HMV outlines multichannel strategy

HMV is planning a raft of digital marketing and service initiatives as it looks to position as a dynamic multichannel retailer and halt the decline of its struggling high street business.

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Offering digital versions of physical products at point of sale, a click and collect service and in-store wi-fi will be introduced to improve the customer experience. A raft of mobile apps and better online integration of its PureHMV loyalty programme will also launch this year.

HMV has come under pressure from declining physical music and film sales from its high street stores and increasing competition from downloading and internet retailers.

Sales have suffered, dipping 17.6% to £364.9m in the 26 weeks to 29 October.

It has also struggled with £136m of debts but was recently handed a lifeline by suppliers such as Universal Music and Sony who took a 2.5% stake in the company to try and ensure the survival of the last remaining major high street music and film outlet.

HMV’s bid to boost performance

  • MyHMV, a new online platform that allows customers to share entertainment content with family and friends and integrate physical, online and mobile channels with its PureHMV loyalty programme.
  • A mobile app that will replicate the in-store listening posts and allow shoppers to listen to samples of all albums in its catalogue before they buy. The concept will also be rolled out to film and games content.
  • Digital versions of music and film will also be made available as part of the purchase of physical products.
  • A click and collect service and free in-store wi-fi will be introduced.

Mark Hodgkinson, marketing and ecommerce director who joined in October, believes that now that it has secured its future financially, the retailer can start rolling out initiatives to rebuild the retail business.

He says: “The business has been focussed on survival, but as we move forward now we’re able to start putting some plans in place. We’ve got a clear roadmap, it’s now about making sure we execute it.”

HMV has also brought together insight and ecommerce under a newly created senior role. Paul Stevens, former Asda marketer, will take on the new head of insight and ecommerce role reporting to Hodgkinson. The change aims to give equal importance to its online and offline branding.

The brand marketing team will now work on traditional advertising and in-store activity as well as digital and social marketing, where previously HMV had teams working separately on its physical and digital branding.

Hodgkinson adds: “We shouldn’t just think about our stores and physical products … and the concept of the physical in decline and digital growing and treating them as separate

Retail analyst Neil Saunders, managing director at consultancy Conlumino, says that HMV’s efforts come too late to match the likes of Apple’s multi-channel operations. “It’s very credible but it’s not the solution. It’s the direction HMV needed to go in five years ago.”

Read Michael Barnett’s view on what HMV should do next

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