Fifa 18 pre-order strategy aims to score big on sales

Luke Soules, was the first customer to walk out of an Apple store with his pre-ordered iPad in Richmond, Virginia. Pre-order is one way to gauge consumer desires early on. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Luke Soules, was the first customer to walk out of an Apple store with his pre-ordered iPad in Richmond, Virginia. Pre-order is one way to gauge consumer desires early on. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan gaming store, GameChanger has issued a pre-order sales notice for the popular football simulation video game, FIFA 18, in a move to increase orders, and offer discounts by bringing in games that are already sold and need no shelving.

“It is a way to gauge the market and interest of the FIFA 18, from this, we are able to know how many copies of the game to bring in order to meet the initial demand for the product and forecast how may we will sell after the launch,” said a GameChanger spokesperson.

“For such a popular game, a pre-order is required because it is a way to offer early adopters a guarantee that the game will be available in the store after it is officially launched and we know gamers are anxious to play it. In that period it also leads to an increase in customers and sales as we also offer a discount.”

GameChanger’s pre-order price for the FIFA 18 gamer is Sh6,500, which runs until September 25. After the launch, it will retail at Sh7,995. This could, thus, make it the store of choice for consumers seeking the video game.

The FIFA 18 video game is set to be launched globally on September 29 this year and is the bestselling game console in the world. The FIFA 17 had more than 10 million users as of January this year, who played its single-player mode.

For such a popular product, the consumer anticipation of its official launch opens the opportunity for marketers to adopt tactics to lead to strong initial sales. It is also creates momentum by getting consumers to talk about it on online platforms and by getting media coverage before the product is released.

An example of a company that was able to create consumer anticipation before the launch of its product is Sony, with its PlayStation 4 pre-order sales in 2013. The product was set to be launched globally in November that year. However, by October, it had already garnered 725,000 pre-orders in the US alone, according to VGCharts, a video game sales tracking website.

“At this pace the PlayStation 4 should sell just over one million units in the US when it launches, while its competitor, the Xbox One should sell just fewer than one million units,” reported VGCharts.

Indeed, 24 hours after its launch the company announced that it has sold over one million consoles; “PlayStation 4 delivered the best launch in playStation history and demand remains incredibly strong and continues to overwhelm the supply worldwide,” said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Two weeks later, it had sold 2.1m total consoles and by December that year, it had sold 4.2m PlayStation 4 consoles, 1.2 million more that its main competitor. But this strategy does not work for all brands.

Popular products that have over the years earned a good consumer reputation and awareness perform better when they offer pre-orders, compared to unpopular ones or products that are just being introduced into the market.

A study of tablet computers, conducted by New York University researchers, found that in the absence of quality ratings, a higher-image brand, such as Apple, fared better than a lower-image brand, like Dell, in pre-purchases.

“More cautious future-oriented consumers, as well as present-focused buyers, value third-party product quality ratings to help mitigate uncertainty related to long-term concerns relying on an exaggerated discount might not be an effective pricing strategy in all cases, as it largely appeals to present-oriented consumers,” reported the researchers.

- African Laughter