Magic is one of the most popular and profitable games in the world.
Even so, the majority of friendly local game stores do not rely solely on Magic to generate all of their revenue. Most stores diversify their offerings into other related areas in an attempt to appeal to more potential customers and increase their top line revenue.
Even if your business focuses exclusively on Magic, at a minimum you should still have other related products on your shelves for your customers to buy.
We’re talking about the assortment of products Wizards of the Coast releases each year in addition to accessories like card boxes, play mats, sleeves, dice, binders, and bags.
All of these things are important accessory products for Magic players and should be a part of your offering and sales process.
Everyone needs to eat
Another common way to capitalize on the fact that your customers will frequently spend multiple hours at your store is to sell snack foods and beverages to them.
Players get hungry and thirsty over the course of multi-hour tournaments after all.
Instead of having your customer leave to go buy food from somewhere else, your store can make extra sales and keep your players in the store.
Many local game store owners have found great success by adding a variety of food and drink options to their offerings, going as far as having full-blown kitchens and cafes built into their businesses.
As the average age of Magic players has risen over the past 10 years, their tastes have matured as well. Some game stores have expanded into the world of alcoholic beverages and created a tavern-like atmosphere that their customers have really responded to.
Depending on the market you are operating in and the age of your average customer, serving alcohol and creating a more mature atmosphere is definitely a viable option.
Whether you want to take your business into the realm of food and drink is up to you, it’s not going to be the right answer for every game store owner. Do your research and due diligence beforehand to find out if that’s a service that your local market wants and you’re prepared to take on the extra work and responsibilities that come with it.
No matter what your research indicates, going this route will entail higher risks for your business.
Higher costs, licensing, safety inspections, and more complicated build-outs. If you have the funds to fully realize a restaurant, cafe, or tavern like model for your business I would recommend giving it serious consideration.
When done well this kind of additional business can be something that will put your store on the map. Mox Boarding House, The Haunted Game Cafe, and the soon to be finished cafe section of Little Shop of Magic are great examples of what this can create when executed well.
Going wide as well as deep
Geek culture covers a lot of ground nowadays. Magic is only the most prominent slice of an enormous pie.
Hobbyists tend to stick to one game primarily but often dabble in other genres within the geek culture. It’s very easy for a local game store to cater to multiple product categories and hobbyist styles at once. This allows those stores to capture customers from other related markets.
Those markets include:
- Board games
- Role playing games
- Other CCG’s like Yugioh or LCG’s like Netrunner
- Comic books
- Miniatures like Warmachine or Games Workshop products
- Sports cards and sports memorabilia.
You could also sell props, pop culture items, and things like costumes and expect a fair amount of overlap with your core customers.
On the digital side your business can buy and sell:
- Used video games
- Vintage or retro games and consoles
- Arcade cabinets
- Computer games
Or your business can offer services like an internet cafe or phone/computer repairs.
There are a lot of possible combinations and each one can be profitable if done correctly in a market that wants those things.
Only a few of the above markets could realistically be expected to provide enough sales to support a business on their own.
You need to know if there are enough customers locally to support investing money into that market and what you need to do to execute it properly. Ask yourself what knowledge and expertise you need to have to become an authority in that space.
Reach out to your existing customers and find out what other games they are interested in. Get on Facebook and poll your local community. Research, research, research.
You should have a basic understanding of the sector before your begin stocking these products. Do a quick Google search, spend some time on the forums and Facebook groups to see what the players and customers are actually saying, ask other specialty retailers what their experience with the product is and make your own decisions.
Once you’ve got a reasonable idea as to what products will sell, start small. Don’t drop a large amount of money into a product line until you know it’s sustainable and makes sense for your business.
All businesses survive by managing cash flow and tying up your cash in stock that may be a flop is a quick way to sink your store. So start with a small investment, check your sales data, and make adjustments from there.
With a data driven approach to making product decisions and a solid strategy for sales, you’ll have better odds at coming out on top when diversifying your game store’s offerings.
Anyway, that’s all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @Tomtraplin or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know what your game store offers and why!