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Let’s put this to bed.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to find a decent replacement for iTunes.
The reasons why I want to abandon the world’s most popular music download service are many and varied.
iTunes is a deeply flawed experience. It's impersonal and slow, with lack of support for different file formats. It has a stubbornly rigid pricing model and no browser access whatsoever.
In fact I rarely use the platform to download. Instead I use a collection of different digital download sites to purchase MP3s online.
Yet I still use iTunes almost exclusively to organise and access my songs on both desktop and smartphone.
Surely there’s an easier way. Well I’m going to try and find one. For the good of you, me and the music loving public of the world.
This week sees the unveiling of HMV’s completely overhauled responsive website, HMV.com.
This follows the recent desktop and app launch of HMV Digital, a music download service which aims to rival iTunes.
It’s easy to dwell on HMV’s troubled recent past: the economic downturn, the rise of the internet, eventual liquidation. But let’s not do that here, after all HMV is very much looking towards the future.
Let’s take a look at its new responsive website in detail.
A new TNS study across 43 countries suggests that 21% of shoppers use smartphones in store to 'showroom', 43% read reviews, 31% compare prices and 25% seek advice before they buy from friends and family.
This phenomenon has put the fear of God into many within the retail industry, woken businesses up to the link between the high street and internet and made retailers aware that they are not ready to service this reality.
In 2012 some of the world’s biggest brands treated us to some truly spectacular blunders on social media.
My personal favourite was KitchenAid’s attack on President Obama’s dead grandmother, though the Swedish Tourist Board also deserves an honourable mention for its potty-mouthed, anti-Semitic tweets.
Thankfully brands haven’t learned from other’s mistakes so the social fails have continued apace in 2013.
Obviously it’s wrong to make fun of people’s mistakes and revel in their failures, but it’s also important to document social fails as a warning to others (sort of)...
It's been a sad, but inevitable, week for British retail
This week, two former staples of the UK High Street hit their bottom, calling in administrators: HMV; and Blockbuster.
Added to Comet’s demise at the end of last year, the British consumer has seen a lot of household names fail recently.
Fueled by the availability of affordable ereader and tablet devices, the market for ebooks is taking off far faster than many predicted just years ago.
So it's no surprise that more than a few big companies have been looking to get a piece of the ebook pie.
Amazon is now the UK’s number one entertainment retailer in terms of market share, according to new figures from Kantar Worldpanel.
The company took 22.4% of the market for videos, games and music in the 12 weeks ending December 26 2011, while HMV had a 17.5% share.
Making customers register before they checkout is a barrier to purchase, yet many online retailers have yet to learn this lesson.
The arguments against this barrier are compelling. For example, ASOS halved its abandonment rate at the registration page simply by removing any mention of creating an account.
In a more famous example from Jared Spool, one retailer added $300m to its annual revenues by removing the registration button.
These are lessons that HMV needs to learn in order to optimise conversion rates and reduce abandonments.
It is important for brands to make the unsubscribe process as easy as possible for recipients of marketing emails, but is it possible to pre-empt this and re-engage them with your emails?
I received an email from HMV today, and this suggests that the retailer is trying to make its emails more relevant to customers. So is this an approach that will prevent customers from unsubscribing?
In the past two weeks I have twice been prevented from entering two different HMV stores on the high street. And not because I’m a known kleptomaniac, but because of the retailer’s lack of flexibility.
On both occasions I rocked up about five minutes before the store was due to close, so I knew I was pushing it. But I also knew exactly what I wanted, and I could see dozens of people milling about inside.
Despite this, the security guards on the door wouldn’t let me in. Rules is rules!