GameStop has entered into a multi-year partnership with Microsoft that will allow the gaming retailer to grow its physical and digital video game offerings and build up its retail infrastructure, according to a Thursday press release sent to Retail Dive.
As part of the collaboration, GameStop will integrate its back-end and in-store operations on Dynamics 365, Microsoft's suite of cloud-based business software. The integration will allow in-store employees to access information about customer preferences and previous purchases, product availability, pricing, promotions and other details to assist shoppers, the company said.
GameStop will also introduce Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams to its stores to help its employees share information to attend to customers' needs. GameStop customers can also now get Xbox All Access, which includes an Xbox console and two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, per the company statement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on GameStop. On one hand, the non-essential retailer announced plans in September to close between 400 and 450 stores. However, the retailer's e-commerce sales experienced a 519% spike in the first quarter. It remains to be seen what the pandemic, and a new generation of consoles, will mean for the company's ability to find its footing in the coming months.
"We believe Microsoft's integrated retail technology platform will enable the continued development of our frictionless omni-channel digital environment, providing customers with an exceptional cross-channel experience for all things video gaming," Jim Bell, GameStop's CFO, said in a statement. Bell added that the partnership will give associates better tools to engage with customers and provide the company with a better view into inventory to ensure the "most efficient delivery" of its products.
The Xbox All Access offering also brings with it the potential for more customers with higher lifetime value, something both companies said they would benefit from. Phil Spencer, Microsoft's executive vice president of gaming, noted in a statement that GameStop has been a strong partner in the space and highlighted its "extensive store base, focus on digital transformation in an omni-channel environment and expert gamer associates" as a key to its ecosystem.
Microsoft hasn't been immune from the pandemic either. In June, the tech giant announced that it's closing all of its physical storefronts. Last year, the company integrated Microsoft 365 with 7-Eleven franchises, but the partnership with GameStop offers the dual opportunity of intermingling its business enterprise and gaming business with a retailer.