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Best Buy Planning Dedicated Game Sales Clerks, In-Store Gaming Desks

Best Buy Planning Dedicated Game Sales Clerks, In-Store Gaming Desks

April 14, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Major electronics retailer Best Buy will be adding sales clerks and in-store sales desks exclusively for the video game department in the current fiscal year, the company said at a presentation during an Analyst Day event today.

A presentation document obtained by Gamasutra and presented by senior VP Chris Homeister lays out plans for what the company dubs a "gaming transformation" as part of a "drive toward number one industry position" in the game software market.

Best Buy currently lags behind GameStop and Walmart in terms of gaming software revenue share, according to data presented by the company, but it hopes to turn this situation around in part by adding "dedicated, informed, and engaged employees focused only on gaming."

These blue-shirted employees will be key to driving customers to preorder titles and purchase "exclusive digital add-ons," according to the planning document. They'll also be responsible for manning planned in-store gaming desks, which will "create the destination for trade, preorder and digital offers" according to the presentation.

The changes -- planned for the 2012 fiscal year, which ends next February -- will drive what Best Buy sees as a "virtuous cycle" of preorders leading to game purchases, in turn leading to in-store digital content purchases, in turn leading to game trade-in credits put towards further preorders, and so on.

The company also seems to be differentiating itself from competitor GameStop by stressing that "trade‐in credit can be used for any category of products" in the store, according to the planning document. New floor plans will also devote more space to gaming products, mainly by shrinking the size of the music department, the document shows.

Best Buy rolled out its nationwide trade-in program last summer after years of limited-store testing. Despite this, the company saw gaming hardware and software sales fall during the crucial December 2010 sales window.

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