HMV – The day the music died

Music and entertainment retailer HMV has been plunged into administration after racking up debts of £176.1 million, making it yet another high street casualty to yield to the current economic climate. The grim news will have a profound impact on the 4,350 individuals employed by the company and for music fans around the UK who are bracing themselves for the loss of yet another iconic music outlet.

As Deloitte prepare to conduct the administration process, analysts are already questioning the impact that e-commerce has had on this high-street giant and how the change in the consumption of music has affected not only HMV but all retailers in this particular sector. Despite having an online store in addition to the 239 stores that HMV operate in the UK, the surge in digital music and video content sold mainly through Apple iTunes has been cited as the main reason for HMV’s gradual decline over the years. The company have already been downsizing for some time after selling its live entertainment arm and Waterstones book store. However, competing with digital downloads, online marketplaces and supermarkets selling the same goods at loss leader prices has proved to be too much with consumers now offered cheaper and easier ways of shopping for entertainment. No longer accepting gift vouchers from customers, (buyers can claim the money back from debit/credit card issuer using chargeback) Deloitte have stated their intention to keep all the HMV outlets open while seeking potential buyers

Famed for its association with the music industry, HMV is also renowned for being a DVD retailer although this area of the business has also come under threat from these same competitors not to mention the emergence of on demand broadcasting services. Lovefilm, Netflix, and Sky On Demand again offer consumers an instant product at a cheaper price than a hard copy, and once more undercuts HMV’s business model by giving consumers instant purchases at lower rates.

The face of entertainment consumption has changed and while this may be for the better in terms of technology, price and instant availability of music and films, it has come at a cost in terms of jobs and the layout of high streets and shopping centres. Whether this is the beginning of the end for large entertainment stores is yet to be seen although it is yet another indication of the importance of incorporating digital and e-commerce in a modern retail business plan.

Online retailers prepare for a record breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend

The final weekend in November is set to be another milestone for the global e-commerce market with worldwide annual online sales predicted to break the $1trillion mark as a result of the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” shopping phenomenon.

Operating on multiple online marketplaces will present retailers with the ideal opportunity to grow their sales over this huge weekend of internet shopping and enable them to gain real momentum in the lead up to Christmas. However, these marketplaces must be monitored and managed correctly to ensure that online sellers can generate maximum sales value by quickly adapting to the ever-changing market conditions over the course of the long weekend and beyond.

Correct pricing is a critical factor particularly over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend; defined as it is by numerous promotional offers and huge savings. During this weekend, Seller Dynamics is looking to play a vital role in ensuring that our clients are always ahead of the market and top of the page as a result of our automated price margin management feature.

Seller Dynamics can be hugely beneficial to businesses that aim to offer their customers the best value prices, ensuring that the price of a product is automatically altered in relation to any changes to an extremely busy marketplace. As a result of setting a maximum and minimum margin range in relation to rivals selling the same products on the same markets, Seller Dynamics’ customers can be confident of always being price competitive and thus always being in front of buyers at all times, even across inventories of tens of thousands of product lines.

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Growing at a global rate of 20%, the Business-to-Consumer e-commerce market is a rich source of potential revenue for retailers that make the decision to sell online and although multiple marketplace listings do not guarantee success, a dynamic and well managed system will almost certainly make a significant difference to an organisation’s overall revenue.