GameStop seeks to provide a total retail experience for video gamers across game systems of all types. GameStop sells new and used video games through retail locations and its web site. Retail outlets are located malls, strip centers and free standing stores. GameStop also sells new and used game systems and accessories.
GameStop has built a gamer community on the Internet. GameStop has a magazine called Game Informer which is included as part of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program. The Game Informer brand is also used for their main social presence. The Game Informer site includes new, reviews, blogs and forums. Game Informer provides game enthusiasts with information and an opportunity to interact with each other.
GameStop goes where the gamers area and has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On Facebook, GameStop uses its page to engage followers through questions on gaming culture and responses to new and current games. GameStop uses Twitter to send information on new products and offers. GameStop also leverages Twitter for Customer service. As a video site, GameStop’e YouTube channel to showcase clips from upcoming games. GameStop also includes interviews with Game industry luminaries, often driven by interaction through Facebook.
My GameStop Experience
As a loyal GameStop customer, I can confirm that GameStop’s social media presence has increased my loyalty. My main interaction with GameStop is on Facebook. I enjoy responding to questions on game culture, especially those that go back to my experience as the first generation of video gamers. I also love seeing graphics and videos from upcoming and current popular games. For example, I am a huge fan of Batman: Arkham City and enjoy seeing new pictures and videos from the games as well as insight into to new content.
For me, GameStop has become closely tied to my self-identification as a gamer. GameStop has provided a great purchasing experience in their retail outlet. Their PowerUp Rewards program provides immediate benefit through its discounts and I enjoy reading Game Informer each month. On top of this, GameStop’s post on Facebook continue to tell me that GameStop gets me as a gamer. The questions and shares are in line with how I see the gaming world.
The Bottom Line
What does my “fandom” mean for GameStop’s bottom line? Buying a game from another retailer feels like betraying a loyal friend. When I see a game at another store, and make a stop at GameStop to buy it. Because of the loyalty reinforced through my relationship with the GameStop brand on Facebook, GameStop for me is now a core part of my video game identity. As GameStop builds and fosters this type of relationship across gamers, GameStop stays positioned to dominate the gaming market as the preferred retailer.
In the May 2009 issues of Harvard Business Review, David Eastman discusses the updated purchasing concept of the Consumer Decision Journey in the article “Branding in the Digital.” The Consumer Decision Journey shows that the consider and evaluate steps of purchasing are shortened whenever loyalty is nurtured. After the purchase, if the product, service and overall experience are enjoyed, the consumer will actually advocate for the brand as well as bond with it. Focusing on building loyalty between transactions both increases return business (at a lower marketing costs!) Building loyalty also adds additional value as customers become part of the marketing effort as advocates.
Opportunity for Small Business
What can Small Businesses learn from GameStop’s example?
- Social Media does not replace the in store or in office experience of customers. Friendly, helpful and knowledgable staff are still required to engage customers.
- Social Media does foster the relationship with customers between transactions. It is important that posts engage customers in a way that associated your company with how they associate themselves with your company’s offerings.
- Social Media can help making customers be “Raving Fans.” What better return on marketing dollar can you get than customers that sell for you?