What HMV needs to do to stay relevant.

Posted: 13/05/2014 in FILM, JUNKYARD
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

his masters voice

When you go into a shop that sells movies, and you ask for a film that meets a certain criteria, you should be met with two responses:

  1. “Ahh yes, I can suggest a couple of titles that should fit that bill”.
  2. “No, but I can show you someone who works here that’s something of a horror expert, and they’ll be able to help you out”.

In my earlier reviewing days I walked into an HMV with just such a criteria that needed filling. I needed to get a horror film that fit the site’s weekly theme, and this theme was “horror films featuring a  villain that seduces someone/people”. When walking into the HMV and asking for a film that met this I was met with “I don’t know” followed by a silent, telepathic “because I know nothing about the products I am selling”. And this wasn’t just the once. There are numerous times I’ve asked for such advice, every one met with absolutely no knowledge of the section the staff are working in.

On the internet if you search for “horror films seduction” you’ll be able to find a list of movies that meet that criteria by some nerd who is actually sad enough to spend his time writing about horror movies for various websites.

The next natural step is not to then write down this list with a quill and papyrus and hop on your jet black stead Cloudtrouncher or Clown-mouth or whatever they called horses in those days, gallop to ye olde His Master’s Voice, and hope they have whatever zoetrope you’re looking for.

No, the next natural step is to go to Amazon and instantly buy the exact film you wanted for a very cheap price. And then, get this, Amazon will remember who you are and will suggest films similar to the one you bought last time you visited the site.

Hell, if you don’t want a fine collection of movies to display in the shelves you had cut into your taxidermied living-room rhinoceros, you can probably just stream the film instantly.

At no point would you need to leave your house (hoose, for Scottish readers) and go to a “video shop”.

This is why HMV went down: because Amazon, a robot, was actually offering better customer service and was more knowledgeable about the products it was selling and its customers’ taste in them.

Now I’m not saying HMV staff need to remember every customer and their preferences, but why not try employing some people who are very knowledgeable about certain areas of film? You could call them ‘Genre Gurus’ or ‘Genre Genies’ ‘Genre Gasbags’ or something else alliterative. You could have a horror specialist, a sci-fi specialist, an action specialist, a pornography specialist, etc, etc, and you’d only need one in store. Then people could walk past it on the high street, probably people who are a bit pissed after post-work drinks on a Friday I’ll grant you, and think “hey I fancy watching a film like Die Hard tonight, but only set on a battleship, I’ll see what the Genre Guru Genie Gasbag can recommend”. In his little drunk arse wanders and HMV have just sold themselves a double boxset of Die Hard on a Battleship and its sequel Die Hard on a Battleship 2: Die Hard on a Train starring Jean Claude Van Damme.

They need to sell a reason for people to bother going there, and that’s what HMV should do.

And lower their prices because Amazon is still cheaper.

Download all of the Goats In The Machine podcast on iTunes, even if they are irrelevant to you

Stream them all on Stitcher if you’d prefer to not download them. 

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