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Are High-Street Retailers on their Last Legs?

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r3loaded 8th January 2011, 10:01 Quote
What I'm interested in knowing is the people who choose to shop at HMV rather than online. I go there quite often myself, but never to buy.
l3v1ck 8th January 2011, 10:06 Quote
I can see a reduction in the number of different high street shops. But people will always want instant access to stuff, and supermarkets just don't offer the same level of choice as places like hmv.
I expect hmv to move into console hardwate and crowd out gamestation etc.
frontline 8th January 2011, 10:09 Quote
Occasionally they do have some deals which make them almost competitive with online retailers, however i only buy the odd blu-ray or CD in their sales. Play.com or Amazon are my usual retailers of choice.

I did venture into the Leeds store just before Christmas at around 8pm one night and it was still pretty full of shoppers at that time of the day. I can only assume that people just do a lot of browsing, rather than shopping (also kills a bit of time on a lunch break).
Nikols 8th January 2011, 10:22 Quote
Last January I bought 2 DVDs in the great hmv sale for a total of something like €12.99. Both DVDs had a sticker on the back that stated the normal price of €10-12 and the sale price. When I left the store out of interest I peeled back the price tag to find the old price tag underneath stating that the normal price pre sale used to be under €6 on each of them so the sale cost me €3 more. Out of principal alone I don't buy anything in hmv.
Fizzl 8th January 2011, 10:27 Quote
My experience says it's there own fault.

I went to HMV just before the new year thinking I might grab a 360s + kinect. I saw no obvious deals and a queue going half way round the shop so headed to Game. My sister in the same HMV found some DVD she liked the look of but saw the queue and didn't bother. The store was absolutely packed.

I was surprised they didn't have enough staff. It also didn't take a huge leap of imagination to have planned for busy periods by issuing mobile staff with portable card readers with a barcode scanner attached (essentially giving them mobile tills) so less people had to queue at the tills. It was like they didn't even want our money!

To me it wasn't that they couldn't get the people in, they just didn't seem to know how to monetise it.
oasked 8th January 2011, 10:40 Quote
I went into my local HMV a week before Christmas looking for an extra Wii-mote for the family at Christmas. They had Wii-motes, but only in black or blue (wanted white) and they were priced at £44.99 (Amazon is £31)... far too expensive for me.

That's usually the problem with HMV, excluding a rare deal its far too expensive in there.
sausages 8th January 2011, 10:41 Quote
get music, get film, get games, get inspired, get together, get closer


^ What a load of bollox. I hate stuff like that.
flibblesan 8th January 2011, 10:56 Quote
Until recently we had 3 HMV stores close to each other in Nottingham. The smaller one closed a few months back but they still have two quite large stores which seems pretty silly to me.
llOriginll 8th January 2011, 11:31 Quote
I only use their 2 for £10 on CDs because it's relatively new stuff often and it's nice to have hard copies I can look at there and then :)
javaman 8th January 2011, 12:02 Quote
I ordered all my stuff online this year as did my parents. The only things that didn't arrive and where not even dispatched (cancelled the order on 3rd Jan) even tho both sites said they where in stock, where ordered from hmv and zavvi online store. Topping it off, both promised delivery to mainland before christmas if ordered on time. If they didn't even dispatch how the hell could they keep that promise? I know zavvi tesco and asda (another one we had problems with in the past) use the same supplier, I'm pretty certain HMV and waterstone use them too. That's your problem with online as for instore gee would it be the crappy layout where you put the likes of iron maiden in rock & pop or don't even stock half the stuff I want? The last thing I got from HMV was murphys law box set in the summer and had to return it twice. First time one dvd was missing, and one didn't work (watched what I had until I headed back into town again) the second time another one didn't work. Happened to my gf as well on some film she got on sale (again in the summer). Must have been something with that months batch since I know of no problems from anyone since. Hasn't put me off but can't help matters.
Nexxo 8th January 2011, 12:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzl
My experience says it's there own fault.

I went to HMV just before the new year thinking I might grab a 360s + kinect. I saw no obvious deals and a queue going half way round the shop so headed to Game. My sister in the same HMV found some DVD she liked the look of but saw the queue and didn't bother. The store was absolutely packed.

I was surprised they didn't have enough staff. It also didn't take a huge leap of imagination to have planned for busy periods by issuing mobile staff with portable card readers with a barcode scanner attached (essentially giving them mobile tills) so less people had to queue at the tills. It was like they didn't even want our money!

To me it wasn't that they couldn't get the people in, they just didn't seem to know how to monetise it.

^^^ This.

High street retailers are simply losing at their own game. They crowded out small independent retailers by offering cheaper prices and a wider range of choice by sacrificing the personal shopping experience. They did very well at that, caused the foreclosure of a lot of small independents and were very happy with that.

Then Internet shopping came along. Online stores offered cheaper prices and a wider range of choice by eliminating the shopping experience altogether. Shop naked if you want to; you don't even have to get out of bed. They're doing very well at that and causing the foreclosure of high street chains. Poetic justice? Perhaps.

What high street chains need to do is stop competing in a game that they simply can never win. What they need to do is go back to the personal shopping experience: where you can listen to the music before you buy the record CD; where you can play the games, browse the books, touch the hardware. Why do you think Apple invests so much in its own stores? Because it knows that people won't see the point of spending so much on an Apple product until they have experienced its use. Then it suddenly makes sense.

Similarly, brand-name clothing stores still do well because you have to try clothes on. You have to browse. Book chains try to enhance the experience with comfy chairs, coffee shops and WiFi. The name of the game is personal service, human interaction and tactile experience. For this to happen however, shops need to invest in their staff: make them knowledgable and motivated to do a good job. John Lewis and Waitrose make every employee a shareholder in the company. And which department store and supermarket has been doing rather well this year, despite the recession? Exactly.

The next move lies with us, the customer. We can be swayed by cheap Internet deals and one-click shopping convenience, or we can value the opportunity to inspect the product and interact with it before we buy (at that shop!), and be prepared to pay a little more for that. In the end it is not supermarkets that killed the small independents. It was their customers.
memeroot 8th January 2011, 12:19 Quote
Online streaming will kill the business within 5 years
greigaitken 8th January 2011, 12:37 Quote
with regard to game retailers, i'm going to start trying to buy my games at gamestation again. Especially now that you can integrate a bought game with steam. Main reason for change of heart is no refunds via steam but you can with shop. No, i'm not cheapskate, i just wanted 1 refund from a broken game out of say 100 games i'm happy with.
Instagib 8th January 2011, 12:39 Quote
Just let me paraphrase from Richard Morgan's "Altered Carbon"

"It tells you people like shopping. That it satisfies a basic, acquisitive need at a genetic level. Something we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors... ...But you've also got a massive proliferation of commercial hives and speciality markets in food and crafts which people physically have to go to. Now why would they do that, if they didn't enjoy it?"

Although the book is set in the far future, it makes the point that shopping is still around simply because it is enjoyable, despite the technology and the means to do away with the physical act of shopping has been around for centuries. Now , OK, for us, we've not had debit/credit systems and on-line shopping until recently, but we have the means to get rid of the physical side of shopping, but we don't. Because it CAN be enjoyable. And i agree with Nexxo; the companies that make shopping a more pleasant/enjoyable experience will do the best.

But it's a double-edged sword; if shops refuse to adapt and implement changes that do make shopping better for the customer, then we will go on-line, taking our money with us, where we can get items for cheaper. Then, retail will go the way of the dinosaur too.
Fizzban 8th January 2011, 12:52 Quote
I order almost everything online these days. What with Ebay, Amazon, Game, Play.com and sites like Scan and CCL, to name just a few, I really don't see much need to go into high street shops any more.
holzj17 8th January 2011, 14:19 Quote
will admit the only reason why i shop at hmv is because i work at one of there store so get 30% discount. also as i work at an airport store i can get consoles and ipods tax free which of course is now even cheaper. otherwise i have to agree with the comments about prices, even as a tax free store you can find the same item for the same price or cheaper on their own website.

from what i can gather from customers that i talk to especially those buying consoles and ipods is they prefer the ease of being able to grab a nearby hmv employee who can answer any question rather than having to dig through the web to find exactly what they want.
ledbythereaper 8th January 2011, 14:35 Quote
Where I live we don't have anywhere to buy DVDs/CDs apart from WH Smiths and pre-owned Blurays from Game. Our only bookshop is shutting down aswell... maybe HMV can be convinced to open up some new shops.
nukeman8 8th January 2011, 14:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo

What high street chains need to do is stop competing in a game that they simply can never win. What they need to do is go back to the personal shopping experience: where you can listen to the music before you buy the record CD; where you can play the games, browse the books, touch the hardware. Why do you think Apple invests so much in its own stores? Because it knows that people won't see the point of spending so much on an Apple product until they have experienced its use. Then it suddenly makes sense.

Sounds like a good idea, go into a shop try it out, then go on the net and buy it probably 20% cheaper.

Also most shops do not want you testing out some of their stuff as they try to sell you utter shite.
centy 8th January 2011, 15:34 Quote
It's not all bad. Some of the games in this years steam christmas sale I saw at the same price for a boxed copy as early as february last year in GAME. Street Fighter IV and Mass Effect for example where both £10 or two for £15 back then, likewise Test Drive Unlimited and GRID I purchased even earlier than that both for £15 from game and it has taken until now for the onlines price to match. But even still it's been almost a year since I've hit the high street and a similar length of time before that.
fev 8th January 2011, 15:46 Quote
My views are mine and not my employers:

HMV's problem was that it tried to become an "entertainment destination". It did the natural evolution of going from music in to video and gaming.

But recently to try and prop up it's falling margins and sales it attempted to diversify in to Mac, iPods and accessories understandable. But would you buy a Macbook from HMV? More so would you buy it from a company who retailed it at full RRP and offered no extra services?

The high street needs to change in to a better place to shop, excellent examples include Carphone Warehouse. Look at their new stores: 15 places to pay, copious amount of staff who are trained on everything in their stores as well as their competitors.

Consumers are split in three, option A want it there and then (sometimes for the cheapest price) they were HMV's customer base and they're moving online. I can wait 24 hours if I'm saving £5 and not queuing.
Option B are customers who want to be walked through their purchase (John Lewis customers).

More and more people are moving in to becoming Option B, they want Retail to work for their hard earned cash. Extended services, 5 year warranties on their electronics. Knowledgable staff who don't just spew a sales pitch and jargon.

Option C: Supermarket customers, "I'll pick it up when I do big shop on Saturday" or "I'll see if theirs any £3 DVD's when I go to <insert shop name>"
These customers are coming in at the same rate as Option B. If they're spending £140 on their weekly shop, adding in a £40 game or a £20 blu-ray just turned from a considered purchase to a sure why not.
These group are the people who will go in for one thing and come out with half a dozen.

Interesting times
jsheff 8th January 2011, 16:05 Quote
I think the Steam sale over Christmas really hit this point home for me. Insane low prices, direct download, no faffing around, you can't lose your games, patch themselves, job done. Why bother going to town? Admittedly, it's a 45 minute walk for me each way, so that usually factors into the decision - especially in the last few weeks when the ice hit, but give people the choice of something easy for cheap and something not as easy for a little more and what are you going to choose?

I'd also say that online shopping makes things a hell of a lot easier when comparing prices. 'How much is it in HMV?' ... *walks over to HMV* ... 'Hmmm... what about Smiths?'... *walks over to Smiths*... etc, etc. People like bargains, and they don't like paying extra when they don't need to.
dactone 8th January 2011, 16:27 Quote
going to hmv,game,gamestation and anywhere really is a pain they overcharge on almost anything and everything i dont go there because its cheaper online.maybe if actually started price matching id go there just to have items ther and then! but until they stop ripping off the people they need to stay open im not going :)
Nexxo 8th January 2011, 16:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukeman8
Sounds like a good idea, go into a shop try it out, then go on the net and buy it probably 20% cheaper.

Also most shops do not want you testing out some of their stuff as they try to sell you utter shite.

Better not sell shite then. And create added value for the customer. That is nor so hard. I refer my non-techie acquaintances to PC World for their purchases (although I tell them to avoid extended warranty offers). Yes, they may pay more, but if anything goes wrong they have tech support on tap (which means I don't get hassled every five minutes).

PC world could go further: not just offer a shop, but a community: a forum for registered customers, doftware and hardware demonstration and training sessions on evenings and weekends, coffee and biscuits included; games rooms for hire and media rooms with rolling demos. Easy enough to do.
Bazz 8th January 2011, 17:17 Quote
My comment??

Who really cares?
They are in business, they should have a business model to reflect current changes in retail sales, if they can't, they'll loose.................................which I don't give a crap about.
<A88> 8th January 2011, 17:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo

High street retailers are simply losing at their own game. They crowded out small independent retailers by offering cheaper prices and a wider range of choice by sacrificing the personal shopping experience. They did very well at that, caused the foreclosure of a lot of small independents and were very happy with that...

etc
I agree wih 99% of what you're saying, but the problem in the case of HMV and Waterstones is not so much how they're selling but what they're selling.

Digital downloads have usurped CD sales massively, and despite refusing to let go for many years I've found maintaining my CD collection to be more of a chore than a delight, so get most of my music through a Zune Pass and the odd record on vinyl if it's worth it. Likewise, I love going into Waterstones and looking at books before bee-lining for the coffee shop, but with the exception of the odd Moleskine I almost never buy anything; not because I don't want to pay the extra or hate them (I even worked for them once) but because I'm committed to my Kindle now and far prefer to invest in eBooks than ferry a library around every time I move somewhere else.

An example can be taken from Currys and PC world: the latter used to be able to differentiate itself by offering row upon row of PC software, games and blank media. Now it's resigned to having to sell televisions and other brown box goods, and in many areas has had to merge with an adjacent Currys store because the only noticable difference was the uniform the staff wore.

Being a geek I'm naturally more inclined to welcome digital replacements for physical media ahead of the trend and accept it's a good 5 years before the likes of e-readers start to threaten traditional books on a wide scale, but no matter how much Waterstones, HMV and Game succeed in personalising the experience and offering added value to the products, there's little escaping that this would be a stop-gap solution to the eventual demise of books, CDs, DVDs and physical video games. HMV has for the past couple of years tried to sell these alongside their successors, and it's only a matter of time before all the aforementioned stores are stocked to the brim with headphones, Sony Readers and Xbox'.
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