This is a bit of a follow-up to the tour and conversation I had with Giulio from VideoGamesNewYork. I wanted to keep that video slimmed down and thought this would be a good side conversation to have. I asked Giulio what advice he had to other independent game store owners and he share some interesting insights. Hopefully, this will be useful to those thinking about how to start their own game store or existing store owners that are looking to strengthen their business.
Your Biggest Challengers
- Online Marketplace – gamers are now used to getting their goods cheap, fast, and have a wide selection.
- Big Box Retailers – You’re not just competing against GameStop, but also Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc
- Download Services – You also have to compete against download services like Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade
Things to Keep in Mind
- You have to accept your weaknesses compared to the online market and play up your strengths.
- Being retro as much as possible sets you apart from the big stores
- You need to be in a big enough city to not only have enough customers, but also have a steady supply of trade-ins from locals.
- Also work on doing trade-ins/acquisitions online. Your local market will only supply you with so much.
- Focus on the gaming business more than playing games.
- Think long-term when deciding what new games to stock. Being able to accurately predict what games will still be valuable in 5-10 years can keep your profits strong.
- Even though they are your competition, have a good relationship with the local Gamestops (or other big game stores) You need them to refer people to you for retro trade-ins
- Learn to repair/restore broken products so you can keep your retro inventory up.
- Play up the hands-on experience of classic gaming
- Think of extra services that you can provide to provide more value to your customers
Have Any Tips of Your Own?
Are you an indie game store or a customer of one that does a good job? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below — I’d love to hear them!