How retailing should be?

Over the last few weeks (and months?) I have been a bit down-beat about retailing. The failure of HMV, Jessops and Comet seems to have been a car-crash waiting to happen.

Amoeba Music

For retailers to survive they are going to have to offer much more than a point of sale. Unless they occupy an incredibly niche market. People want an ‘experience’, they want to feel loved. When you consider what Apple have done with their stores you realise just how far the experience route has gone. Steve Jobs famously wanted there to be an experience first and sale second.

In America one of my favourite shops is Bleeker Street records in New York. It sells vinyl, CDs and all manner of other medium. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else (no ipads here).

Last week I head about a similar place – Amoeba Records in LA. I never made it there went I visited LA (actually I couldn’t get away from the place quickly enough). But it looks brilliant. It isn’t Bleeker Street records – it’s huge.

Amoeba has three key principles – customer service, variety of stock and a ‘cool vibe’. By all accounts it has got this right. It seems to have the scale of a mega-store but the charm of an independent? 240 people work there – drawn from musicians, actors, DJ’s and artists. I guess they don’t treat it as a job – it’s a passion. They recommend stuff to you – and if you don’t like it you get a full-refund!

They have worked their customers out – and offer them a real service. Had HMV done this they might have survived?

3 comments on “How retailing should be?

  1. I could see this working here. Maybe not on a 240 person scale, but BIG. A few provisos. It couldn’t be saddled with a big rent, which would mean it would probably need an unusual or secondary site and hopefully some free parking. And they would need to have their entire inventory browsable on the Internet. That way you should get the best of both worlds. Looks very cool though!

    (I know a place on Howard Street that could work)

  2. Pingback: Retail Administration | Tim Garratt's Blog

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