Transforming HMV from a retail giant into a content creator

I was recently asked to present at the Figaro Marketing summit on the importance of a content strategy in retail. We have a great case study of our recent work with HMV and their struggle catching up to the changing retail environment and aggressive competition online and offline.

The obstacles HMV faced

As a high street retailer, HMV were struggling to compete with the aggressive competition on two fronts. Firstly, HMV were suffering alongside other high street retailers with the challenging economic climate as retail generalists like Tesco stole share of market. Simultaneously, they were under attack from Amazon in the online retail space. This lead to store closures on high streets across towns and cities back in 2013.

Following a short period in administration HMV approached us to identify a proposition and define a strategy, determining what role digital could play in their future. In order to build the business back up with a competitive advantage, HMV needed to go back to their roots, identifying what it was that made customers spend hours in their stores on a Saturday back in their heyday in order to understand why they might want to spend more time with us online.

Our first steps in identifying a new proposition and strategy

We used a tried and tested strategic framework to understand things like:

What was at the heart of HMV’s original success?
Why did people love the HMV brand?
What was missing from the marketplace?
What were the emerging trends that we could take advantage of?
What was going to drive new revenues and create a deeper connection with their audience?

The generalist approach was starting to lose its novelty and consumers were craving a more specialist, personalised experience from their retailers. They still wanted to go in store and have a shopping experience as well as using online channels for more rational purchases. We also identified that a large part of the popularity of their stores was down to the people working in them. The staff working at HMV stores are genuinely passionate about music, film and games and that passion came across to customers. The store interaction showed consumers, that the people working there actually cared about what they were selling and were knowledgeable about it. This was an authenticity that their competitors simply couldn’t offer.

How we used our findings to shape our strategy

The new platform was set up to support the relationship that customers could expect to see in store, focusing on the content. Staff picks, live in-store events, live streaming and recommendations were a key part of the site content. Initially that meant focusing on the content offering, but soon that began to evolve to create the Home of Entertainment online.

Return to success for a much loved UK brand

The stores and online platform are working hand-in-hand to deliver great entertainment content and recommendations for their customers. Instead of customers only going to the digital platform when they want to buy something, they are going back to fulfil more needs, more often.

It’s so far so good for HMV with them recently regaining their number one position as the UK’s biggest seller of physical music.

But, it doesn’t stop there. There are further expansion and integration plans in place to keep moving HMV forward in 2016…

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If you missed the full discussion from the day you can view the slides from the day… – Transforming a retail giant into a content creator from Code Computerlove

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