At the recent opening of their redesigned concept store in West Vancouver, Future Shop reps talked about differentiating themselves from parent company Best Buy by targeting Future Shop towards more savvy customers. Other than the core difference of commissioned sales people, there’s never been much difference between Canada’s two largest electronics retailers. But since that event, they’ve made two announcements that show actual changes in approach.
First is the creation of the “Cellshop“, a redesigned cellular department where customers can compare plans and phones from six of Canada’s top mobile providers. Product Experts for the Cellshop will be specially trained under a new, in-house training program. These shops will be rolled out first in 12 stores in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and nationally over the next year. Unifying the complexity of multiple providers under one roof? Ambitious; bless them for the attempt.
The second announcement is that after a successful pilot in Calgary, they will begin accepting used games for trade-in and reselling them. This practice has been common for smaller game shops for some time, but this is the first I’ve heard of it in a big box retailer. There’s certainly an appeal to trading in games at Future Shop vs. smaller game boutiques—your trade-in credit goes on a gift card and can be applied to anything in store (except in Calgary, it says, for some reason there the credit must be applied to games).
“Since launching the used gaming pilot program in Calgary in the spring, word spread quickly and our customers from coast to coast were asking when they would have the trade-in at their Future Shop stores,” said Michelle Grawe, Director Merchandising, Future Shop. “While the traditional male gamer continues to be the most common, we’re seeing more females, including Moms, trading-in used games, proving that gaming is becoming more and more a part of pop-culture and transcending all demographics.”
Currently 55 of 134 stores are accepting trade-ins, with “most stores” having it in 2009. For a list of stores, visit Future Shop’s used games site.