Games retailer GameStop uses its loyalty scheme to help gather customer feedback that can help shape the organisation's future strategy.

Mike Mauler, EVP & president for GameStop International, took to the stage at the National Retail Federation's (NRF) Big Show in New York, US, to explain how the business's loyalty programme helps boost engagement with shoppers.

A case in point came in 2014 when, based on customer feedback and requests for more collectable items in the retailer's product range, Zing Pop Culture was launched as an associate brand of EB Games Australia and GameStop Corporation. Today, there are more than 50 stores located throughout Australia – where it began – as well as France, Italy, Germany and Ireland.

Each location has a distinctive look, complete with a wide assortment of what the business describes as "geek-inspired" products including collectibles, gadgets, apparel and other unique licensed products from some of the most admired pop culture such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Marvel and Minecraft. It is a multi-million dollar business, originally inspired by listening to shopper demands.

"The key [tool] for us – and the thing that holds everything together is our loyalty programme," Mauler explained.

"[It offers] true power – not just points or perks."

In Australia, for example, the GameStop loyalty scheme has four million members – "that's about 20% of the population", says Mauler. The company has around 15 million loyalty scheme members around the world.

Mauler, who is responsible for growth initiatives for an international division consisting of more than 2,000 retail stores located in 12 countries, says the company's loyalty scheme provides the localised part of its ambition to "think globally and act locally". Whereas common systems, process and training schemes can be found across its international territories, the loyalty programmes in each region enable the business to engage with customers on a more individual and personalised basis.

GameStop's US loyalty scheme offers points to customers, which can be traded in for goods at various participating third parties. This traditional function of a loyalty programme, which is used by many other retailers across the globe, is not part of GameStop's strategy in its international business – "the points mean nothing outside the US", Mauler commented.

Partly due to GameStop's management of customer data and behaviours, which results in personalised communications through the loyalty scheme, it appears customers know they will be rewarded by the company – despite not having to collect points. It's arguably a less rigid structure.

"What we see is the engagement with and the results of the loyalty programme are the same if not better outside the US than in the US.

"So you don't necessarily have to spend tens of millions of dollars [...] to buy your customers' loyalty."