Gamestop tournaments
4. Go Beyond Store and Get Into Digital Environment
- Discovery is very important i.e. iphone has 1,000 apps but only 1/3 have looked at 10 apps in the last month. It's about engagement, curation, personalization, monetization like a freemium model with micro-transactions and advertising.
**Gamestop found their customers were having a difficult time finding games, thus, Gamestop now helps customers Discover New Games.

As a result of these multi-channel learnings: Gamestop amended it's statement to:
Gamestop is the smartest and best way to experience the rich benefits of gaming anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

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