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Game is a UK-founded video games company that has been selling gaming media and equipment since 1991.

But the consumer landscape is vastly different now, with fickle consumers expecting a personalised experience across all channels, such as stores, online and mobile.

Fred Prego, Game’s group insight and marketing director, told the Internet Retailing Expo (IRX) 2017 that in the four years since he joined the company, the brand had used data collected about customers to adapt its stores for a modern audience.

“Game has been using data as a route to more engaging and more profitable customer experiences,” he said. “We have embraced insight to the point where it is truly at the foundation of the business.”

This transformation began with the launch of the Game rewards app, which enabled customers to collect loyalty points in-store using their smartphones rather than the firm’s legacy Game loyalty cards.

But Prego admits this was not a big enough change to engage customers – scanning the consumer’s phone at the point of sale was too reminiscent of swiping their loyalty card and this did not necessarily help drive traffic to stores.

Instead, Game developed the loyalty app by building in gamification through achievements, or “accolades”, similar to those given when playing the video games themselves. This encouraged customers to change their behaviour to collect the rewards.

The accolades increased the number and frequency of customers interacting with the brand through the app, as well as the number of people coming into Game stores and the amount they spend during each visit.

A scanning capability was introduced to allow consumers to scan any game in any store using the Game app, watch trailers based on the title, learn about the game and get a price comparison. It also offered a personalised price based on the consumer’s loyalty position with the Game brand.

“We used the data we had about the customers to personalise their experience at the time of scanning,” said Prego. Hundreds of thousands of customers are now taking advantage of this scanning ability.

“It’s trying to say to people ‘don’t buy it at our competitors – come back to us’,” said Prego.

Collecting customer data

Augmented reality (AR) was then built into the app for use in stores, enabling customers to interact with digital signage to watch adverts, download content, watch or play game demos and take pictures for use on social media.

All the while, Game collects customer data through all interactions with the retailer, including store purchases, web interactions and interactions through the Game app. All data collected can go towards personalising each customer’s experience with the brand across all channels.

“The beauty of engaging customers with tech allows us to keep the data from every single interaction,” said Prego.

By making adaptations to the customer journey and experience, and collecting more data along the way, Game found that even loyal customers were reducing their store visits, despite the fact that the games industry continues to grow.

As well as acquiring Multiplay, which owns events-based company Insomnia, Game launched a number of Belong stores to offer customers a different in-store experience.

These stores are focused on delivering personalised “unforgettable experiences” by offering customers the opportunity to try out games and consoles.

All the interactions in the store, including the types of consoles customers use, how long they spend playing games and what games they choose, generates data that can be fed back into Game’s personalisation and transformation strategy.

Introducing new streams

The retailer has followed this up by introducing new streams, such as food and drinks retail and pay to play for new technologies including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

“Because we are a gaming retailer, expect experiences that are beyond a normal store,” said Prego. “It’s amazing what you can do with tech and how you can adapt it to suit your needs as a business – and a retailer in particular.”

Each of Game’s nine Belong stores is completely different, catering to the preferences of the customers who visit it. Some of the stores are more frequently visited by families, whereas others attract high numbers of teenagers or young professionals.

The store data is shared among Game’s shop managers to “empower” them to make the right decisions and target their audience properly, including customising the games and consoles provided in-store, or the languages used by those particular outlets on social media.

This new format has increased the number of first-time customers interacting with the brand, and 20% of the customers trying out Belong are new to Game.

Targeted email campaigns

The retailer’s email campaigns are also targeted at specific users to encourage sales at significant times during the customer’s journey, such as when they buy a new console.

Instead of “bombarding the customer with messages”, said Prego, Game will pause any other marketing emails when a customer buys a new console, and put them on a different mailing list that targets what they might want to buy based on their previous purchases and habits.

This new approach to email marketing campaigns increased customer spend by 31% in its first six months.

But the data a company collects is only as good as the teams processing and making decisions from it, and Prego admitted Game is using “nothing sophisticated” to generate customer insights.

“The data is only as good as the people you put behind it,” he said. “Data is transforming Game. We are not using any specific software – we are just looking at people and using their intelligence to use the data better.”

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