Page 6: The retail experience
For many people, shopping is a pleasurable, social experience. Interacting with staff in vibrant store interiors creates its own buzz and, for many, beats Internet browsing and downloading. Spending time in a music store is something we are all familiar with from an early age. Indeed, you probably still have an affectionate memory of your first record or CD purchase, and of the excitement and anticipation of that experience.
Part of a brand's image relates to store design and operation; an HMV store needs to look, feel and sound just how its loyal customers have come to expect. Consistency brings with it recognition and reassurance, the kinds of feeling that cause many people who are 'out shopping' to drift into music stores rather than walk on by.
Buying music, DVD's or games is often a shared experience. It is something to be enjoyed and then talked about with friends. Like other enlightened retailers, HMV seeks to make the purchasing experience as intimate and enjoyable as possible. That is all part of the brand.
HMV is committed to the retail experience and believes that record stores will remain central to the way the majority of buyers will seek to purchase their music and home entertainment products for the foreseeable future. However, HMV has also embraced new technologies and other shopping channels, such as the Internet in order to broaden the choice available to its customers. Indeed, in 1997 HMV was one of the first music retailers to launch a website - www.hmv.co.uk. Just one year later it became transactional and by 2001 it had passed the break-even point and registered a profit. A significant development in 2002 saw it tie up with content provider OD2, to make more than 125,000 songs available on-line for paid-for downloads.
Successful marketing involves providing customers with the best possible combination of product, promotion and price. To achieve this, HMV seeks to:
- use its accumulated retail knowledge and market research to understand their requirements, and to communicate through the most appropriate forms of advertising and marketing activity
- create a compelling retail offer, based on a comprehensive range of titles, which seeks to add 'value' through regular campaigns and other promotional offers
- support this offer in-store through targeted promotion and merchandising, including the use of in-store radio and listening posts and the latest plasma screen video walls.