Posted by: John | January 16, 2013

The High Street – it’s all about TRUST!

The post-christmas culling continues with Jessops, HMV and Blockbusters going down the tubes. There seem to be three reasons why this is happening.

1. As Grace dent has said in the Indy the high street hasn’t kept up with social changes – particularly that of internet shopping.

2. You just can’t get the things you’d like anymore. So many times people have to travel to the nearest big city to find the things they want. This is fine if you have the time or inclination to go (for instance you can catch up with friends and/or go to that fantastic restaurant). Yet if you DON’T have the time and inclination why would you buy that particular CD or stove top coffee maker when you can get it online. The only way to keep things sustainable is for order and collect services. This stops the problem of not being in when the goods are delivered and the convenience of picking them up at your convenience.

3. The other serious issue that will face retail from now on is TRUST. Jessops was a trusted brand with a `blue chip image`. As was HMV. Now there are a number of consumers who have worthless guarantees or vouchers.

There is also a link in the guise of Trevor Moore, who was CEO of Jessops and then HMV, Needless to say there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between these two companies. Perhaps they were fighting a losing battle yet for someone who, after Christmas, may have now worthless HMV or Jessops vouchers/guarantees the following (from the huffpo link) will leave a bitter taste in the mouth ` Like HMV, Jessops entered into a debt for equity swap with the banks, leaving it heavily leveraged`.

I heard on the radio that someone who had bought a camera online from Jessops on the day it went into administration will have no rights unless she paid by credit card. A friend of mine luckily spent his birthday gift HMV voucher two days after receiving it. Luckily for him it was a few hours before it went into administration! This kamikaze aspect of retail experience is a challenge to the High Street that they don’t need. Why bother with vouchers when you can give an Amazon voucher?

New Laws needed?

Perhaps there should be a voluntary agreement or something in law that allows amounts up to a certain amount to be honoured by the administrators both for cash refunds on online sales and vouchers. Otherwise why buy retail vouchers at all and just go to Amazon that is part of `the problem` in the first place?

The real issue will come if the High Street has a `Northern Rock` moment – where no brand is trusted sufficiently with the resulting effects.

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