Video game shops are a unique entry to the marketplace. There are very few of them, and they tend to consist of national chains. Don’t let this fact dissuade you from opening up your video game shop, however. Once you find your niche and begin promoting your store, you’ll have customers arriving who like to frequent and support small businesses. The market isn’t saturated, and there are plenty of video game fans to go around. However, before you open your store’s doors for the first time, there’s a process that must be followed through. This planning process consists of deciding why you want to open the store and goes through choosing a name and coming up with a marketing plan. Let’s get started.
Why Open a Video Game Store
Having a passion for video games is the number one reason for opening a store that sells them. You might’ve grown up playing games on your Nintendo or Sega Genesis before graduating to the Sony PlayStation and X-Box. Or maybe you preferred computer games or even handheld ones. There are so many reasons for opening such a store, but this is the most important. You need to understand how video games work and what goes into getting a customer essentially “hooked” on playing them. Basically, you need to be the type of person who has a vast knowledge of video games – the kind of person that your customers can go to for advice. After you’ve established your passion for video games, the next step is to choose a niche. Do you only want to sell vintage games? There’s certainly a market for that that the reissuing of classic Nintendo games will attest. You might also want to stick to one manufacturer, such as Sony or Microsoft. Or focus on computer games. Even used games can become an individual niche. Of course, you could also go the general route and sell a little of everything. You have plenty of options here! You need to decide what makes your store different. Lastly, you’ll need to decide whether or not to see either new games, used games, or a mixture of both. If you choose to sell used games, then you’ll most likely have to buy games from your customers for either cash or store credit. This is just something to keep in mind.
Taking the Next Steps
After you’ve come up with a general plan on what type of games you want to sell and you’ve settled on a marketing niche, you next need to find a location. It’s pretty tough to sell physical video games out of a room in your house, unless you’re selling them on an auction site. This reason is why you need a physical storefront. The best place for a store like this is in a shopping center or small downtown area. There are several different sizes of shopping centers and all will work quite well. A small downtown area, especially if you live in a town with a historic shopping district, is another good place for a physical store. The odds of you finding a standalone store that isn’t too larger are pretty slim. Once you have a place to set up your store, it next needs a name. The name should probably reflect the gaming world. You can take a word or phrase from your favorite game – as long as it’s well known – and turn that into a company name. You could also use your name “So and so’s Video Games” or the title of the street or section of town that your store is located in. However, a gaming name is probably your best bet. Next, you need a logo. This is the fun part, since video games are colorful and varied. You have a lot of options here, so pick something entertaining. You can use colors, make the words look like they came from a vintage game complete with visible pixels, or pick something that looks modern, yet cartoonish.
Drawing In Your Clientele
Marketing is the next step. People need to know that your business exists. Without that, you won’t have any customers. Consider the clients that you’re trying to attract. They are most likely young, but not too young, since they need to be able to afford to buy games. Once you have your customer niche settled, you can go about trying to draw them in. This can be done by placing ads on Facebook, in newspapers (if your ideal clientele is slightly older), or by attending comic book conventions. A lot of gamers like comic books, so there’s a cross-clientele there. You also need to put together a website. A good website, one that helps you capture clients who sign up for an email list, will also bring in customers. You do need to include some basic details, including the name of your business (the logo), where your business is located, its hours, and what types of games you specialize in. If you sell vintage collectible games, you might also want to include a list of the ones that you have in stock. Finally, you can bring in new customers and get some publicity by hosting video game tournaments. There are a lot of fun, and they’ll bring in money in the form of entry fees.
As you can see, a lot is involved in opening your video game store. You need to become an expert in them (unless you already are), find your niche, and then choose whether or not to sell used games alongside the new ones. After that part of the planning process has been completed, you next have to find a location, come up with a clever name, and then design a logo (or have one designed for you.) Once all of that is in place, marketing comes next. You need to market your business so that people know it exists. The important takeaways here include creating a website and hosting tournaments. All of these things matter if you want your video game store to be a success.