GameStop gets personal with Millennials
Millennials love video games. No retailer knows this better than GameStop because the success of its business depends quite literally on this group of individuals, which make up 59 percent of its PowerUp Rewards program members and almost two-thirds of its workforce.
In an interview with RetailWire, Mike Hogan, GameStop’s executive vice president of business strategy and brand development, said the company is focused on personalization largely through the insights gained from the PowerUp program.
"All Millennials tend to be more like each other than they are other generations, but they’re still very much individuals, and so a big focus of us is to use technology to enable our people to customize the experience for every given individual," said Mr. Hogan.
PowerUp members represent three quarters of GameStop’s total sales in the U.S. and the information gathered on these individuals helps the chain to personalize communications and service.
Mr. Hogan spoke of a developing a "two-way dialogue" with customers to provide customized experiences online, through the company’s mobile app or in stores.
Mike Hogan, GameStop
"The emails that you get should really only talk to you about the kind of games that we would believe make sense for you based upon what you have done in the past. When you come into the store, increasingly, we’ll have someone in the store who will have a tablet right there who can see who you are, what your interests are, what game you last bought, how many points you have on your PowerUp rewards and so on," he told RetailWire.
Mr. Hogan talked about the importance of authenticity when it comes to interactions with Millennials.
"This is a generation that’s grown up with media. They can be somewhat cynical about prepared messages and they won’t tolerate things that are not authentic, so we try to be very transparent," he said.
That transparency includes sales staff offering honest opinions of games. "If they (sales staff) don’t like the game they’ll say it’s not so good or it might not be the right game for you because you like to play this way or you like another genre. It’s important that our [associates] are not just trying to sell you something. Their job is to help you find what’s right for you, which may not be what’s right for somebody else."
Whatever GameStop is doing appears to be working as the company announced last week that its first quarter comp sales increased 8.6 percent.
Do you think GameStop in on the right path with its approach to Millennials? Is the idea of opening a “two-way dialogue” with customers becoming a more critical component of retailing success than in has been in the past?