Written by Misc

Order Online, Buy In-Store

The other week, HMV Group’s chief executive is leaving the company after a disappointing Christmas, citing the growth of the internet etc. as reasons for HMV’s poor Christmas period.
There is no way that an outlet like HMV can really compete with the interenet when they have all those leases to pay for in areas full of expensive real estate. But there are some things they could do to make life easier, and still ensure that they have decent, profitable businesses. We don’t always want to wait for the post to bring us the things that we want.
Leading the way in this respect is Argos. They let you search online and then choose either to have it delivered or collect it in store, and importantly, they only charge one price. This is important because if you’re competing on price alone, then you’ve got the problem that a Play or Amazon may well have a better price, in which case, the fact that they’ll postal specialists probably makes them a better choice for byuing the product.
Argos leads the way because the nature of their business is very computerised and stock control led. You go online, reserve the item you’re after, then go to the store and collect it, without the worry of missed deliveries or packages not fitting through your letterbox. Whereas, if you’ve ever been to a record or bookshop seeking a book, and found their computer system saying that the book or CD is in stock, but a search of the shelves shows that it isn’t, you’ll know that their systems aren’t as foolproof.
But picture this: you can get the new Arctic Monkeys album (they’re very hot, I’m told) for £8.49 plus posage online from Amazon, but it’s available in store at HMV for £10.99 without a delivery delay. Why don’t they simply advertise it as such online, and let you pay and collect it in store? With a decent stock control system, that shouldn’t be a problem. As it happens HMV.co.uk sell it for £9.99 with free delivery. So where’s the incentive to visit the bricks and mortar store?
And I still stand by the fact that it’s easier to browse for things you didn’t know you wanted in a physical store than it is online. With Amazon, you’re much more likely to jump in and just look at the item you were searching for, and you don’t get to wander past lots of racks filled with things to tempt you. So when you reach the physical HMV store to pick up your Arctic Monkeys CD, you may well buy something else at the same time. Free postage on single CDs means that you dive into the website, buy the disc you want, and that’s it.
“Adapt or die”, is something of a cliché, but then it’s called a cliché for a reason.