The digital age and online shopping has been rough on many retailers, GameStop included. The specialty game store has been faced with dwindling profits, and announced their plans to close 150 stores last year. After recognizing the need for change, GameStop is now aiming to rebrand stores as hangout spots for gamers to commune similar to the way they do online.
They’ve started experimenting with different changes at select stores to decipher how gamers would respond to the change. A new store design was revealed back in September via a Facebook video. The GameStop is located in Pryor, Oklahoma, and the location confirmed that conference tables seen in the video are meant for tabletop games and events. The feedback on the changes was mostly positive and locals seemed excited about the new direction. This gave GameStop confidence to expand the new approach to more stores.
Frank Hamlin, chief customer officer at GameStop, spoke with IGN about the companies plans for change. He says, “As digitization expands, as the technology of streaming… and the ability to interact socially from the comfort of your own home expands, the fundamental question of this is: do people want the same notion that they’re doing virtually in real life?” He finds the answer to be a resounding yes, as the new services provide relevancy to the test stores in down seasons. New concepts include GameStop 2.0, GameStop Social, GameStop Retro, and GameStop Pop!
2.0 and Social are both store setups that allow you to play together in the store, although Social is more suited for tournaments, coding classes, and even birthday parties. Retro, and Pop! target more hardcore gamers, with shelves full of vintage titles, and gaming merchandise like apparel, accessories and collectibles. Oklahoma is the center of their first experiments, but the success of these test stores will likely lead to more popping up elsewhere.