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On why HMV is such a crucial test for the high street

January 21, 2013

A lot of the comment surrounding the problems that HMV faces at the moment has been really interesting – not least because it demonstrates that we are on the cusp of a new role for the digital/physical retail environment.

One comment in particular stood out for me:

Websites can never recreate the serendipity of a shop-floor […] a massive etailer might sell the same album with 78 per cent off, but it can’t chat to you about how good it is

HMV’s brand agency on the brand’s current struggles

The problem being that this on its own clearly isn’t enough. Andrea picked out the key thing this morning; when you trail so far on price on something that is essentially a commodity, it’s difficult for this sort of service to have value.

If you’re only a few pence, or even a pound more expensive, then maybe it gives a good enough reason to choose one retailer over another.

Any bid for HMV that has the support of the record labels (as it seems the Hilco bid does) may just be able to offer that.  With something approaching price parity, we’ll be able to see what the new role for the high-street retail environment is as I can’t think of many other categories that have a product or service that serves as such a good test of how this role will change.

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