GameStop Begins Chain-Wide Beacon Deployment

  • August 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM EDT
  • By Glenn Taylor
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GamestopBeacon technology can help retailers better understand consumers’ path-to-purchase and, in turn, deliver more relevant offers and messages while they’re browsing in store aisles.

GameStop recently kicked off a chain-wide deployment of beacons from Gimbal, as well as the iBeacon promotion platform from Shelfbucks. The technology was implemented throughout August in 36 test stores in Austin and College Station, Tex.

The beacons are placed on numerous shelves throughout each store to help GameStop merge its in-store and mobile shopping experiences. Shoppers holding their phones nearby beacons will be ablet to access custom content such as active promotions, discounts and offers, product ratings, reviews, screenshots and even game trailers, depending on the section of the store they are browsing.

“We think of it as digitizing the physical space of the store,” said Jeff Donaldson, CIO of GameStop and SVP of the GameStop Technology Institute. “We want to equalize the channel and make sure the customer has access to all product information in a very easy way in that store environment as they navigate and shop the store — just like they would on a digital platform.”

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Delivering content and information via beacons can be especially valuable for helping GameStop sell more high-consideration goods, according to Erik McMillan, CEO and Founder of Shelfbucks.

“In a GameStop, you might walk in and there might be five video games for you to choose from and they all cost the same,” McMillan said. “If you only have $100 today, which game out of these five do you really want to buy? You want to make sure you’re buying the one that’s going to be the most fun, the one that has the highest ratings and reviews or the one that has the best promotion today.”

Sharing Information Throughout The Shopping Experience

The Shelfbucks team was responsible for physically installing the platform and devices, and continues to monitor the operations and battery life of the beacons. Because Shelfbucks is managing the technology, GameStop employees can continue to focus on improving the customer experience.

“There are platforms out there where the beacons are hidden or lost in the store sending you messages,” said Charlie Larkin, Senior Director of the GameStop Technology Institute. “We think that’s a great experience, as well. However, when we look at what we want to deliver in our stores, Shelfbucks has a software platform behind the beacons that gives the ability to create a customer-driven experience. The customer is choosing to opt in to the app. The customer is choosing to engage with that beacon in order to receive those offers from that section of the store.”

With an expanded product line that includes tablets and mobile phones, as well as a simplified trade-in pricing program, the GameStop team wants to provide shoppers with technology that can get them acquainted with new policies, products and offerings.

“We weren’t sure that our customers were fully aware of the products that we had available as well as the features and benefits of adopting those products,” Donaldson said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The customer navigating through the store should have opportunities to interact with that environment to discover the new product categories we have in the store. Just like any retailer, we have a lot of promotions that have complexity to them. You want to point out to a customer not only the promotions available to them, but also the promotions that would make the most sense for them at the moment.”

Improving Associate-To-Shopper Relationships

As part of the beacon implementation, BestFit Mobile built an associate-facing iPad application, which is designed to enable GameStop employees to better engage with customers and personalize the shopping experience.

“Ultimately, our platform delivers the ability for the in-store associate to pass information from their iPad across to the shoppers’ iPhone applications so they can make product recommendations and share videos,” said Bret Cunningham, President and COO at BestFit Mobile. “GameStop is thinking about how to embrace these technologies in stores in the long term.”

GameStop has taken a proactive approach to understanding new retail trends by launching the GameStop Technology Institute, a business unit focused on discovering and delivering new technologies designed to cater to the modern consumer.

“GameStop really has their stuff together,” McMillan noted. “We were in meetings with all the cross-functional groups and they’re understanding how this technology has to be marketed, how they need to train their employees to make sure they know how to talk to shoppers and which promotions should get delivered to the appropriate markets.”

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