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GameStop’s Mobile Data Determines Brick-and-Mortar Inventory

Especially sports games

Jason Allen, vp of multichannel at Gamestop

Despite the flood of online and mobile games in recent years, GameStop remains set on owning the brick-and-mortar gaming space. But the retailer is leveraging mobile commerce with tracking technology like beacons to better understand why shoppers still like the in-store experience and which products they’re buying.

One of the first steps GameStop took with digital was the launch of a loyalty program in 2010 called Power-Up. Top-tier members in the program (who pay $15 for added perks) spend three to four times more than nonpaying members. And members in that group who have also downloaded GameStop’s app spend 80 percent more than those who don’t have the app. 

Jason Allen, vp of multichannel at GameStop, recently talked to Adweek about how those insights influence traditional media and why the retailer isn’t worried about showrooming.

How does the data that you’re collecting from your loyalty program influence GameStop’s advertising?
If there’s a Power-Up rewards member who we see consistently come into the store but [who] never engages with us online, we certainly wouldn’t want to try to advertise or market to that individual in the online space.

However, we might have a customer who all they do is research products online and then come into the store and buy. We’re more likely to talk to that customer in the online space.

Having data has allowed us to better target our advertising and marketing efforts to make sure that we’re looking to maximize our communications with those very loyal Power-Up users. Likewise, it helps us better understand their purchase behavior and intent, and we can [seek out] patterns that we see with rewards members to [then] drive awareness with non-Power-Up customers and bring new customers into the ecosystem.

What about the impact from digital data to offline media?
Data has told us exactly where our customers are, and they’re all over the place. Certainly in larger populated areas, we see more customers, but it also helps us understand the types of products in various geographical areas [they] are likely to buy.

This is most common in sports titles. [It’s] no surprise, but FIFA over-indexes in the south [and] along the West Coast. NHL over-indexes in the Northeast, so it’s helped us get smarter about how we allocate product to our stores.

During the holidays, if we’re talking to a gift-giver, traditional media has a lot of competition in that space. It’s hard to be heard during the holidays in traditional media, whereas online, we can go target those individuals in a meaningful way, and it’s more cost-effective as well.

Explain to me a bit more about how you use push notifications to segment groups of shoppers?
Push notifications are less impactful for us than many other brands because of a very simple reason: Folks who use our mobile app visit us many, many times a week—three, four, five times a week.

We only communicate with them maybe once a week, so yes, we want to make sure that when we talk to them it’s relevant and we’re giving them information that [they] can [take an] action against.

GameStop is also doing some work with beacons right now. What have you learned so far?
[We have] something called GTI—it stands for GameStop Technology Institute. A couple of its main purposes are to evaluate new and emerging technologies, evaluate innovation and figure out what technologies align well with both GameStop’s growth opportunities and our customer needs.

They’re in the middle of evaluating—in particular markets—beacons, scanning technologies and ways of identifying customers. So a customer walks into a store, and the store associate can know who that customer is, when they transacted, their [game] library. It’s certainly an emerging technology, and we’re as interested as everyone else is.

We are experiencing the opposite of showrooming.

Most retailers are combating showrooming. Why isn’t it a problem for GameStop?
We don’t have consumers who are coming into a store to touch and feel the product [but] then go online and look for a different price. We have consumers who are doing all their research online. They like the store environment. We’re focusing on pick-up at [the] store because our customers are telling us that.

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