GameStop Exec Defends Forced Bundling

It’s just “customer service.”

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/01/2017 09:15 4 Comments     ShareThis

Eric Bright, the Senior Director of Merchandising for GameStop, recently spoke with Glixel about the difficulty of getting highly sought after merchandise into the hands of customers. Nintendo’s Switch, SNES, and NES Classic consoles were the centerpiece of the discussion, with Bright noting that it’s been especially difficult getting hold of a decent amount of stock in order to satiate the needs of his customers. The tone of the conversation is pretty blasé (read it here) up until it shifts over to the topic of forced bundling.

What is forced bundling, you might ask? It’s the practice of taking one item that a customer wants and only selling it along with a couple of other items. For instance, earlier in the year when Switch had just come out, GameStop was selling bundles of the system alongside copies of a game like Breath of the Wild, accessories, memory cards, and so on. Bright defended the practice saying that it’s “customer service.”

He elaborated further by saying “In the case of the Switch, we know the customer is going to want a way to charge the Joycon (controllers), so we often throw in a charging device. We know the Switch has limited memory and customers like to download games, so we’ll add a memory stick. And then you need a game itself, because what good is a piece of hardware without a game to play with it? We make it more convenient.”

This is where the waters get very murky, indeed. While Bright’s argument is ostensibly true, ultimately the value of these bundles is pretty subjective. What GameStop might consider a good deal on things like memory and controller chargers is potentially not so good for someone who has other ways of getting hold of them at cheaper prices. Generally speaking, if someone goes into a shoe store, the clerk can argue that if someone needs shoes they’ll need laces, socks, and a shoe cleaning kit… but if the customer really only wanted a pair of shoes then bundling all those things together only helps the store in the end.

Hit up the link for the rest of Bright’s interview and decide for yourself if his logic is sound. Once you have, let us know: do you support forced bundling? Do you think it’s fair to include extra items that a customer might not actually want? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Glixel

4 Responses to “GameStop Exec Defends Forced Bundling”

  • 267 points
    decoupage says...

    A logical bundle is fine to discourage resellers from the sale, and opening up another console for the end consumer; however overpriced memory cards, and next to useless joycon chargers isn’t a service, it’s a hostage situation.
    When Gamestop/Think Geek pairs a SNES classic with a Mega Man helmet/blaster for over double price I’d almost rather pay the filthy scalpers.
    With that said, the Switch is unique, so I paid retail for one, the bundle nonsense for another, and my credit card info got stolen with bonus fraudulent charges (thank Gamestop for keeping my 3 digit code on file!). The SNES isn’t that unique so if I can’t get one for MRSP I’ll pass, and stick to playing SNES on my CRT or PC.

    • 1379 points
      xeacons says...

      Thankfully, Game Stop doesn’t have a monopoly. If I don’t want the bundle, I can find the Switch somewhere else. The SNES is a different story. Getting ahold of that in any form at a decent price is going to be difficult.

    • 207 points
      Jon Stevens says...

      Agreed – If consumers were able to create their own bundle (choose the game they want + any accessory) and the price adjusts accordingly then I would accept this. When the only way to buy a console is by getting the retailer’s fixed bundles, it’s just about increasing sales for the retailer.

  • 745 points
    OG75 says...

    “because what good is a piece of hardware without a game to play with it? We make it more convenient.”

    Lol. What a crock.

    Can you imagine if other industries provided similar “customer service”?

    Like, going into your local supermarket and not being allowed to purchase a box of cereal without also buying a half gallon of milk. I mean, “what good is a box of Cocoa Puffs without some milk to go with it?” They’re making it “more convenient” for me.

    No thank you.

    I agree with decoupage’s point about a logical bundle (and good point about discouraging scalpers), but forcing a bunch of unsold Think Geek garbage on consumers is weak sauce.

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