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“Real Retailer” is a monthly feature where we discuss industry strategies, trends, happenings, or just about anything relevant with toy and hobby retailers across the country. If you have something interesting to say and would like to be featured here, by all means tell us! Please contact press@toydirectory.com

Real Retailer
By Kris Decker
January 1, 2003

Store Name: AreYouGame.com
Store Location: Online
Owners: Jim Stern

At the offices of Internet retailer AreYouGame.com, it’s not unusual to find employees immersed in the rules of Stratego, or see a jigsaw puzzle coming together in the customer service department. Explains company president Jim Stern, “We keep a large percentage of the products here so employees can help customers with questions about rules, or make recommendations to people searching for just the right game for their child. Plus, all our employees are pretty much game addicts.”

ToyDirectory: Brick and mortar retailers are struggling right now. How is business for an online retailer like AreYouGame?

Jim Stern: We’ve noticed a 30-35% increase in sales over the last few years. And this has been an amazing year. The orders have been coming through like crazy. We got in 600 copies of Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Game last week. They sold out in five hours.

TD: What draws customers to your site?

JS: If they want customer service and attention for specific needs, then AreYouGame.com is the place to go. We get products in faster because we’re Online, and we don’t have to worry about distribution to 50-60 store locations—we’ve got it in one spot. Then we immediately let our customers know about it via email and the website.

TD: How do you market AreYouGame.com?

JS: Online marketing campaigns, affiliate programs, click through links on Overture and Google, newsletters to our customers, links from partner sites like Hasbro, Pressman Toys, and University Games. We also change our home page about once a week during the holidays, every 3-4 weeks at other times. We’re always adding new products.

TD: Has the popularity of electronic games adversely affected the board game industry?

JS: No. As a matter of fact, there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of board games because they tend to get the family together. I love that!

TD: What makes your Internet company different from all the rest?

JS: A strong emphasis on customer service and product diversity. We have the largest selection of games and puzzles—over 2000, all available on our website. If customers want a game they don’t see there, we try to track it down for them. And we have the “Game Attic” where we offer older games or ones that are out of print. We’ve got employee and customer reviews, and price comparisons with other retailers so customers really get topnotch service. We try to go the extra mile. This morning we had a customer call who’d wanted Pokemon Sorry, but had ordered a Sorry game instead. It was the one thing her son wanted for Christmas. She was really disappointed to hear that we hadn’t had Pokemon Sorry since June. So we looked around, discovered we had a copy that had been opened but still had all the pieces. We told her we could shrink-wrap it so it would look new and send it to her. She was thrilled! Our customers are people to us and we’ll do whatever we can to help them.


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