V4: Serving your Friendly Local Game Store
Having conducted a few rounds of testing the Meeplex value prop with the gaming community, I am shifting gears this week to get familiar with your Friendly Local Game Store. Gamers want a service that engages and organizes their community, and the FLGS is the beating heart of that community. So naturally, I need to understand what the FLGS needs in order to benefit from participating in my platform.
I hit the pavement, and took a tour of a few game stores here in Chicago to get a feel for the locations I’d like to bring onto the platform. One thing that I noticed, was that most of these stores have a particular specialty. Some are primarily comics-oriented, with game nights mixed in. Others focus on one specific game, such as Magic the Gathering, and have highly competitive tournaments. Some are family-oriented, with toys and jigsaws nestled amongst Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride boxes. This brings me to my first big data point for the week.
1. Successful FLGSs develop a unique selling proposition.
Developing a unique selling proposition is a crucial survival strategy in this particular retail category. Understanding these and supporting them on my platform will be crucial to my own success with Meeplex. If a store specializes in a specific game, I can connect their advertising or event listings directly to those users who play that game frequently. If a store has an exceptionally large event space with snacks or other accommodations, I can direct larger or very consistent groups to that store as a venue. Making sure that these retailers get the maximum return on their investments in special inventory or location will be a big benefit for them.
2. Inventory is the largest cost for a FLGS.
Tabletop games take up a lot of shelf space. Product that is gathering dust needs to be discounted and turned over in order to make room for new inventory, in order to keep customers visiting often to check out the new stuff. The end result of all this, is that inventory management is a key skill in the business. Lots of these retailers do multiple sales analyses (like week to week, year to date, and monthly totals) to compare inventory investment to sales and determine which departments are up and which have become bloated and need to be liquidated. If I can leverage the information stream Meeplex takes in to keep these retailers better informed on trends, I can help them manage their inventory in a more sophisticated way. Part of that could be having a highly detailed and local view of which games are currently owned, the rate at which users acquire new games, and which games are frequently owned together. I also have an opportunity to direct users to liquidation events of specific interest to them (DnD players to liquidation of DnD books, for example). This will help retailers offload bad inventory more quickly.
3. Owners love hosting events, but hate keeping a gaming area.
Events drive word-of-mouth for FLGS, and bring in crowds of customers and build rep. They also bring in tournament entry fees, sales in the form of “sealed deck events” for CCG games, and some require a membership fee. Unfortunately, they also drain your cash flow because they are not holding merchandise and therefore not generating income the rest of the time. Anything I can do to make more customers aware of these events and maximize the profitability of these dedicated spaces will be appreciated. Some stores offer points systems for purchases, with upper tiers involving hosting private events. Maybe I can create a new revenue stream by coordinating smaller events for them on a more frequent basis.
That’s all for now.