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November 2012 Retro Gaming Article

November 6, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop KIds is geared toward kids but is likely an experiment in retail diversity and policy change

When you look at the layout of the average GameStop, I find that some stores have ample under-utilized space while other locations are closet-sized. Gaming is slowly heading the way of digital downloads and GameStop has broadened their offerings to compensate. It may be time for a larger renovation to keep pace with market changes and the dwindling economy. It would help to have standardized layouts & product exposure in every store by mandating square footage for each location.

We've see them expand to reselling used tablets and even contemplating retro game sales (retrieving GameCube and PS2 titles previously slated for the local landfill). This strategy supports both minimal inventory shrinkage (theft) and maintaining a focused product line. With the ferocious interest in mobile gaming, its not unlikely to think of a game store when contemplating a used tablet or iPad.

GameStop Kids logo GameStop Kids launched in separate retail spaces (although close to existing GameStop stores) and aims to create a family-friendly game store catering to both gaming and toys (for lack of a better term). I feel they are testing the waters for boosting accessory sales while letting go of their theft deterrence mantra - nothing of value sits on the sales floor.

GameStop Kids storefront Being fairly singular in product offerings, GameStop keeps inventory shrinkage to a minimum since the "showroom" area is primarily comprised of empty game cases. Actual game discs are in a stockroom or behind the counter. Even accessory items like controllers, memory cards, plushies and strategy guides are displayed on or very close to the check-out counter.

You'll notice GameStop's don't use anti-theft chips or security guards - there's not much to steal. Keeping the valuable items behind the counter has long been a GameStop staple, but an anomaly among most mall-stores.

Placing varied, yet complimentary items, near one another is a well rehearsed retail strategy. Putting Light Sabers and Jedi plushies alongside Star Wars video games benefits the sale of all these items. Allowing customers to interact and touch products greatly increases the likelihood of converting interest to sales.

My belief is that GameStop is using their Kids locations as test-beds for various shrink-defying tactics while staying focused on fun & gaming. Should these Kids locations be deemed successful, it wouldn't surprise me to see GameStop locations moving into larger retail spaces and integrating the "Kids" model with their current game store scenario. Look at how Toys R Us has benefited from Babies R Us and more so when both "stores" are merged into one. I doubt GameStop will ever inhabit the square footage of most box-stores, but I'll bet part of the plan is to test different strategies and then move the successful model into larger standardized locations.

Parents delighted to let their kids roam through E and E10+ aisles may be disappointed when the stuffed animals are much closer to the gore and sex that propel the gaming industry's wider appeal.

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