The Big Picture at Prerelease

The Big Picture at Prerelease

March 28, 2016 | 2 min to read

With all the fervor surrounding a new Magic set, it's easy to imagine Prerelease as its culmination.

But in reality, this weekend is the just beginning—albeit a spectacular one—of a four-month enterprise. And that enterprise can't reach its full potential without the thoughtful execution of exactly what makes brick-and-mortar game stores essential in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Prerelease is day one. The real opportunity comes on day two.

Seeing the Big Picture

Think of the life cycle of the latest blockbuster movie. First comes the hype—previews stirring up buzz, lines that last for weeks. Then the film launches—packed theatres, enthralled fans. After that, the brand aims to sustain the momentum—digital valentines, charity initiatives—keeping the franchise top of mind until it's time to start the cycle again.

The hype and launch phases are critical, but it's the sustain phase where a blockbuster tends to break records.

Though this example is on a much greater scale, each new Magic release works the same way: hype, launch, sustain.

Between preview season frenzy and sold-out Prereleases, it's easy to focus entirely on hype and launch. But for anyone invested in the success of in-store play, there's huge opportunity in the sustain phase.

The Competitive Advantage of Brick-and-Mortar

Obviously we expect big things from the return to Magic's gothic horror plane. But, alas, Shadows over Innistrad will eventually reach a trough. And when it does, online retailers won't have many tools to climb out.

But this is precisely where the unique value propositions of brick-and-mortar stores have the edge. And with about four weeks until the sustain phase kicks into high gear, now's the time to start planning.

For starters:

New Player Acquisition

Online retail can lure gamers, but they can't create them. And while some attrition is inevitable, our research shows that most players are not very migratory—they tend to go back to where to they came from.

Ideas from Other Stores

Community Outreach

Like everything on this list, it's challenging, resource intensive, and time-consuming. But that's exactly what puts the "unique" in "unique value proposition."

Ideas from Other Stores

"Third Place" Principles

Gyms, coffee houses, game stores—"third places" are the social venues between home (first) and work (second). The value proposition a "third place" offers is social interaction—which ecommerce can never replicate.

Friday Night Magic

It's the heartbeat of the game, and easily the most important piece in the sustain phase of a Magic release. It's even more important this time, with Shadows initiating a new era in Standard.

Prerelease May be the Peak, but It's Not the End

Of course, when it comes to retention, high-emotion events like Prerelease are the best way to start. But it's just the first step, and there will always be a trough afterward.

Our shared goal is to keep that trough as narrow and shallow as possible. One way to get there is by focusing on what only brick-and-mortar retailers can do.

It starts this Friday at midnight!

By Matt Neubert


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