Wadi's PR pitch to disappointed gamers

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Ecommerce platform Wadi is using the worldwide fallout from a much-anticipated game as a way to boost customer loyalty in their UAE and Saudi Arabia markets.

For the last few weeks the global gaming world has been venting its disappointment after the much anticipated game ‘No Man's Sky’ failed to live up to three years of hype (some are accusing it of being boring). So in an unprecedented move some games sellers have decided to offer refunds to buyers who’ve already played it.

On August 29, Wadi said it would also refund the game, and do so before clients even asked. They sent an email and a voucher for the sticker price to all customers who’d bought it, without even asking people to send the game back.

"We might have lost some money giving that refund but now our gamers and our gaming community know for a fact that Wadi is not there just to sell things they're here to have your backs," public relations executive Diala Ziadeh told Wamda.

Perfect PR platform

The ultimate goal, of course, is to use it as a play for customer loyalty.

Ziadeh said she wanted gamers to know Wadi valued their feedback “even if it hasn't been directed to us immediately".

Many have ordered a new game on Wadi using the vouchers and feedback from customers had been very positive, Ziadeh said.

Karan Bhatia, in charge of gaming at Wadi, decided to remove ‘No Man’s Sky’ from the store after asking customers who bought the game whether or not they thought Wadi should continue selling it.

But is it to protect Wadi customers from wasting their money or simply clever PR?

It’s an odd move for a company that is taking pride itself from selling everything gamers might look for and whose motto is "everything delivered".

Gaming already represents the third biggest category on Wadi after electronics and fashion and beauty, but they want more. They’re rethinking the whole user experience and community approach when it comes to gamers to match what they want and need.

This is war. (Screen capture of No man's sky via Polygon.com)

"For those games [that have a lot of hype and don't live up to it] I guess we will still want to do refund," Bhatia told Wamda.

Ziadeh said the decision was based on research and surveys. “The decision made was for our customers solely, as they are our greatest asset.”

Rethinking gaming

Because gamers are such a specific community and buying games or components are very different from buying clothing, Wadi will unveil by October 1 a new gaming section. On top of a visual new design, they will also change the way consumers look for items and offer tools to customize consoles and desktop, from the case to the internal components.

Wadi is also looking to attract more gamers.

Gaming is huge in the Middle East. According to Strategy&, the MENA game market reached $1.6 billion in 2014 and is expected to climb to $4.4 billion in 2022.

They’re currently attending gaming events to have a better understanding of what the gaming scene needs and what sort of offline events strategy they could implement.

One of their first decision since most gamers are in high school and university, is to go to culture clubs in high-schools and universities and organize competitions, and demo games not yet released.

Gaming is a growing market and many ecommerce are looking to take the lead on it, but clever PR and attending events may do the trick for Wadi.

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