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What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

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What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Old 04-30-10, 10:45 AM
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What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

I know some of you hate Best Buy, but lets keep the company bashing to a minimum (unless it's specifically about the video gaming area).

Most of you know that I work at Best Buy - recently I was elected to Best Buy's Entertainment Retail Council & one of our focus areas is improving the video game area. This means I have a hand in legitimately changing things. I flew out to Minnesota this week and spent some time on it. Obviously we have some things coming to the stores that I cannot talk about yet, but we're also looking for feedback from gamers - so of course, I'll lean on DVDTalk.

So here are some questions, and you don't have to answer them all...but the main thing is that I want to have a hand in making Best Buy a better place to shop for video games.

1. Do you like/know about the Gamers Reward Zone program?
2. What could we do to make our pre-order process better?
3. If Best Buy had an in-store 'trade in' program (like Gamestop), would you be more likely to shop there?
4. If Best Buy had an in-store 'trade in' program, what would you like to see from it?

Any other feedback you give me on the video game area would be taken back to my meeting with corporate in June - actually, I'll probably just link them to this thread.
Old 04-30-10, 11:10 AM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

I don't have a lot to say about anything but #1, but I'd be happy to share my thoughts on the Gamers Reward Zone program.

#1 - Stop having employees AUTOMATICALLY signup customers for the program. I'm already a member and have been for a year before the employees in my local BB even knew what the program was. Employees shouldn't be doing anything for customers without telling them what it is or asking them first. It went from them offering it whenever I would buy a game, to which I would say I'm already a member to now they pretty much just do it without saying a word.

#2 - Make sure it works. I battled customer service for 6 months over the fact that the program just stopped giving me credit. When I contacted them they said they knew of the problem and were working on it. (Yet weren't letting anyone know apparently.) It never got fixed. I had to manually calculate my points for 6 months and contact customer service to have them fix it. I didn't buy a game from Best Buy for the entire time. I bought one last month and I'm pretty sure it's STILL not working. I don't know what they broke with the system, but it's pretty much just false advertising at this point. I use to buy exclusively at Best Buy because of the program. Now I avoid Best Buy because of it.
Old 04-30-10, 11:33 AM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

I was about halfway through your questions when I realized that they aren't the right questions.

- Very few people REALLY care about Reward Zone or pre-orders IMO, and there is no "loyalty" in this market.
- If you are going to mimick Gamestop, go all-in and rip off their entire business model. Don't half-ass it like you normally do.
- I can't stress this enough: Have a better selection than Wal-Mart. If you want to be a "destination for games", you have to carry more niche titles. This will require a commitment to shelf-space that your corporate overlords will never buy off on (see Gamestop comment above).

You're basically competing for two markets: hardcore gamers, who are savvy and price sensitive and casual gamers/parents with narrow tastes who would just as soon pick up their games at Wal-Mart.

For hardcore gamers you are competing with Gamestop and Amazon, and both have better selection and prices. Good sales (including loss leaders) would be great, and I'm not talking about clearances to make space. I'm talking $10 off a new game...or if you want to build loyalty the "$10 credit on your next game" model is very clever.

For casual gamers and parents, you are competing with Wal-Mart and Gamestop. I'm already in Wal-Mart buying toilet paper, and you aren't any cheaper and don't have a better selection. Gamestop takes my old games, has slightly cheaper used games and has a better selection.

Know your consumers and know your competition, and the answers become self-evident.
Old 04-30-10, 11:52 AM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Price + Selection = Win.
Old 04-30-10, 11:54 AM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

I'd be more inclined to purchase from BB if you guys ripped the Amazon model and offered $10 - $20 on future purchases (any purchase -- not just video games) if I pre-ordered a game. I would probably accumulate those "credits" and parlay it into something big like a new TV, receiver or appliance... just a thought.
Old 04-30-10, 12:03 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Price is obviously the biggest factor. It's hard to compete with Amazon's base price, let alone taxless purchases, free 2-day delivery with Prime (or the slower, but still free FSSS). On top of that, they always have extra incentives to buy from them with frequent future credit promotions. Plus I can't tell you the number of times I've been into a Best Buy just to be told they didn't get any on the truck, but the store 30 miles away has 5 copies.

All that said, I do still buy from BB when the price is decent enough and the RZ helps with this. I've been a member of the Gamer's Club since it first started and I do factor it in when I buy games, but it's still hard to justify. The coupons help.

Last edited by pinata242; 04-30-10 at 01:03 PM.
Old 04-30-10, 12:08 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
1. Do you like/know about the Gamers Reward Zone program?
I'm a member. Occasionally, the monthly coupons are nice, but usually they're nothing notable. And if you offer a coupon on something as a reward for being a member, it's irritating as hell to see you then just make it a general sale price to the public and disallow using the coupon to member. For instance, if you have a coupon for $20 off a $40 game, don't put that game on sale for $20 during the coupon window. Or if you do, honor the coupon on top of the sale and give out free games. It's a pretty shitty 'reward' to give people coupons that can't be used during the time period they're valid for.

The terms are also confusing. Just make game purchases count for like double points or something. It's stupid I have a bank of reward zone points and a separate bank of gamer reward zone points, each with independent rules on when they'll actually be worth a certificate or how they're acquired.

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
2. What could we do to make our pre-order process better?
Actually compete with Amazon. Honestly, I just don't think there's a way you can. I know you've got all kinds of extra overhead and whatever compared to them. Given the choice between $56 at Amazon and a $10 or $20 gaming credit or $60 at Best Buy, maybe with enough GRZ points for a $10 certificate, it's a no brainer who I'm going to buy from.

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
3. If Best Buy had an in-store 'trade in' program (like Gamestop), would you be more likely to shop there?
It depends on entirely on how it was run. The ONLY thing that keeps me doing business with Gamestop are their sales and promotions, i.e. B2G1, B1G1, 25% off, etc. If Best Buy just added a used dept. and offered prices and trade-in values comparable to the regular prices at Gamestop, it'd be a joke.

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
4. If Best Buy had an in-store 'trade in' program, what would you like to see from it?
Fair trade-in values and prices. If I buy a new game, I can play through it in a week and turn around and easily sell it for $45 or $50 on half.com or here or wherever. Offering $20 or $30, like other places tend to, is a joke. Really, the only time I opt to trade with a store is if I have some older games that wouldn't sell for much secondhand and Gamestop has one of their 'trade ___ number of games and get a bonus of $___'. That's about the only time it's not a rip-off.
Old 04-30-10, 12:09 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Price. Even if the price is exactly the same, because of tax I'll go through Amazon every time. Also, I don't need to hear a high-pressure sales pitch for magazine subscriptions every time I check out.
Old 04-30-10, 01:00 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Good insight guys. Keep it coming.
Old 04-30-10, 01:07 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

The problem I see with in-store trade in programs (from a store's perspective) is that they get abused way too frequently. So you'll end up with 5 million copies of whatever trades for 5 bucks more than what it's on clearance for at another store, and very few copies of used games that people actually want to buy. That's basically what happened to every Blockbuster near here, people would just trade games back and forth between them and Gamestop to build credit.

Anyway, that doesn't help. I think preorder exclusives, which I personally hate, are the only thing other than price that would get me to preorder a game. I don't know how TRU does it, but their B2G1F deals twice a year always gets me to buy something from them.
Old 04-30-10, 01:27 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

1- Price - Amazon not only gives you a 5-20 % discount, but they also include gift cards for future purchases. I still don't understand Best Buy and most other B&M retailers inability to discount new releases. Why do they keep selling at MSRP on release day?

2- If you are going to be offering the Gamer's Reward Zone and tell the customer that they are going to get a $10 certificate if the spend $150, then honor that. I don't understand why the Rewards point show up in the account in 30-45 days but it takes almost 60-90 days for the Gamer Rewards point to show up and 30-60 days for it to become a certificate. That's too much of a time span between the shopping experience and the reward.

3- Don't become Gamestop. Be more like Amazon.com.
Old 04-30-10, 01:37 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Yeah, forget about the used market.

Price is probably the most important thing. $10 or $20 for preordering a game and I'll be there.

Maybe even adding more gaming stations like in Target/Gamestop?, so we can really try new games. And not just the same old GH/RB games.

You can reduce the DVD/CD section and give more space to the Gaming section. Just saying...
Old 04-30-10, 01:42 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by dx23 View Post
2- If you are going to be offering the Gamer's Reward Zone and tell the customer that they are going to get a $10 certificate if the spend $150, then honor that. I don't understand why the Rewards point show up in the account in 30-45 days but it takes almost 60-90 days for the Gamer Rewards point to show up and 30-60 days for it to become a certificate. That's too much of a time span between the shopping experience and the reward.
The whole points system is run like two entirely different entities. Suprememly annoying. Especially when points are now taken away from not being used in Reward zone.
Old 04-30-10, 02:16 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Better selections and have everything in store on release day. If possible matching Amazon's prices would be amazing too. Personally, I never buy used games and think it looks super tacky to have that stuff sitting around a store. I wouldn't clutter your limited space with multiple copies of the same game that most gamers already own, especially when it's only a few dollars cheaper than a brand new version.
Old 04-30-10, 02:18 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by Raul3 View Post
Yeah, forget about the used market.

Price is probably the most important thing. $10 or $20 for preordering a game and I'll be there.

Maybe even adding more gaming stations like in Target/Gamestop?, so we can really try new games. And not just the same old GH/RB games.

You can reduce the DVD/CD section and give more space to the Gaming section. Just saying...
Along this line... BB doesn't have a very appealing gaming section. It's an afterthought like vacuums or toasters -- at least the BB's by me. Titles are hard to find and poorly laid out. But at the end of the day it's about price and pre-order $$ bonuses.
Old 04-30-10, 02:24 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Price. Will try to add more later when I have time to read the thread.
Old 04-30-10, 02:25 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Make a big deal about new release day. My BB used to have a couple tables dedicated to new items that day. Very convenient.
Old 04-30-10, 02:41 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

You are going to have to beat Amazon in order to earn my gaming dollars. Amazon with their initial $3 to $10 cheaper prices and the credit toward a future purchase is key. Best Buy would have to do better than this in order for me to preorder from them and then physically go there to pick up the game.

Look at Red Dead Redemption for example, 56.99 and a $20 Gift Card (matching Walmarts deal). Best Buy would have to do that regularly. It's easier for Amazon to react to the market so I'm not sure how Best Buy can do it.

Gamestop has stepped up their game over the past few weeks and realized the business being lost to Amazon. They are now offering $10 codes with certain games good for future purchases (albeit they aren't stackable). There are also codes on Gamestop to take 15 to 25% off new game preorders. They are actually getting some of my Amazon dollars now.
Old 04-30-10, 02:48 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by badlieut View Post
Look at Red Dead Redemption for example, 56.99 and a $20 Gift Card (matching Walmarts deal). Best Buy would have to do that regularly. It's easier for Amazon to react to the market so I'm not sure how Best Buy can do it.
I think the best way to combat this on the fly like Amazon is to text those deals to Gamer Zone members like the Bioshock 2 deal a month back. This way you snag the hardcore gamers that are signed up and don't have to do an all out price match for every customer.

It got me off my ass and got me to Best Buy AND I'm now signed up for their alerts.
Old 04-30-10, 02:54 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Exclusive in-game pre-order bonuses. Some people will hate the idea, but those are probably the same people who are pre-ordering from GameStop because that version comes with a special in-game sword or something.
Old 04-30-10, 03:24 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

For me it all comes down to price, and real prices, not accumulating points through a loyalty program. Most of my business goes to Amazon because generally they have the best prices. I'll even check Amazon before I make a purchase elsewhere, just to make sure they aren't cheaper.

I think the biggest reason that Best Buy isn't a gaming destination for me is the rigidity in prices. I know if I walk into most any Best Buy, anything that wasn't listed in the ad, will be full MSRP. It gives me no incentive to walk into the store and browse. Sometimes I'll just browse prices at Amazon, because you never know when they will sell a $20 game for $12, or a $40 game for ~$25. That game suddenly becomes an impulse purchase. When the Best Buy price is the same as every other store, why would it be my gaming destination?

It seems like a lot of stores, just sit on older games, not pushing the prices to get them sold. Then suddenly there is a massive clearance on those select games, for which I'm sure very little money is made, but it clears the shelves. Why not push prices more often for lingering product, not just when the manufacturer lowers the MSRP. Target is very good about clearing out inventory, but that's partially because they have a smaller amount of shelf space. But sometimes I will go there just to see what's currently on clearance.

Sometimes I'm amazed that the weekly ads for Best Buy, just advertise a bunch of games at MSRP. You need to give me a reason to choose Best Buy, and reward zone points aren't enough. I check Amazon at least once a day, just to see what the daily deal is. That might be more difficult for a B&M store obviously, but there could be a way to tie in the B&M store to the Best Buy website for frequent deals to get people in store.

Gamestop has just in the past month, started aggressively pricing some games. They've had numerous coupons, plus temporary price cuts, plus gift card offers, etc. The result is that I've been on the gamestop website more in the past month than I have in the past few years. And I've purchase more ther in the past month than I have in years. They went from a store that I never consider, to a store that I'll check now. Sometimes I'll put items in my cart just to see what the final total comes out to after all the discounts. If you can get people to that final purchase screen, you've done something right.

I'm not really big on preorder deals, since I don't care to buy games at $60 plus $10 gc, but it sounds like I'm in the minority on that.

Last edited by msdmoney; 04-30-10 at 03:30 PM.
Old 04-30-10, 03:25 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Here's what I LIKE:

Unlike almost every other B&M retailer, Best Buy doesn't treat gamers as thieves. Nothing is behind lock and key, I can browse the shelves at my leisure. to that.
Old 04-30-10, 03:34 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Excellent point, Groucho. Not only is your game new and sealed, you don't have to hunt down some Keymaster to unlock the shrine and then walk you up to customer service.
Old 04-30-10, 03:37 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Here's what I LIKE:

Unlike almost every other B&M retailer, Best Buy doesn't treat gamers as thieves. Nothing is behind lock and key, I can browse the shelves at my leisure. to that.
Is this not the case for most Best Buys? Our local ones here have all the regular priced games locked in a cabinet up at the front of the store. You get an empty shelf title card that you go up and redeem, which still allows you to look at the game I guess, but it's not like they're still not treating you like a thief.
Old 04-30-10, 03:38 PM
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Re: What would make Best Buy a "destination" for video games?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Here's what I LIKE:

Unlike almost every other B&M retailer, Best Buy doesn't treat gamers as thieves. Nothing is behind lock and key, I can browse the shelves at my leisure. to that.
That must depend on location. I think all of the Indy stores have moved to having at least some games and hardware in locked cages. Some of them, it's just systems and extra copies of games they have a billion of. Others lock up pretty much anything that's 'hot'. And all the stores around here have started being much more aggressive in asking to check receipts of everyone as they leave, which strikes me just as much as 'thief treatment'.

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