What’s Gamer’s Club Unlocked? It’s a two-year membership that gives you 20 percent off all new games, including pre-orders and other benefits that (no longer available) costs you $29.99 for a two year cycle.
Best Buy unfortunately announced in May of last year that this membership will come to an end. If you still had an active membership at the time, Best Buy held your benefits until your expiring date arrives. I was lucky to have re-upped in 2017, so my membership lasted until August 20, 2019. If you were extra-lucky you might have one that expires in April of 2020 if you got in just before the surprise announcement.
The reason Best Buy cut the program has to be that regular customers saved way too much money on their membership, which in turn was hurting the company’s bottom line. Besides all the little benefits, the key fact to this membership was simply: it costs you $15 a year and you get 20 percent off every game you purchase. No limit – or at least not one that I hit.
Doing some simple math, if you bought five games a year you would save over $60 and at ten games a year over $120. If Best Buy had 100,000 people enrolled in the club they would profit $1.5 million on the membership each year, but then, if all members bought an average of five games a year that would be $4.5 million dollars they would lose. (That’s not a good margin.) Seeing that ‘average’ is the key word, you can guarantee a lot of members were buying more than five games a year, hurting Best Buy’s bottom line even more.
Can Best Buy fix this?
In order to properly understand this aspect, I would need to know the numbers: How many people were actively enrolled in the club? What is the average amount of games a year purchased? Those answers give the bottom line, which we don’t have. Theoretically the easiest option is to increase the price, but what’s the sweet spot? If they tripled the price and made it $99 (the original price) for a two year membership, what would that do?
Here’s the problem, let’s say the average amount of games purchased from a single member was five games a year, you can easily assume most were buying three games a year while others were buying more than eight. If you’re buying three games a year would save $72 during the course of the membership, essentially loosing $28 (at the $99 a year example) while the individual buying eight games a year would save $192 during the course of the membership, saving $96 (at the $99 a year example). Simply put, the average person wouldn’t enroll at a higher price, but the people buying the most would because they would still be saving money in the long game.
Can all gamers win? There’s no simple answer. The only way to regulate this would be to put a limit on how many games you can purchase.
Will they bring it back?
My guess? As soon as the program is officially out of service and nobody has an active membership (which should arrive around May 2020) they’ll bring it back re-branded and tuned for financial gain. I don’t see them letting it go. I’m assuming (if they do bring it back) the change will be drastic.
If you can corner the market and make sure gamers are buying their games exclusively at your store, guess what? That means they’re shopping online at Best Buy’s website more-regularly. That means they are visiting the store more often than normal. That means more traffic and more opportunities to make more sales on your target customer. The kind of person that buys a lot of video-games is Best Buy’s target demographic. These same people will buy the newest consoles, 4K televisions, computers, audio equipment and all the accessories that take place in-between.
Best Buy will have the numbers and I’m sure they’re watching them. If (average gamer) was enrolled, what else did they buy at Best Buy? Now that they’re not enrolled, do they spend less money on other products because they’re buying games elsewhere? Maybe the average gamer is still buying all their games at Best Buy? There’s no way to know.
For the last several years I’ve been a Gamer’s Club Unlocked member at Best Buy. Not only was it the cheapest way to get new games, it guaranteed that I bought all my games at Best Buy. In the end this won’t stop me from making all of my electronic purchases at Best Buy, but when it comes to buying games, I’m going to have to see who gives me the best options for the money in my pocket. I guess it will become a new market for gamers that were used to making all their purchases at Best Buy, because in my mind a brand new game costs $48, not $60.
Personally, my plan is to pay full price for the AAA crème de la crème and then wait to buy all other games when they go on sale. I won’t be spending more money on games, I’ll be spending less and being more strategic about it. Target has their annual Buy 2 Get 1 Free on all games, that is something I will looking forward to.
Do you think they will bring it back? Do you care? Where will you buy your games now? Let me know in the comments below.