Friday, January 28, 2011

I responded to a blog that was on the Texicon.nt about how Game Stores are having a challenge with growing business. The issue is not having gamers in the store, but having them purchase. Here is the website for the blog, then Roll2Play's response.

http://texicon.net/blog/2010/11/10/gamestores-elusive/comment-page-1/#comment-68

Response:

I agree with everything you have written here. Getting, keeping and growing the business is the challenge for game stores, isn’t it? Game stores, well any business, with an actual store front have the same challenges. How do you get people to come in and spend their bucks with you instead of going into your store for a reconnaissance to find the same product cheaper online. That phrase, ‘build it and they will come’ no longer applies anymore. Like newspapers that have gone under because they can’t keep up with the online mass media. Businesses have to change and adapt to what they are doing. They have to go beyond the normal marketing and promoting. It’s time to think outside the box.

Look at the difference between Borders and Barns & Noble. BnN developed a product, Nook, that enable people to easily download and read books. Borders, instead of developing its own, reached out to other ebook developers and failed and may go bankrupted. BnN is not happy about this, because two book stores in one area will generate greater traffic. They have been growing the industry together. More people were reading books than ever before. Observers fear that loosing Borders may drop the number of readers out there. Businesses have to adapt and get creative. They can’t just stay cooped up in the store.

Here are things that store can do to offer something special and help change the mindset of buying online, versus going into the store and supporting your store. Games stores need to friend other game stores too. Create that healthy network that will grow the gaming industry. They need to know when new games are coming out and learn how to play them. When a customer walks in the staff needs to know the basics of all the games, not just their favorites. More people that know how to play Dominion, Catan and so on, the more people will want to pick it up and play it at home. One store alone cannot get the word out, it’s takes the gaming community as a whole.

Games store are going to have to host events, workshops, and so on to get people into the stores. Exposure is the key: Going to conventions, local events, supporting libraries, even getting involved with the schools. Support the chess club at schools, sponsor an anime club at the local middle school. Gaming tournaments, teaching games will also help to show the non-gamers how awesome these games are. This helps to influences people to pick up a game and take home so they can share with their friends and family.

The other area that game stores have to look into is bringing in mainstream folks. They need to reach out with events that will get non-gamers into the store. Reaching younger generations is crucial to establishing a base. The potential market is huge, it is the game store responsibility to get that exposure, bring those folks in and make them feel welcomed. I’ve been told over and over how important fandom is. Store can’t just sit back anymore. Some of the more successful game stores I know about, the owners rarely gets to play a game. He is out there talking to the people, teaching games, and doing so much more to not just be a store, he is creating a community.

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