Making a Hobby into a Business
September 9th, 2013 by
A hobby game store, or as many call it the Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) represents a kind of niche business that by its nature needs to be brick and mortar. Part retail hodgepodge, part gathering space, the FLGS must live up to all parts of its name. This applies to both business practices as well as marketing.
Being friendly seems like a simple concept, but ensuring that each customer or potential customer feels comfortable in your store is essential to any FLGS. Many visitors often feel intimidated by more dedicated or experienced hobby gamers, and often miss out on amazing board game experiences. Proper social media targeting of these casual players can inject necessary growth and revenue into an FLGS. Plus, casual explanation of modern games can generate real interest in a new customer.
Make sure that your community knows where you are and what you do. Direct mail flyers may seem old-school but they can be a great way to inform the kind of repeat and local customers you need.
Remember that you are selling games, as well as the gaming experience. Having a place for customers to play different games allows for exposure to new audiences. I started playing Magic the Gathering because of seeing it at a local comic/slash game store.
Finally, remember you are a store. Find a way to capitalize on each type of customer in a way that makes them feel welcome and satisfied. Be both a friendly and open face for new players and a knowledgeable guide for veterans. Plus, try hosting pay to play leagues and tournaments in shop to monetize that display area on nights and weekends. And, as any repeat customer of a FLGS knows, snacks and drinks are a must for long gaming sessions and can help pad thin sales margins.