The Score of Murfreesboro is a local video game store and LAN center. LAN centers are not hugely popular business models, and the majority of them lie outside of the U.S., making best practices for this type of organization hard to find.On the opposite side of the spectrum, the game store industry is fairly competitive with many good local game stores to study best practices from.
LAN Center Best Practices
The idea of a LAN center, or internet café, currently has strong roots in Asian culture. There are over 100,000 LAN centers in Asia with only hundreds in America. The large difference in numbers shows how much LAN centers in America could grow if they followed the same path of Asia. Obviously, the same rules won’t apply completely, but the concepts on how they market their product is similar.
A very popular strategy in Korea is for the LAN centers to team up with game developers and offer rewards to players for playing from that LAN center. This obviously helps both parties by encouraging gamers to play that game more, and giving an incentive to go to the LAN center to play it. This would be popular among gamers who play MMOs or online games with micro transactions.
Partnerships like this need to be shared on social media from both parties often to remind users that they can get rewards for playing at the LAN center of choice. Before choosing a game developer to team up with, it’s useful to look at what games your audience is playing currently to know what the popular choices currently are. The downside to this is finding a game company to partner with would be very difficult for a small LAN center and would need a lot of promoting to lead an increase in regular customers.
The other way Asian LAN centers have become so widespread is focus on the social aspect. They are advertised as a place to go to relax and have fun with people you may or may not know. It may be because gaming is a much more accepted in Asia, but the majority of them have been to a LAN center to socialize with their friends after school or work. This is the one thing that LAN centers in America can take advantage of.
With the death of split screen and co-op games, seeing your gaming friends face to face is a much rarer occurrence. Offering deals to people who come in groups or couples that come in encourages gamers to leave their home to play games in a social environment.
Game Store Best Practices
Unlike LAN centers, local game stores are popular in America, and because of this, their social media is concerned with out valuing their competitors. Gamestop is by far the most popular game store and for a good reason. With the need for having physical copies of games declining, Gamestop stands strong and shows why having game stores is still important to the industry. They do a lot of interesting things to attract visitors by having a bunch of different promotions happing all at the same time.
Gamestop puts a lot of emphasis on having a rewards system for returning customers. This requires either having an account or card to track purchases, and special rewards are offered on social media. They even had a promotion with Shell, which seems like an unlikely pairing, but everyone needs gas and it’s another incentive to get a rewards card.
The Shell example is pretty extreme but having a simple punch card would be efficient at bringing in return customers, especially for LAN players at the score. The downside of this is the incredible amount of work needed to be put into a complex reward system. That’s why a punch card would be easy for a small business to implement and still be effective.
Gamestop also has great interaction with their followers. They ask their fans to caption photos and frequently reply to people in the comments section. They also follow new game releases very carefully and build hype for them in order to feel a connection with their game fans and encourage them to buy the game from their stores. This type of interactivity has no downsides except for the time used to write to individual people, which is well worth the time investment.
Gamestop’s website is top of the line in terms of easy use. The tabs are all well organized to what the consumer is looking for and has information on more products than just their games. Using you’re account to buy online counts towards the rewards system and the most popular items are on display on the front page, encouraging customers to take a peek. They also make sure to advertise their specific deals for ordering from their store. In general, it’s everything a game store’s site should look like with a simple design with a lot of information for the viewer to take in.