(This is part of a series of posts looking at where things went wrong for HMV. To read the rest of the posts in this series click here.)
I've heard many people talk about their love for HMV over the last few days and about happy memories of visiting the store.
The problem is that they were all in the distant past.
I've had people talk about getting expert advice from staff, or discovering something new, or even just the sensation of flicking through the vinyl (which really dates things!). For me I remember the experience of the big HMV in Leeds opening and the excitement of all that lay inside. But no-one has talked about any such recent experience.
Somewhere along the line HMV stopped delighting its customers.
Some of those delighters became obsolete or got abandoned as not producing a significant return on investment, but without them there was little to give the brand loyalty - to make people love HMV. They just became a retailer selling things which might be more convenient to pick up in town whilst you were there, than somewhere you went to town for. And as getting to town got less convenient, and you could order something cheaper and have it drop through your door without having to leave your seat then HMV got left behind.
I have a few ideas on what HMV could have done to maintain some of this "Experience" and I'll outline them in future posts, but for now the main lesson is this - if you want to do your business away from the internet, you've either got to generate ownership for the customer - to help them feel like they have invested something in your company - or you have to be the cheapest. Sadly by the time they died out HMV were neither.