Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Hung up

Another day, another HMV announcement that comes without the Knowledge-Stick of Castaldo. The poor guy is probably struggling to keep up as HMV mutates its business seven or eight times a day.

Earlier in the week, you'll recall, it was suddenly going to be a cinema. Now, though, it's decided to be a mobile phone store instead:

The deal puts what Orange calls "show and sell" spaces into HMV shops, where Orange staff can demonstrate to punters why they don't need a dedicated MP3 player or portable video device when a high-end telephone will do both jobs almost as well. Glasgow, Plymouth and Teesside will be the first of a hundred such spaces to be created in time for Christmas.

Because, of course, the natural place to go if you want a telephone would be a record shop.

The idea seems to be in allowing Orange staff to persuade HMV customers to buy something they didn't want. They could try this with their music offerings, too, I suppose - inviting people to tell customers trying to buy Westlife that, actually, they might think about buying something better instead.

I'm not sure that this is quite going to work, though - it assumes that there are a large number of people who go to HMV to buy mp3 players in the first place, and that they're going to be persuadable that they don't know their own minds in large enough numbers to make it worthwhile. Have they done any testing on this? Because my guess would be that the sort of people who buy mp3 players at HMV are going to be either impulse-buying or else purchasing as a gift for other people - neither of which categories would obviously scream as being easy targets to lock in to a contract.

If only Gennaro was able to shed some light into this curious development. Perhaps he's preparing to issue guidance to editors if HMV announce plans to sell kitchenware some time tomorrow.


Unknown said...

This will sound stalky or sycophantic or something, but a year or more ago (probably) you wrote a post where you said something to the effect of HMV should become akin to the Blockbuster of music, and have loads of albums behind the counter (which the customer would have to ask for), thereby meaning they could have stacks and stacks of choice, sell what they're supposed to and perhaps save their business.

Having given up on my local HMV I think you should take Gennaro's job; you are so completely right.

meccleshall said...

on the plus side, If they become a mobile phone shop, it would finally make sense of them being called 'his master's voice'

James said...

Man alive. Didn't Virgin try this a few years ago, turning branches of Our Price into 'V Shop'? They got rid of half the music and DVD space, replacing it with mobile phone displays. Those places were awful! Suddenly you had music shops which had less choice than the local supermarket, awkwardly spliced with the least-useful end of The Link. Think they all got turned into branches of Game eventually.

There used to be a corner of my local Zavvi which was dedicated to Virgin Mobile. It had a desk, a bunch of manky-looking display-model phones on wires and a bored-looking man in his twenties who seemed to spend his entire working life telling customers that No, he didn't know when the new Franz Ferdinand album was out because he was Virgin Mobile, but that someone at the counter could probably tell you.

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