Entertainment retailer HMV is launching a new personalised web-based in-store service to promote local and relevant offers to customers in its bid to become a multichannel retailer.
Myhmv, which customers can log on to using their mobile devices in-store, is designed to make the retailer’s offer more locally tailored with deals and events relating to that shop.
The retailer will launch the initiative in November, after it has rolled out wi-fi to all stores.
HMV marketing and multichannel director Mark Hodgkinson said the retailer particularly aims to start a relationship with those consumers that visit its stores but don’t spend.
“We have massive footfall in stores – 130 million a year – so we’re not short of customers,” he told Retail Week. “We know that a percentage of them buy from us, but there’s a big opportunity for us to find out what the others that don’t buy do in our stores. It’s the biggest opportunity we have as a business.”
The initiative is part of the retailer’s plan to transform itself into a multichannel retailer focusing on technology, in the face of dwindling traditional entertainment sales.
As part of its multichannel plans the retailer opened a wi-fi enabled store in Cambridge last week that featured a café and mobile re-charging connection points.
The retailer also soft launched a click and collect service 10 weeks ago. Since launch, sales through the channel have increased “three-fold” according to Hodgkinson. “We know our customers like it. Now we’ll start signposting it. We will go big on it,” he said.
“We’re adapting HMV to fit the needs of our customers and making it relevant locally.”
To use myhmv shoppers must register and log in once. Every time they then walk into a store they can choose to connect to their profile to learn about offers, products and events related to that shop.
Users will be able to go to the music section of the store and stream music to their phones using in-store wifi. HMV already operates a similar ‘listening post’ app, and that will now be available through the myhmv.
HMV also plans to enable shoppers to watch movie trailers.
Myhmv will act as a loyalty scheme too, allowing customers to earn points and pay through it. HMV’s existing loyalty scheme, Pure, will migrate to myhmv.
Myhmv can also be linked to shoppers’ social networking pages, and users will be able to log in via Facebook, for example.
If the shopper allows, HMV can access information such as what artists and films that user ‘likes’ on Facebook, helping to inform HMV what kind of products that person would welcome offers on. “There’s lots of insight you can capture from a profile, if the customer allows it” said Hodgkinson.
“Myhmv joins everything up for you – when you browse on your smart phone you’ll have the full world of HMV. It breaks down barriers between physical and digital.”
Wifi will not only be available in HMV stores, but will stretch to the high street immediately outside shops, enabling the retailer to attract passers by with offers via myhmv. “In the way we use our shop windows to attract customers, we’ll use wifi too,” he said.
He was not worried about shoppers using in-store wifi to compare prices and shop more cheaply elsewhere.
“It’s the reality of the multichannel world. You can do a price check on Amazon but we’re confident in our offer, we won’t put up walls to prevent that,” said Hodgkinson. “We won’t always be cheaper but we provide great value and service, and myhmv brings a richer experience, it’s not just about purchasing product. It’s about enabling choice.”
The retailer will work with technology service providers to better fulfil customers’ entertainment needs. It is in talks with undisclosed movie and music streaming services - such as Spotify - and broadcasters, such as Sky.
He said HMV is considering offering advice in-store to shoppers confused about the array of services available.
“When it comes to delivering technology it’s all about partnerships,” said Hodgkinson. “We’re talking to digital service providers, we should be working with them not against them. There are lots of new products and services coming out and customers want some advice.”
The retailer has also extended its trade in offer from games to music and film via ‘Swap Shop’ counters in a handful of stores.