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Contrary to some views in the public, GameStop and its video gaming industry are not in the waning years of existence. GameStop’s customer engagement and brand loyalty is strong, according to CMO Frank Hamlin.
“In specialty retail, that’s what we have: Passion,” Hamlin said during Monday’s session, It’s a CX Tug of War and The Customer is Winning. Now What?, at the Engagement & Experience Expo, hosted by Loyalty360. “It’s something they want to be doing. They don’t have to be doing. The industry is alive, thriving, and growing. We’re drawing on that passion. We’ll always be that Sherpa to guide you up the gaming mountain.”
One ongoing theme at GameStop is the “Circle of life,” which revolves around customers trading in their video games, buying new ones, and then trading those in also after they’re done using them. Customer receive some credit for those exchanges and tries to repair them. Refurbished items are sold, but items that can't be repaired are donated for recycling.
Hamlin talked about a prevailing public view that predicts GameStop’s demise in the near future.
“There is an organization-wide level of attentiveness to the attitudes of our core customers, particularly as it relates to console gaming,” he said. “So as a result, we have to keep our ear to the ground. Through the power of our rewards program, we are tracking 75% of our sales and, through that, we have a strong electronic relationship with most customers. Those relationships allow us to quickly pull together true quantitative studies around distinct characteristics as they relate to attitudes around the pre-owned and trade business and attitudes around reservations, which is very much the heart beat around new sales and the health of the industry. We have the data to factually know that that is an incorrect assumption. The smart money always wants to use the metaphor of the music business or the book business or the movie business as an analogy for what’s happening in video gaming, but it is certainly not apples to apples. They are very different. The majority of sales are still physical. And I think a lot of people haven’t really focused on that. So there is definitely ongoing and substantial business to be had in physical sales in these digital media businesses.”
Despite NPS scores being “through the roof,” Hamlin said the bigger challenge is truly finding out what is “really happening in the middle.”
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