On the hardest thing I had to learn as a store owner

The single hardest thing I had to learn in owning and running a game store was the most straight forward thing.

Gamers are not my target audience.

I like my gamer customers. Many of them are friends even.  But my store isn’t designed to attract them.  Sure we have tables and chairs and space to play games.  Of course we run tournaments for various things.  But how many of them care that tables have fitted cloths to look nice?  More importantly – how many of them are going to show up regardless of what I do?  The answer is most of them.  They are Fry in this story… Banging down the door exclaiming “shut up and take my money”. They are also sometimes known as low hanging fruit… The stuff that’s easy to grab and always there.

Before the hate mail floods in from the three friends who read this, we still appreciate your patronage and want to make everyone happy, but I don’t have to work to attract you to my store.

My target audience is the “muggle” – the person who doesn’t play board games, who hasn’t played D&D in a decade or more, who has never built a miniature in their life.

They might only ever set foot in my store once, and if we aren’t inviting, exciting, and catching their eye; they likely will never turn again.

There’s a reason the largest front facing aisle in my store is Star Wars games – it’s easily identifiable.  Even if they don’t know that X-Wing is an awesome easy to play minis/board game hybrid they still know what the Millennium Falcon is.  They’ll see how cool it looks and come in to touch it… And then I have them 😉

Market your store to the hard to reach audience, the easy to reach audience will seek you out already.

2 thoughts on “On the hardest thing I had to learn as a store owner

  1. Good post and some valid observations. I think one of the big points is having an inviting atmosphere. I have been to a number of game stores in quite a few different states and I can say that unfortunately, the majority of them were uninviting. Typical scenario: I walk in the shop, nobody says a word to me. I can’t even figure out who works there. I stand at the register for a few minutes, eventually some guy sitting at a table with his friends looking thru Magic cards yells from across the room asking if I need something. I ask about a certain product, they don’t even get up from the table, they respond with something along the lines of “no, we don’t have that, nobody is in to that anymore.” So, I leave the store feeling like I was not welcome, I annoyed the guy working there just by walking in and interrupting him and his friends and on top of that, apparently I’m a lame gamer that is not on the cutting edge of gaming and looking for a game that nobody is in too anymore. A little customer service goes a long way and I think a lot of stores miss that simple concept.

    I’ll say I’ve never had a negative experience at Game On. Staff are great, they are attentive but not annoying about it, I can’t stand someone constantly following me around asking if I need something. There is always well stocked product and if there is something I wanted that you didn’t have, the staff have always offered to order it for me. I feel very fortunate to have a store like yours in our area.

    My one recommendation for improvement . . . a coffee/cappuccino machine.

    Like

    1. Appreciate it man =)

      We strive hard to be just friendly enough to not be the obnoxious guys but still be helpful. I’ve been to many, many different game stores in several states and what not and always try to learn one thing I like and dislike from all of them and then make sure my store does/doesn’t do those things.

      As far as a coffee/cappuccino machine goes, that sadly isn’t in the cards. When you get into stuff like that you begin the road towards food handler’s licensing and inspections and all that jazz, versus our current status of prepackaged only goods meaning we don’t have to worry about any of that.

      Like

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