HMV has recently opened a new store in my home town of #watford, after the last one closed in 2019. A large unit in a prominent position within @atria, many, shall we say slightly more mature readers (30+) might be questioning the decision, as we’re relentlessly told that the “High Street is dead!”.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom. This week at We Are Acuity we were fortunate enough to have another ‘ #GenZ’ work experience candidate Saadia onboard, who we duly sent to investigate the store, and come back with a thorough review from a different perspective.
The review was, perhaps surprisingly, glowing! The exciting range of Vinyl, Funko Pops, Merch, Anime, Graphic Novels (one for me as a comic book collector) and K-Pop (yes I had to have this phenomenon explained to me, think Korean Back Street Boys?), in a #local town is hugely important to a generation who may well have funds, but don’t necessarily have anywhere to spend it. How many under 18’s have access to Amazon Prime without parental approval?
Our young secret shopper reported at length the positive impact stores like HMV can have on their own shopping experience. An opportunity to share time with friends pouring over records and collectibles like all generations have had before.
It is well documented that HMV have seen many ups and downs, with the most recent rescue package coming from Canadian record store chain Sunrise Records. Our local store is one of over a dozen that have opened in the past 12 months. Bucking the trend acknowledged by other stores such as Sainsbury’s who ditched CDs & DVDs claiming the market has moved to streaming services.
Brand loyalty is potentially the key to keeping HMV alive. The brand’s website is an editorial first platform, with articles, interviews and information about music, TV & Film and artists, including live gigs, signings and Q&A’s. And it’s not just the flagship stores engaging with local communities, there are open invitations to local talent to perform in-store.
Since its launch in 1921 HMV has evolved with the times, and now stands alone as the only music and movie retailer chain in the UK. Other stores such as Waterstones have had a similar journey in Watford, closing and reopening a couple of years later, albeit with a smaller unit. Consumers want choice, and brands that are brave enough to offer more than just a digital catalogue.
#Local understanding is at the heart of everything we do at We Are Acuity. We help global and national brands reach out and engage with their local community and customer base. If HMV is a sign of the times, then the High Street may not be in quite as much trouble as we thought.
By looking into the past, it may just be vinyl that saves this oh so British institution!
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