5 Drastic Changes GameStop Needs to Survive its Retail Nightmare



By: William White

GameStop's struggles have been evident for years in the digital era and the strain is showing on disgruntled employees. | Source: Shutterstock.com
  • GameStop is treating employees like crap while profits tumble.
  • The used-game retailer needs to make some major changes if it wants to survive.
  • Becoming a center of nerd culture is a great way to turnaround its abysmal business.

A recent Polygon article reveals that GameStop’s own employees aren’t happy with the company. According to several anonymous workers, the company is pushing for more sales, trade-ins, and pre-orders at the expense of customer satisfaction.

All of this comes as the company continues to struggle with the changing retail landscape. Brick-and-mortar stores are having trouble competing against online retailers.

GameStop is no stranger to this. As game sales move away from physical and toward digital, it continues to see losses widen.

There are just too many stores. | Source: Shutterstock.com

1. GameStop Needs to Close Stores

The worst thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be this way. GameStop has the potential to turn around, but it needs to make some major changes.

First off, the used-game retailer needs to close stores. It knows this and is already shutting down underperforming locations.

The problem here is that GameStop isn’t closing enough stores. It has 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Its average store has two other locations within five miles of each other.

That’s way too many locations, and way too dense of a footprint, for a used-game shop.

Retro Gaming
Take advantage of your retro game collection. Source: GameStop

2. Embrace Retro Gaming Already

Another thing that GameStop needs to do is embrace retro gaming. The average shopper wouldn’t realize it, but the company has a large library of retro games and consoles in stock.

Unfortunately, GameStop is content to keep all of these retro goodies on its online store. It’s hard to make a sale when many customers likely don’t even know what’s up for grabs.

GameStop Used Games
Price games for what they are worth. Source: GameStop

3. Take Into Account Condition When Pricing Games

While I’m at it, GameStop really needs to adjust how it sells used games. The company doesn’t differentiate between the conditions of its games.

For example, customers could buy a complete game from GameStop, including the game, art, case, and booklet, for the same price as just the disc.

This pricing scheme is horrible for game collectors. What’s the point in buying a loose disc for the same price as a complete version when they could just head to eBay or Amazon and know exactly what they are getting?

All this means is that game collectors never have a reason to look at GameStop, to begin with. Combine this with it not utilizing its retro offerings and it’s just wasted money from an out of touch company.

Trading Card Games
You already sell the cards. Might as well hold events too. Source: GameStop

4. GameStop Needs to Dive Deeper into the Realm of Nerd Culture

GameStop needs to become more than just a used game retailer. It needs to embrace nerd culture more.

No, that doesn’t mean line another wall with ugly Funko Pop figurines.

The game retailer already sells Magic: The Gather and Pokemon cards, as well as the occasional Dungeons & Dragons product. It needs to leverage these hobbies to become the center of nerd culture.

GameStop could start holding special events at its stores around these hobbies. That could include MTG tournaments, as well as D&D Adventurers League.

If GameStop were to do this, it would open itself up to having more customers in its store shopping for more products. There’s plenty of crossover between gamers that love video games, trading cards, and table-top RPGs.

GameStop Employees
Employees need to be encouraged, not lambasted. Source: GameStop

5. Stop Harassing Employees and Customers

Finally, the used-game company needs to stop treating its employees like crap. Forcing them to harras customers for pre-orders or trade-ins is no way to win customer loyalty. In fact, it will drive them away.

Instead, GameStop just needs to let workers sell games to customers without being an annoyance. That will win it much more favor with its target audience that any amount of marketing pushes will.

That’s all I’ve got. The ball is in your court, GameStop. Let’s see what you can do.

William White comes from Southeast Ohio and is a graduate of Washington State Community College. He's been writing professionally for over 10 years and his current focus is on the gaming industry.