FLGS Research

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Don't try to compete with Amazon on price- it's a losing battle. I've heard enough game store owners- here and in person- complain about Amazon selling RPG material at prices lower than the game store pay to acquire it. This is because Amazon can buy in such bulk AND cross-subsidize, making for ultra-low prices at any time they choose.

The only ways I've seen successful game stores compete on price is with loyalty programs (buy $X of merch, get some kind of additional discount on next purchase or all future purchases that year, etc.), and with discounts on pre-orders for new releases.

As others have said, compete with knowledge, service and environment.

On environment: an excellent read would be Paco Underhill's Why We Buy- it contains a wealth of info on how a store's internal structure affects sales. He reveals how lighting, lines of sight, depth vs breadth of products available, overstocking vs understocking, space between tables & width of aisles- even the arrangement of aisles- can affect your bottom line.

I tell you what- if I were opening a game store today, I'd invest in a computer near the main counter that let customers in the store place orders through the store's website. I've seen how kiosks like that work in a variety of retailers- grocery stores, department stores, etc. They work- they generate sales from motivated customers already in your store, usually without involving sales staff. It's like having an employee you pay in electricity.
 
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khantroll

Explorer
Danny, could you tell me more about this? I can honestly say I've never seen this, and I'm curious as to how it works in practice.

Do people come in to a function store and order products to be shipped to their homes from that same store? Or is it a pulling service?
 

ahayford

First Post
The Coolstuffinc Brick and Mortar uses their a few PC's with their webstore at the checkout area. You can order all your stuff there (or at home online) and mark it pick up. Then you tell them your order number and they go in the back and bring it out. Its pretty nice, particularly if they have a tournament going on or something.
 


OnlineDM

Adventurer
The FLGS near me seems to be doing well, and I think it's in part because it's half game store, half coffee shop. I think they feed nicely on each other - especially having food and drink available for gamers to buy.

For an FLGS to succeed and foster a sense of loyalty, I think it needs to be a place where gamers want to spend a lot of time. However, a store owner needs to make sure that gamers aren't just taking up space, but are also continuing to be good for business. Selling them food and drinks is a good way to make that work.
 


Herschel

Adventurer
The FLGS near me seems to be doing well, and I think it's in part because it's half game store, half coffee shop. I think they feed nicely on each other - especially having food and drink available for gamers to buy.

For an FLGS to succeed and foster a sense of loyalty, I think it needs to be a place where gamers want to spend a lot of time. However, a store owner needs to make sure that gamers aren't just taking up space, but are also continuing to be good for business. Selling them food and drinks is a good way to make that work.

I always thought if I opened a game store I wanted an actual entertainment complex. The game store would be one hub, a good sub shop or the like would be the central "wheel" and also have TVs set up for sporting events and movies in the shop and in another dining hub with wi-fi access all over. Kind of like a super and more diverse version of the "man cave" concept that could operate outside of just "gamer hours". Of course location would also be key, just like most businesses.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
On computers: ahayford basically has it right. Some stores, like Kohls, actually have different stock online, so if you're in the store and don't see what you want, you can walk over to the kiosk and order it- usually for shipping.

On food: it's a fine line. I understand why some stores do it, and I can appreciate the convenience- I've even taken advantage of such offerings in the past- but be careful about it. Nothing sucks like having to discount merch because some irresponsible slob got mayo or cola on a game book when nobody was looking.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
On food: it's a fine line. I understand why some stores do it, and I can appreciate the convenience- I've even taken advantage of such offerings in the past- but be careful about it. Nothing sucks like having to discount merch because some irresponsible slob got mayo or cola on a game book when nobody was looking.

Which is why I like the hub idea where food is actually served to the gaming area rather than having that Philly Cheesesteak dripping on the stack "Dread Fleet" boxes.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Right, but moreso than gamestores that don't have food associated with them, you absolutely NEED good signage about no food in the retail area, maybe even napkin dispensers near the doors that connect the areas.
 

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