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Bits Are High-Street Retailers on their Last Legs?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by arcticstoat, 8 Jan 2011.

  1. fev

    fev Industry Fallout

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    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
     
  2. jsheff

    jsheff New Member

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    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.
     
  3. dactone

    dactone dact-one

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    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 :)
     
  4. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    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.
     
  5. Bazz

    Bazz Bit of everything geek

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    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.
     
  6. <A88>

    <A88> Trust the Computer

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    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'.
     
  7. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    I do most of my shopping online not only for the prices, but also to avoid having to deal with sales critters. The other day I went to Best Buy with a friend of mine who needed to return a speaker system (for the second time) and was looking at getting a digital camera. We kept getting approached by staff (Can I help you find anything?) but when you ask them a question their eyes glaze over and they respond that they have to find the one person in the store who knows about that subject, and who is probably on lunch.

    Contrast that with our local hardware store. If it exists, Hardware Sales probably has it, and if they don't, they will find it and order it for you. You can't swing a cat in there without hitting an employee who can usually answer your question, and if they can't they WILL find the person who can. Sure, they're more expensive, but at the end of the trip you walk out with the item you need and don't have a desire to kill the person who "helped" you.

    As Nexxo said, if brick and mortar stores want to survive they need to quit focusing so totally on price (Which they can't win on anyway), and invest in their staff and in the customer experience. People WILL pay more if they feel like they are getting a better deal and the quality of the experience factors into the quality of the "deal".
     
  8. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Last time I went into HMV the music was stupidly loud; I couldn't hear myself think. It was the same in Virgin, although the gaming section towards the back was at least a little quieter.
     
  9. Denis_iii

    Denis_iii New Member

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    How long till the "Why rip-off britain article" espcially focused on evil asus and tehre awesome asus g73/53 (aside from fail of only realised 2nd gen with useless 720p 3D screens in the UK)
     
  10. nukeman8

    nukeman8 New Member

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    But they do and will continue to do so, i just was giving a reason why i think they will never offer that kind of service, its to open. Plus for me 1 of the most important qualities in things is durability which obviously you can't test in a shop.

    PC world need to get the shop part sorted first, go check the prices for some cat 5 cable then go somewhere online, you will end up paying three times as much for the same item. It's the same for most of the stuff they sell.
    Have you used pc world's tech support? Hell have you seen what they charge? Can't remember exactly but its between 30-50 quid for a disk drag and disk cleanup....

    Its ironic you mentioned rooms and stuff, my local pc world actually offers something like it, you can indeed buy a cup of coffee/tea, sit down, connect to their internet and surf the net.
    Some bright spark thought the best place for it would be in their office..... (boston in lincolnshire if anyone's curious)
     
  11. digitaldunc

    digitaldunc New Member

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    Just thought I'd raise the point that with regards to digital downloads, plentiful, unshaped bandwidth isn't as ubiquitous as it maybe should be in the UK, not to mention the potential DRM concerns.

    Steam sale prices are great but an ~8Gb download is a large chunk of my bandwidth cap.
     
  12. Kingsley813

    Kingsley813 New Member

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    As long as people have legs, there will always be high street retailers. Fact.

    If one goes pop, another comes up. Fact.

    The problem is that these 'stores' underestimated online shopping. It's most likely in the early days they viewed online shopping in a similar model to mail-order catalogs. Remember those? Where you order, wait 28 days, give up and collect it from the store? Now that all you need is a reliable delivery company, a large warehouse, and a snazzy webpage, high-street retailers are forced to become 'smarter'. Fact.

    Consumers are there to buy what they want or need. If HMV are too stuck-up themselves to change, then why bother? Drinking hot-chocolate in front of my 23" LCD while browsing for new stuff, or going into a loud, fast-food smelly, shop (ahem Oxford Street) with queues of people buying items more expensive than online. Take your pick.

    Ooh, isn't economics fun?!? It looks like some chief-execs need to do some revision with Adam Smith...
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2011
  13. Podge4

    Podge4 Oi, whats your game?

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    I find with the likes of hmv, their stuff is that little bit more expensive than other stores (either high street or online) and the rest is just shed loads more expensive, but ppl must still buy the really expensive stuff. cd's which sell for £18 in hmv and everywhere else is less than £9. One i remember is when Iron Man cam out i was looking to get it on blu-ray, most places on the net it was between £14.99 and £18.99, i waited and got it off ebay for about £12, hmv's price - £30, and that went for alot of blu-rays, they have come down a bit but you can still pay about £10 more than anywhere else for some.

    I still like to walk around town for a bit with intention of getting stuff but normally don't now. i normally get games and stuff from game or GS, unless there is a big saving online. if im in town and there isn't a lot between it and i want it enough i'll pay the difference. But if it gets to £10-£15 different then stuff it, i can wait 2 days for it to arrive.
     
  14. leveller

    leveller Yeti Sports 2 - 2011 Champion!

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    Theft
    Piracy
    Ebay
    Over-priced
    Mail-order
    Digital-delivery
    Economic conditions
    Shitloads of snow

    HMV could cripple Game. Should. But HMV have two pricing structures.

    1. Over-priced high-interest goods.
    2. Cheap tat that only the magpies collect ... you know who you are.

    If they could only change that and bring games in-line with the supermarkets ... you would then have the supermarkets out of town, industrial parks and HMV covering High Street. We all shop at supermarkets and we all know that the games are cheap there, and the range is getting broader ... HMV need to change. Or go the way of the prehistoric Wooly.
     
  15. lewchenko

    lewchenko Member

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    HMV simply overcharges.

    Just like their Waterstones division for books. Everytime Ive ever been in HMV I cant believe the extra ££ they add onto stuff. They arent competing with Tesco or Amazon, and thus the customers are leaving in droves. For some reason, their board just doesnt get it !

    They chose to fail. Simple as that. Why would I want to be ripped off buying from them ?
     
  16. NethLyn

    NethLyn Member

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    Game has had its Wholesale operation on Ebay for a decent 5-6 years on top of its own webshop site, they've properly embraced the future and prepared for the dent to retail, as they had their own shops to shut when the Electronic Boutique name was offloaded in the UK. They're also helped by only having to worry about a single market and are greatly helped by whatever hot peripheral blazes a trail every Christmas for consoles.

    HMV owns two companies but squandered the opportunity to combine their loyalty card schemes when they relaunched the HMV one this year. I've bought more books in HMV than either music or DVDs, but can't use those points at the book chain, and you have to spend almost £100 before the rewards get better than tat or money off.

    Worst of all, they have to start firing whoever's responsible for their snail-paced online shipping, Zavvi got their act together (just about) in time for Christmas for London deliveries, it's not acceptable to tell me a CD is in stock on 27th November and send it out on 13th December - it was for me but who'd bother with hmv.com for Christmas gifts? If a CD I want on the spur of the moment is in stock, why does it take 3 to 6 days to ship it out? They need to make a better deal with Guernsey Post if logistics are part of it and they're not flat-out lying about having stuff in stock.

    So, instore prices too high, online delivery too slow, security guards too damn unfriendly if they don't like the look of you, and you get bored playing treasure hunt finding the same item with three different prices on it in and out of the same sale. That's a perfect storm of problems.

    The store closures are a step in the right direction but if they think they'll fund their move into entertainment venues by leaving the usual stuff overpriced, there will be many more losses to come.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2011
  17. Krayzie_B.o.n.e.

    Krayzie_B.o.n.e. New Member

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    Most Brick and Mortar stores suck. I really miss the classy mom and pop stores from back in the day. the people at the mom n pop stores knew everything there was to know about their products and services. Now a days the clowns that work at these stores know ZERO and act like your bothering them when you ask them a question.

    I hate Best Buy with a passion cause those clowns know ZERO about nothing. I big store wanna stay relevant they need to make the shopping experience special like in the old days. Other than that I just order online for cheaper prices and the UPS guy always smiles and says hello.
     
  18. l3v1ck

    l3v1ck Fueling the world, one oil well at a time.

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    If digital download stores really want to kill off high street competition, then they need to offer FLAC files. That way you get full quality audio (the reason why people like me still buy CD's rather than MP3's) with instant access and no restrictions, just like a CD.
     
  19. NethLyn

    NethLyn Member

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    That's a slightly different issue, American/Canadian store which is actually quite good at home, partners up with a UK firm instead of starting from scratch or taking over someone else - and then surprise surprise, the training's not up to scratch because it costs money. This isn't an accusation you could level at, for example, Wal-Mart which just bought Asda outright and retrained everyone in that company way - but just about 10 years later Asda's killing off its own service quality in smaller stores with the bloody self-service machines.

    Also my UPS, DHL and Parcelforce guys have all decided that my area is somewhere to deliver to half an hour before the end of the timeslot, wasting my entire day waiting in, and Carphone Warehouse is even worse with "9 until 9" though their prices are at least better than in the store. You could go out anyway but you just know that the time you go out and do whatever is the one time they deliver early. So depending on what you're buying, online still has its drawbacks even without snow falling.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2011
  20. echeb

    echeb Member

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    i agree with nexxo and <A88> to an extent. dsg should shut down the parts of currys stores that sell anything apart from white goods since there basically doubling up with pcw on everything else (in exeter we've got a currys, pcw and currys digital, and at the pc world site there's a comet just opposite and a tesco on the other side so it would hardly create a monopoly), cut the stores in half and make the outher side into a 'pc world experience' or something where they did what nexxo was saying and had a small stock of what they had on demo to sell so people wouldn't have to go across town (or back on to the a30 and up the m5 a coupple of miles in my case) to get the stuff they just tried out. they could even do lan parties at night. that would be cool
     
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