Ever since Nintendo launched the first Game Boy in 1989, the world of portable gaming has been witness to a very gradual but notable rise. As graphics improved, more games became available and, most importantly, with huge leaps in memory and the continuation of Moore’s Law, the consoles themselves became increasingly portable. As such, the market has undergone a consistent growth that has recently hit an unprecedented peak.
We now find ourselves in an age where slim ultrabook-style gaming laptops by brands such as MSI and Gigabyte and portable gaming controllers by the likes of SteelSeries are commonplace in many a gamer’s arsenal. Recent sales of the Nintendo Switch, which have already topped the three-million-unit mark since launch, are reflective of how in-demand these products are.
Such sales however, can lead to increasing pressures on retailers, both on the high street and online. The recent boom in such products has posed a challenge for retailers not solely focused on the gaming market in predicting and having a supply chain model in place that can cope with the demand and seasonal fluctuations specific to portable gaming products.
To ensure that retailers aren’t left in the lurch and their supply chain is efficient from the start, there need to be a number of elements in place from the offset. Firstly, distributors need to be able to monitor in real-time how many products are in the store and physically on the shelves. The ability to offer up to date planogram plans and exit and entry photography can become essential to delivering a quality service for such in-demand products each retailer.
Secondly, distributors need to be able to remain flexible. Developing close relationships with various retailers and being able to work around their specific needs is key in ensuring the whole process is as seamless as possible. With seasonal fluctuations also so key to sales in this sector, it’s important to stay close to evolving sales figures in order to prepare as best as possible.
Finally, the ability to provide insights and reports allows retailers to maximise their sales. Regular updates in terms of product pricing and any current promotions presented as an attractive POS (point of sale) is essential. Such reports also aid retailers in forecasting and planning, key in trying to stay ahead of an industry that is so dynamic.
Each of the above points are easily transferable across sectors, though for an industry as vibrant as mobile gaming, such elements are increasingly important for retailers and distributors alike.