Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Future Of Retailing

Imagine games here instead of pastries.
I've talked a lot about digital distribution and how that's the future of the game industry and the book industry. It's extremely important to note, though, that this does not mean that traditional retail stores and physical products are going away. The product mix at retailers will need to change, as will many aspects of their business. Surviving stores will take advantage of their physical location and the innate desire of people to get together, plus the fact that special editions of books and games can't be downloaded if they have nifty physical components.

Which is why this announcement from Square is so interesting. This is the company that introduced a little square gadget last year that plugs into the audio jack of an iPhone and allows you to swipe credit cards. Which is pretty nice, when there's no contract to worry about and the transaction fee is only 2.75%. They have been growing rapidly, and now they're processing $3 million a day in transactions. The next step is what's exciting; they are launching Square Register, a whole register/payment processing/customer interaction module function on an iPad.

Customers will be able to see their whole transaction history with a merchant, be able to make purchases with their smartphone, get special deals, find other Square-enabled merchants, and a whole slew of other features. Merchants will get Google Analytics-style data on all their customers and be able to analyze what specials are working, what items sell best to what type of customers, etc. Heady stuff for small local businesses.

This could give the small retailer (the Friendly Local Gaming Store or Bookstore) a real edge in the competition with the big chains. It's this sort of disruptive technology and service offering that can help the little guys flourish in the new digital era.

Best of all, this stuff is going to be cheaper than buying high-end cash registers, renting credit card machines, and dealing with ridiculous payment processing contracts. Sure, you'll need a cash register for the cash transactions, but you can use an inexpensive one for that. Read the whole article, it's a fascinating look at what retailing can be like for mom-and-pops who can embrace technology.

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