GameStop’s Successful Loyalty Program Leads to Personalization and Relevance

Ashley Sheetz, Chief Marketing Officer for GameStop, shared with attendees during a session titled, “If You Can’t Control It, Enable It!” at the 3rd Annual Engagement & Experience Expo, presented by Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association, that a few years ago the company had volumes of data, but couldn’t tie it to specific individuals and garner personalization and relevance.

“This idea came about five years ago or so before we built out a loyalty program,” Sheetz said. “We had hundreds of millions of customers coming into our stores every day and we had a lot of data. We had transaction data and web analytics, but we could never tie that any of that information to specific individuals and that was really at the heart of the strategy behind why we did decide to go out and build out a formalized loyalty program. We wanted to be able to know who those customers were who were coming through our doors, who were hitting our website, and who were accessing GameStop through their mobile devices. To do that, building out a traditional loyalty program made a lot of sense.”

Enter PowerUp Rewards. GameStop, the world’s largest multichannel video game retailer with more than 6,600 stores in the U.S. and 16 countries, launched a pilot loyalty program in four markets— St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus, Ohio, and Oklahoma City—in May 2010. The company rolled out the full loyalty program in September 2010.

“We have 25 million members in just three years,” Sheetz explained. “That’s enabled us to identify 75% of all our sales come from those 25 million customers. Now we’re able to be personal and relevant to those customers in ways we never cold before now that we know who they are.”

Sheetz said the “personal and relevant phase” takes on a lot of different forms and functions. She said about 98% of GameStop’s sales come from its brick-and-mortar stores.

“We hear over and over again customers telling us about how amazing the experience was at GameStop,” Sheetz said. “It was amazing because it was personalized. It was amazing because when that customer walked in, the associate engaged them. They asked them what are you looking for, who are you buying for, what kinds of games do you like, and what kind of console do you own? At that point, they could point them to products and services that were personal and relevant to them.”

When GameStop realized that customer-associate interaction was really the “magic” driving the memorable customer experiences, Sheetz said company officials asked themselves a question: “Are we also providing these experiences across our other channels? It was very clear that we were not.”

GameStop has 12 million unique visitors to its website each month, “but every visitor had exactly the experience,” Sheetz explained.

“We weren’t being personal and relevant in those channels,” she said. “We were thinking about those channels in silos. We didn’t really have a mobile group. We’re weren’t thinking about it strategically across the consumer journey. We were thinking about it internally organized as silos.”

GameStop officials had been viewing objectives and initiatives for the business, instead of “putting the customer in the driver’s seat,” Sheetz said.

“We’ve spent the past couple of years completely blowing up all of our old strategies because they weren’t consumer-centric,” Sheetz said, “and they didn’t have the customers’ needs in mind. Now we’ve been able to break down silos with an omni-channel strategy.”

About 60% of GameStop’s customers use the company website for research, but almost 100% make purchases at a brick-and-mortar store.

“We let that data drive our strategy and we’ve become much more consumer focused,” Sheetz said. “The next big step we’re making is taking a serious focus around mobile. We knew we needed to be in mobile. We kind of threw out an app. No surprise, it did well because customers were dying to have that interaction with our brand on their mobile devices. But it hasn’t been optimized because it hasn’t been managed.”

Brierley+Partners is assisting GameStop along its consumer journey.

“We want to make sure we’re optimizing the experience for customers across the different journeys and different touch points,” Sheetz said. “For us, the No. 1 part of our strategy is our stores. We’re thinking about stores as well as that whole customer journey. We’re thinking about it holistically.”

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