It’s not a case of weathering the storm, it’s about finding the "new normal"

Weathering the storm when you’re sat in the eye of it.
While Deloitte are trying to find a potential buyer for HMV, we can’t officially say bye bye just yet.  I’m half hoping there’s some life in HMV yet but it will require one very large pivot – over priced headphones will not save you now.

The interesting fact is public reaction, actually no, retailer reaction. The folk who are calling the government to this with rates, that with rent and everything else with everything else.  Like Virgin, like Our Price and like 4Play (yes it did exist, I used to work for them), the evolution of entertainment/lifestyle retail changes.  It always has done, it always will. It’s the retailer’s willingness to accept change as it comes and then act on it, well that increases the odds of survival. 

HMV missed the long tail, while appealing the masses is all very well the record buying public have very eclectic tastes. I can find Tackhead on iTunes, better still the artist direct but I’ll very rarely find it in the shelves of most retail record outlets.  This could be said of many many artists.  

It’s not a case of HMV weathering the storm which they’ve essentially been doing since 2007, the race should have been on to find the “new normal”.  And the new normal wasn’t in high end one off purchases. This is about retaining loyalty on every level and making sure the customer comes back again and again.  It’s the one thing that Apple had with the iPod, you are carrying the shop with you.

When Waterstones did the deal with Amazon to sell the Kindle range it made sense, Waterstones knew they had to or just lose sales. And that came at a greater cost, you can’t buy Waterstones ebooks for Kindle, you can only buy Kindle content from Amazon. Oddly enough it might have been the thing to save Waterstones. Now they have to adapt to the increasing show rooming going on, scan barcode find better price and then decide.

We live in a world that’s fixated with price, we will do for a long while yet as food prices increase (with or without horse meat in them) and wages stagnate or decline. The consumer strives on price and if you can’t keep up as a retailer then you lose. It’s as simple as that.  As much as I support my local shops as much as I can if the price difference is so great then I make the call based on want vs need.

This is not the Sweet one we expected

Sweet, Blockbuster???. yeah okay.

Now let’s be honest, Blockbuster in the US was considering filing for bankruptcy in 2010 in the wake of Lovefilm and Netflix’s OLD business models. So today should be no surprise to anyone. So we’ll let the sun go down on them without too much of a fuss. And if you had a gift card for them???.. 


Creating the new normal
Though the word “normal” is not one I really like using retailers are clambering on the fact that they want the high street to return to “normal”. Here’s the deal, it won’t. The new normal has already entered, not all about online though that does feature highly.  POS companies are spouting the word “multichannel” that it’s beginning to tire. 

You can have as many social media presences as you wish but if a customer doesn’t look at them all your shouting will come to zero. So customer capture, retention and prediction become important regardless if you’re online or not. It doesn’t have to happen in real time (nice if it can). Safe to say though that, as a retailer, and you currently find yourself in the middle of the average graph, average no longer applies. You have to do something exceptional.


2 responses to “It’s not a case of weathering the storm, it’s about finding the "new normal"”

  1. Peter I’m working on theory that nobody really knows but any existing solution to the problem is currently the wrong solution to the problem.There’s a lot of talk from a lot of experts at the moment, some good and justified and some not. We’re not done with this yet, I think there’s more to come. The great retail reboot started a while ago, it’s got a bit to go.

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