GameStop: Forced bundles are for customer convenience
Retailer defends practice of requiring online purchasers of high-demand items to pay for additional merchandise
In recent years, many retailers have made a habit of offering high-demand items in bundles, requiring interested consumers to buy a new console with a certain number of games or accessories with higher profit margins than the hardware itself. While many would-be customers find the practice irritating at best, GameStop senior director of merchandising Eric Bright told Rolling Stone's Glixel it's actually about customer service.
"We really try to do a great job of pairing up items with things customers like to buy," Bright told the site. "In the case of the Switch, we know the customer is going to want a way to charge the Joycon, 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."
However, the company has taken a different approach to in-demand items with few natural accessories, like last year's NES Classic and the upcoming SNES Classic. For those products, GameStop has been offering bundles with various Nintendo-themed items from its ThinkGeek collectibles brand, including a Tetris-themed lamp or a Mega Man replica helmet. In some cases, the bundles more than doubled the asking price of the system.
"Customers have the opportunity to come into our stores and choose the accessories that they would like to bundle with their hardware, or buy online the pre-determined bundles we have put together to help make the shopping experience more convenient," Bright told the site. "Customers also have the option of coming to into our GameStop stores to purchase non-bundled product."
In July, when one Twitter user said he was "Curious how many SNES Classics @thinkgeek/@GameStop will hold back to sell in a more expensive bundle later," the GameStop Twitter account replied, "Don't worry. All of them."