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How Microsoft boosted Xbox sales by empowering shop-floor staff

How Microsoft boosted Xbox sales by empowering shop-floor staff

Best practice from Euro RSCG KLP.

Challenge

It’s a huge irony, but the people at the bottom of the retailers’ food chain are also the people that can have the most influence on purchasing: the shop floor staff. This was highlighted in a wide-ranging piece of research done by Microsoft in conjunction with integrated agency Euro RSCG KLP.

And it was this insight that drove Microsoft and KLP to create the Mission X campaign, that was specifically developed to recognise and reward shop staff at GameStop for their continued advocacy of Xbox products during the critical Christmas sales period.

Strategy

Mission X, which was created and implemented by KLP, ran for three-months, in multiple markets around the important Christmas trading period. As part of an ongoing commitment by Xbox to support and recognise key retail accounts, Mission X specifically targeted retail sales personnel (RSP) at GameStop.

As one of Xbox’s key retailers, GameStop RSPs, (a game specialist retailer with over 1,300 stores throughout EMEA, and another 6,400 stores worldwide) were seen as vital in driving Xbox’s business. They are passionate about gaming and tend to be aficionados themselves. Therefore customers trust their advice and knowledge on the gaming market.

Previous RSP relationship activity had also highlighted that staff don’t appreciate being preached to. So, it was essential to provide knowledge and support in an inclusive and informative way, without being perceived as patronising.

To maximize the overall Xbox revenue for both Gamestop and Microsoft in key markets within EMEA and to drive enthusiasm for Xbox 360 among GameStop RSPs, the campaign incorporated an engaging Mission Impossible style theme and achievable, money can’t buy incentives.

‘Mission’ objectives, based on over-achievement of existing store targets, meant that there was a level playing field between low and high traffic locations and ensured that participation levels were as high as possible.

Implementation

RSPs are usually the primary touchpoint consumers’ have with the Xbox brand but are often overlooked by activity aimed at store managers and above. Mission X was designed to engage and enthuse everyone, from front line staff to senior stakeholders.

‘Missions’ were structured around four categories: best uplift in console sales versus either last year or vrs store target; best uplift in accessory attach rates (number of accessories sold per console); best uplift of game attach rates; and best uplift in Xbox LIVE subscription attach rates.

Staff from the best performing store for each category within each country group won exclusive, money can’t buy prizes. On top of this, the manager from the best overall performing store across all categories in each group, won an expenses-paid trip to attend the E3 Games Conference in Los Angeles.

Mission X was launched with ‘Mission Briefing Packs’ during the annual Gamestop vendor shows - Gamestop then distributed the packs to each store. Interest and momentum was then maintained throughout the campaign with a series of follow up communications, including a themed Christmas card and emails from Mission HQ.

Regional managers within each market were also incentivised, to help maximise participation levels and to encourage continued support from the GameStop network itself.

Mission X leveraged the fact that most RSPs were actually gamers themselves and would therefore find a Mission Impossible-style theme highly engaging and motivating. Alluding to a role-playing experience allowed Microsoft to adopt a useful rallying cry in its tone with the creative, mechanics and premiums all expressing the Mission X theme.

The launch pack consisted of a hard-back book that opened to reveal a hidden ‘Mission’ kit, including a mission brief, a staff room performance tracker and, most importantly, special agent spy glasses which when worn and viewing the pack contents, revealed further clues and tips to help store staff in achieving their mission objectives. This included product sales tips, upcoming releases and general information to ensure the store staff were provided with a wealth of useful information that would help them look after their customers and to close any sales opportunities.

The campaign used superhero style comic illustrations to bring Mission X to life in an exciting and visually striking way. The tone of voice leveraged the spy theme from the Mission Launch pack through to the Christmas card and emails from Mission HQ.

Results

In terms of tangible uplift in sales, most markets saw a significant increase in sales volumes versus targets during the three-month promotional period – the most impressive being in Spain where the top 10 best performing stores delivered an average uplift in console sales versus target of over 500%.




AJR
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