Videogame retailer GameStop is fighting back against online shopping with beacons that stream game content directly to customers’ smartphones when they’re in a store, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The chainwide store upgrade, which is expected to start rolling out in Q2 to the chain’s 4,500 stores, will also let shoppers use their devices to pull up game content on 85-inch in-store ultra high-definition TV displays. The goal is to better engage consumers and encourage them to spend money in the store instead of showrooming there and then buying games online.
GameStop began testing beacons that deliver real-time promotions, ratings and reviews to the customers in-store last August in a few dozen Texas stores.
GameStop’s shoppers — and store staff — are typically technologically sophisticated millennials. “We see millions of millennials every week as customers and as associates,” GameStop President Tony Bartel said at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show conference last week. “Millennials are one of the best things that have ever happened to us as retailers. They have high standards [and] are so much more than an economic force to be reckoned with.”
“We need to use the brick-and-mortar stores to show off video game content in the best possible way,” added Jeff Donaldson, GameStop’s former CIO, who now heads the GameStop Technology Institute, a business unit created last year to build technology that helps the retailer adapt to the growth of online and mobile shopping.
Shoppers will access the in-store gaming previews using the retailer’s mobile app, with the option to put titles in the app’s shopping cart. (Titles will be queued and streamed in the order in which they’re requested.) Store associates with iPads will approach customers who have opted to share the contents of their shopping cart to answer questions or recommend other titles. Associates will also use the iPads to speed up checkout.
GameStop will collect information on consumers’ app use, browsing and shopping habits, such as which titles were viewed or purchased most, said Charlie Larkin, GTI’s senior director. The chain will aggregate this data and analyze it for targeted email marketing campaigns and promotions in the future, he said.
Associates will also have “master control” features on their tablets, letting them control what appears on the giant displays. “Customers are doing all sorts of research on mobile devices,” Larkin said. “But if you want to watch a trailer, this is much more immersive.”