A recent in-depth report by Polygon has revealed that GameStop’s financial issues are pushing them to put more and more pressure on staff, often sacrificing the quality of life for those staff members during work hours.
The report takes into account points of view from both current and former staff members, including shop floor sales people, corporate office workers, and store managers. All staff members describe the company’s attitude towards profit as desperate, which isn’t surprising given that Christmas 2019 sales were well below expectations.
While the official word from GameStop is that holiday 2020 will make up for the lack of sales with a boost from next-gen consoles. However, insiders speaking to Polygon aren’t as convinced. They report aggressive sales tactics and a stricter focus on targets that aren’t doing much to tackle the company’s decreased footfall.
One staff member claimed that Fortnite was killing the games industry, describing how any consumers that they serve who are under 18 years-old only purchase V-bucks for the game.
Seeing this, GameStop has increased the number of digital game cards they sell for full games, DLC, and in-game currency. Insiders believe that this only encourages consumers to cut out the middle man in the future, and simply buy their gaming content through digital storefronts.
Pre-owned sales have historically been very profitable for stores like GameStop. With the rise of sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace, it’s never been easier to sell unwanted items, and a better deal that GameStop offers is usually found this way too.
To combat these resale sites, GameStop has attempted to double down on reselling more hardware such as tablets and phones. Insiders describe the attitude towards these items as obnoxious. Polygon has allegedly seen employee sheets that show a requirement for them to quote to purchase 50 phones per week, plus convert at least 5 of those consumers into sales.
Further targets include documenting at least 10 consumer’s contact information per day, which is in-turn used to help push pre-orders or convert consumers to GameStops reward scheme. The company has been so strict about these targets, and others, that they issue warnings and terminations based on failure to meet them.
A senior manager described how their store was close to meeting GameStop’s targets. However, they had a visitor from a senior staff member who advised that no matter how close the store was, it was still failing. Another manager added that outside of sales periods, their store missed these targets on a daily basis.
Game sales are also affected by the company’s targets. Without the correct pre-order numbers, stores don’t receive enough stock for walk-in purchases on release day. There is also an issue with smaller games being sent to stores, which doesn’t seem to happen unless they get pre-ordered.
Another manager explained how their store gets filled with certain items if stock sells well one month. This led to the store missing sales targets over the holiday period because they were sent too much stock of one particular product, leaving no room for anything else.
Finally, one employee told Polygon that the company plans to close 1,000 of their 5,600 stores within the year.
This doesn’t paint a positive picture of GameStop at all. The company assures the public that holiday 2020 will revive them, but internally it sounds as if everyone is panicking and looking for more secure jobs elsewhere.