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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M helps retailer adapt amid changing technology

In response to the rapidly changing nature of the gaming industry, a well-known video game retailer has partnered with the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M to redesign the retail experience and create innovative ways to interact with customers.
The GameStop Technology Institute, along with founding partners IBM and the Center for Retailing Studies, was formed in March to use GTI to research innovative ways of altering the retail experience at brick-and-mortar stores.
Kelli Hollinger, director for the Center of Retailing Studies, said technology has increased the information available to customers and fundamentally changed how retailers do business. In light of that, she said GameStop needs to research these changes to stay relevant in today’s market.
“Customers are more informed, demands are higher and there are more choices in the market place,” Hollinger said. “To be a retail leader and stay at the top of the game where they want to be, they need to constantly research and implement those changes and Texas A&M will hopefully let them do that.”
The Center for Retailing Studies will provide research in areas such as e-commerce, marketing and innovation. Hollinger said in addition to providing the retailer with an extensive knowledge of the retail world, the center will also help GTI investigate new avenues that would produce a greater overall customer experience.
“We are helping GameStop identify research opportunities to understand the problems customers face while they’re in stores,” Hollinger said. “Instead of promoting by using the big banners that everyone has seen, we will help them gain customer insight in order to target markets for their customer.”
Hollinger said the partnership will allow students at the Mays Business School to gain experience helping an established retailer grow its business.
“The graduate students will be working on a consulting project in digital marketing with GameStop in Fall 2014,” Hollinger said. “Students are going to have case studies that they have been involved with in how a $10 billion retailer improves its tech and its marketing strategy for customers. That is a tremendous hands-on learning experience for students.”
GTI senior director Charlie Larkin said the first thing GTI hopes to do is tie technological aspects into brick-and-mortar stores and identify the priority areas of research that would provide the greatest benefit to their storefront efforts.
As the partnership is still young, GTI senior director Charlie Larkin said they are currently working to identify priority areas of research for GameStop.
“It’s a little too soon to try and nail it down to a short list, the reason being is that we’re just getting formed and we’re partnering with the Center for Retailing Studies at A&M and IBM, and others in the future to help us define what those priorities will be and what those top needs are,” Larkin said.
Larkin said GameStop plans to utilize its College Station locations to test the techniques that emerge from the partnership. They will also launch these initiatives at locations in Austin, where GTI’s other partner, IBM, is based. He said that as a center of both industry workers and consumers, Texas A&M stands as a resource for both innovation and feedback to improve retail.
“We really want to drive the next generation of retail with our stores and Texas A&M is building the next generation of retail workforce,” Larkin said. “It’s also a great intersection of future retail workers and our customers. I feel Texas A&M students have a lot of great unique perspective on gaming and combining that with their learning and experience, they can give us great feedback on how to move forward.”

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