US game retailer Gamestop has invested heavily over the past 10 years in transforming itself into a true omnichannel retailer, and is seeing considerable rewards for embracing digital and mobile strategies.
Around two years ago, the company created the GameStop Technology Institute, a team dedicated entirely to leveraging cutting-edge technologies to improve customer experience both online and in physical stores, as well as increasing revenues, with a focus on digital advocacy, geo-fencing, beacons and innovation platforms.
The company has around 25 store branches in its home state of Texas that are used to pilot everything from beacon marketing and tablets for store associates to AR experiences, with successful elements then rolled out on a national and international level.
"We've all seen the headlines: brick and mortar's dead," said Michael K Mauler, executive vice president and president of international for GameStop at our Mobile Retail Summit earlier today. "It's surprising that any of us are are around at all. But pure online retailers cannot compete against brick and mortar retailers with a solid omnichannel strategy and a compelling in-store value proposition. If you're solely online, you've got one hand tied behind your back, because you're missing the most engaging channel."
At its pilot branches, customers are greeted with customised digital messages through their app upon entering stores, and directed towards Bluetooth beacon-enabled zones where they can trigger game overviews, trailers and promotions.
Staff are equipped with tablets that enable them to showcase AR experiences within stores, promoting games, and individual customer interactions carry on beyond purchases, with customers able to follow social platforms curated by individual store associates that keep them up to date with new and upcoming releases and promotions.
"One of the mistakes GameStop made about 10 years ago was focusing on multichannel rather than omnichannel," said Mauler. "That might sound like semantics, but I don't think it is. It's not about the individual channel, it's about how the ecosystem links together. If I had a million dollars, I'd much rather spend it on making sure all the pieces connected than making my website a bit sexier."
GameStop has put considerable work into its app, integrating its loyalty scheme and, as a result, seeing over 50 per cent of its orders take place via mobile, with 'click and collect' representing about 40 per cent of orders during the busy holiday season.
The loyalty program in particular has been very successful, with an incredible 20 per cent of households in the US including a loyalty member, and 25 per cent of households in Australia. Around 60 per cent of loyalty scheme members will check out products online before coming in-store to buy, emphasising the importance of an omnichannel approach to both the loyalty scheme and the business as a whole.
The company has found that both sales and profits go up per customer, relative to the more points of engagement there are, with sales and trade-in revenue increasing exponentially when customers begin reserving products, and loyalty members accounting for 71 per cent of all sales in US stores.
"Bricks and mortar's not dead. In fact, it has a long life in it yet, if you focus on engaging customers," said Mauler. "But the technology's got to be more than just cool."