The Wonder of Woolworths

Yesterday, in Leamington, I walked past our local Woolworths store. And every window had a poster in it telling the world that they had Wii Fit in stock. So I thought I would have a look. Just inside the door there was a huge mountain of Wii Fit boxes. Next to it a Wii was set up with Wii Fit and someone demonstrating it. Presumably by the end of the day he will be very fit.

This was a truly remarkable event. Woolworths has to appeal to the masses and needs to get the maximum amount of revenue per square metre of floor space out of them. To give such a priority to a video gaming product tells you more about our market than a stack of analyst’s reports.

There is no way that Woolworths would do the same for Assassin’s Creed, or Bioshock, or even Halo 3. Because, no matter how big they are they are still just niche products. And Wii Fit isn’t. Wii Fit is mass market, which is where the game industry now is. Yet so many have failed to wake up and see the change.

So many have still to grasp the seismic changes of the last 12 months or so. We have made a step transformation into popular culture and we aren’t going back. The opportunities are simply enormous. For each developer it has the potential to be bigger than the Beatles in the 1960s. It is just a matter of understanding what is going on and grasping the opportunity.

6 comments ↓

#1 Callum Godfrey on 04.27.08 at 9:51 am

Did you then try and buy a copy of Wii Fit? I was back in Leaminton visiting family and popped in to Woolies, and when I asked at the counter about buying a copy all I got told by the useless pleb serving was “I’ll have to order it in for you”.

#2 LewieP on 04.27.08 at 11:44 am

I actually bought my Wii from Woolworths. About two months before launch, I went in and asked if I could pre-order. I asked them if I would be guaranteed a console on day one. They said “yes”. I got the manager to confirm, and yes, if I paid in full they agreed to guarantee me a console, which no other retailer would do.

Sure enough, I got it on day 1.

#3 Darren Sandbach on 04.27.08 at 12:13 pm

Woolworths have been doing this in variouos stores for over 12 months now. Well, pretty much since the launch of the Wii. Normally it’s Wii Sports they’re demoing, but it does mark an important push.

On the other hand, the whole chain has seen something of a refocus. Wasn’t the parent group struggling or something?

#4 Mike Clark on 04.27.08 at 12:24 pm

Hmmm, I’m not sure about Woolworths.

I went in to our local branch with one of my kids last week to buy a DS game. She chose The Simpsons; the whole top row of the display had boxes for this game on it. There must have been about thirty of them.

When we went to pay it emerged that they only keep one actual copy of the game in the store.

How very odd. This sort of ‘notional stocking’ must hammer their turnover per square foot.

#5 Robin Parker on 04.28.08 at 5:06 am

On a slight tangent, (still Wii Fit related though), I was quite amused yesterday to find my retired father-in-law explaining Wii Fit to me. Now it wasn’t the fact that he was talking down to me about a subject he must realise I have much more knowledge about than him (he always does that, the cussed old bugger), but the fact that he’s moved on from cars, the internet, parenting skills and so on, to videogames. For me, that says loud and clear that Nintendo really have broken through into the mainstream.

#6 alphaxion on 05.01.08 at 10:11 pm

about a month or so ago I saw a sight that had me stunned.

There was a 70 year old man buying a DS (and a copy of brain training) for himself. Not as a gift for a relative, but for him.
Nintendo get a lot of flack (tho they deserve some of it for the pure trite they have been allowing on their consoles of late) for not going down the pretty graphics route. I’d say that from the sales figures they have rammed that back down the competitions throat!

I hope that when I hit 70 I’ll still be buying games :)

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