Monday, 3 August 2009

HMV: a lament

I happened to walk into an HMV for the first time this year on Sunday and thought to myself 'Woolworths'. Isn't HMV another dinosaur one step away from the retail dustbin?

In diversifying away from the ever-declining sales of CDs, HMV has struck upon the idea of selling DVDs and Games in exactly the same way, eventhough both of these areas are subject to the same digital competetion as CDs have been.

This store format needs a revolution.

The world has gone digital, except HMV and others of its ilk. At the moment it is engaged in lazy retailing where it can continue to churn the handle for a number of years with a pretty much predictable result until such time as some catalytic event wakes people up to the fact that it is simply no longer relevant.

It should of course be investing in ensuring that it is the dominant internet destination for music, games, films purchases rather than iTunes and Amazon but here it is anonymous.

But, more than that, a little imagination in-store can be used to make sure that HMV realises the benefit of its physical presence in a way that Amazon and iTunes cannot. Let's steal ideas from Apple:

- in house 'geniuses': DJs/mixers who can interpret your tastes to recommend new artists, create a mixed bag for you, author a new tune with a suggested sample track specifically for you
- listening stations where I can interact and talk/IM about what I am listening to with other listeners not just in store but across the HMV network
- take a leaf out of the MTV era (it's been around for ever FFS) and make some visual displays, make them interactive, full of soundbites with clear offers

Your mission: make purchasing online seem like a souless and friendless experience. Music (in particular) is a social meme. Nobody likes to go to a concert on their own.

Shake it up a bit. Fire some people. Take some acid. Whatever. Just take up the fight before you become another Woolworth's flogging what's left for pennies.

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