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EA: Retail must learn from Apple Stores

Michael French
EA: Retail must learn from Apple Stores

Challenged retailers would do well to learn from one of the High Street’s success stories, Apple, says the new head of EA Sports.

In an interview with MCV, Andrew Wilson – EA Sports former studios head, last week promoted to president of the label – said not enough games retailers are thinking of the customers’ experience, and are putting shoppers off.

“There are games on a shelf, you talk to a guy behind the counter, you buy a game, you walk out. It’s a transaction experience, not a retail experience,” he said, pointing to Apple’s fashionable global stores. “Apple has created a great retail experience that people find exciting and fun – even though everything and more can be found on Apple’s site, people still choose to visit the store itself.

“I am not the Nostradamus of interactive entertainment but I have looked at what companies have been able to do with retail experiences and the type of feeling you get when you go there. I think [that Apple’s focus on experience] is what retail has to replicate in our industry.”

Apple has 330 stores around the world. Although relatively small compared to the storecount of GAME or GameStop, the chain has become iconic thanks to its in-store presentation. But games retailers will have to evolve if they want to match that, said Wilson.

“The challenge for retail in the entertainment industry is ‘what is that experience?’ There are ways that they can do it. I think retail will still exist for many years to come but I think it will exist in a different format. The relationship between game maker, retailer and consumer will continue, but I think it is going to be different in future.”

EA itself has already experimented with new retail experiences, opening up a retail store dedicated to its Sports range in the US. 

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Tags: Retail , Apple , ea sports , stores , andrew wilson

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1 comment

While I agree to a point, Apple stores are owned by apple, who are the brand holder, so are creating and maintaining a brand which these stores are only a part of. If you demo an iPhone in an apple store, then get one from Tesco / Amazon whatever, apples investment in the expensive store is still paying off, they have made a sale, albeit in someone else's store. For a game retailer however to invest the many millions per year it must cost to operate just one apple flagship store (e.g. 5th avenue, NY), the selling price will increase, and many customers will simply shop online or elsewhere after sampling the product in the fancy store. The ONLY companies who can justify the costs for this type of retail experience, are the brand holders (apple, swarovski, a&f etc etc). Maybe one day we will see Microsoft stores!!!

Martin Pullen

Martin Pullen INDUSTRY
Aug 15th 2011 at 1:19PM

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