Only 4.7 per cent of UK physical sales of games are generated through indie retailers, according to Kantar Worldpanel's annual survey.
Competing with High Street giants such as GAME and online behemoths like Amazon: that's the daily struggle of indie retailers.
Which is why distributor Koch Media decided to launch its Superindie initiative exactly one year ago – because indie retailers need to distinguish themselves from the big players.
We have seen that a lot of the independent retailers have had to diversify from selling just games to other hobby items such as trading cards,” says Koch Media's key account and independent retail manager Hayden Saye about the indie sector.
Most people visit independent stores as they like the personal one-on-one service they receive from the store owners. They also tend to stock more niche titles giving consumers a larger choice or loyalty points for these products. And now, with Superindie, they can receive exclusive offers that they may not receive from a larger outlet.”
Satisfying the individual needs of smaller retailers is at the core the initiative.
Saye continues: When Koch Media formed Superindie last year, we looked at the independent retail sector and recognised that it had evolved significantly, and is constantly evolving. We saw a lot of creativity, a lot of diverse outlets and, of course, at the heart of the independent retailer is their entrepreneurial spirit. As a supportive distributor we recognised that we needed to change the way we supported independent retailers with their businesses and created a suite of services that recognises individual requirements and allows them to remain competitive.
The Superindie program promises to give indie retailer an exclusive point of difference for each unit purchased on all major releases,” Saye explains – that can be DLC, free point of sale or T-shirts. And it's on the right track.
The first year has been successful for us; the easiest way to measure this success is in the number of independent retailers that have signed up to the program which has increased significantly,” Saye says – without giving any figure though. As the number of customers grows so does the amount of product that they sell. The retailers themselves have commented that the ease of the program, and the offers, has increased their business. The exclusive items that we give with each unit purchased from Koch Media gives them a great difference to help the retailers compete with the larger stores. This point of difference for independent retail was at the heart of the Superindie initiative from the start.”
Of course, finding a ‘point of difference' is easier when you're Koch Media, since the firm is the distribution partner for triple-A companies such as Sega, Square Enix and Codemasters.
One of our main ambitions when we launched Superindie was to have exclusive DLC for one of the triple-A products we distribute, which we have achieved for Final Fantasy XV,” Saye reveals. This DLC offer has been exceedingly popular and resulted in Final Fantasy XV becoming the best performing title with independent retailers since the program commenced.”
But Final Fantasy XV's DLC is certainly not the only ace up Superindie's sleeve.
The team is constantly listening to and learning from independent retailers,” Saye continues. We have hosted round table events for some of our key independent retailers; which gives them the opportunity to provide us with direct feedback. We ask them what kind of special offers work the best for them and implement these ideas in our exclusives.”
He concludes: We will continue to grow our customer base, and continue to work closely with our customers to deliver what they actually want and need to drive their business forward.”