Exclusive Q&A: GameStop talks strategy

In an era when gamers want new releases in their hands as quickly as possible, GameStop is changing the rules.

The gaming retailer calls its updated strategy a “new moment of truth.” Described as the gap between when a consumer purchases merchandise and actually receives it, this timing can truly make or break the chain’s reputation going forward — especially as digital retailing increases customer expectations.

Eager to engage its shoppers post-purchase, the chain launched a new e-commerce strategy just prior to its holiday rush — a move that drove post-purchase engagement and revenue, and created more satisfied customers during this critical selling period.

GameStop’s director of multichannel, Bill Graham shared his thoughts about the initiative — and expectations — with Chain Store Age.

CSA: How is the trend of online gaming impacting GameStop?

BG: Digital gaming is growing, and GameStop has built a robust $1 billion digital business in addition to our physical operations. Similar to evolutions happening in our physical and online retailing touchpoints, this new category is also changing customer expectations.

CSA: How is the chain responding to these shifting consumer preferences?

BG: We’re adopting several digital initiatives that speak to the die-hard gaming community. We delved into data through our PowerUp rewards program to understand how many different points shoppers interact with before making purchase decision. The biggest takeaway was that clearly, our guests don’t see channels, they want to interact with us as a “brand.” It has taught us a lot about how better experiences in any channel can ultimately drive purchasing in another.

For instance, oftentimes, more than 60% of our guests engage with us online before making a purchase in any channel, meaning many of our transactions involve multiple touchpoints. Understanding these patterns has a big impact on omnichannel thinking and where we choose to focus our efforts.

CSA: How are you addressing a “new moment of truth?”

BG: The “new moment of truth” focuses on the shopping experience after shoppers click the submit button and their transaction is on the way. The post-purchase experience is just as important as the discovery and purchase portions of the journey.

For example, more than half our customers will track their package to find information about delivery and more. It’s up to us to streamline how that information is presented and to continue engaging with the customer wherever they are post-purchase. That’s why we created a branded custom tracking page that keeps shoppers in our ecosystem vs. directing shoppers to third party sites for package information.

The page, which we created with the help of our partner Narvar, lets shoppers track deliveries, view product recommendations, and link back to our site to find trade-in values for their previously played games, consoles, and electronics. These pages are all delivered responsively, so they can be viewed on any computer or mobile device.

CSA: How do shoppers access the page?

BG: Once an order is placed, shoppers can visit their order history or get their order confirmation via email, which includes a link to our tracking page. This benefits us because unlike sending our guests to a third party, this upholds our brand messaging and keeps them engaged with us throughout the process.

CSA: How did this service support holiday shoppers?

BG: During the holiday season, 75% of our shoppers tracked packages via mobile device. In many cases, this mobile traffic is a higher percentage than we see to our commerce site.

Our Narvar product has given us a significant amount of post purchase analytics we can learn from and action. We analyzed activity on these pages to see what potential improvements we need to make in terms of packages arriving on time, proactively working to solve any carrier hiccups, and allowing guests to sign up for package alerts — another new service launched in November.

This is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot on Facebook Messenger, also through Narvar, as well as our traditional SMS/test message package alerting. Shoppers can opt in for these services for free to receive messages about their online orders. Both messaging options have about a 20% opt-in rate, with 25% of shoppers using Messenger and 75% using SMS.

CSA: Can you share some results?

BG: At least 30% of folks hitting our branded tracking experience are clicking back through to our website. These shoppers are also converting back to shoppers at a competitive rate. The experience shows customers more items they may want or missed the first time around.