Originally published 06/2011
The sinking ship that is Blockbuster has some new legal battles on the horizon. Since being purchased by Dish Network and hanging the Canadian division out to dry, the new ownership has told all of its former subsidiaries and licensees that they can no longer use the Blockbuster name. It’s suffice to say that the decision has pissed a few people off. In the US, NCR Corp. which runs Blockbuster’s DVD rental kiosks has filed a lawsuit to keep using the name. In Canada, it’s a similar situation with Dish telling the receiver in charge of the 400 stores here to stop using the name and all other intellectual property. The receiver is now fighting this issue in Ontario courts. This shows how powerful a brand name really is. Even when you are in bankruptcy protection your brand is still worth something.
Originally published 03/2011
This month’s retail cool is all about trends for 2011. Most of the data here is US specific, but some is world-wide data. None of it is Canadian specific unfortunately. Infographic lovers, eat your heart out.
Online Retail (e-commerce) is expected to lead the charge in economic recovery in the retail sector for 2011. Not surprisingly, clothing and accessories will account for the bulk of those online purchases.
Tying into e-commerce is mobile. More people are using their phones and other digital devices to access company and competitor websites to find product information and to price compare.
Forcing the mobile and e-commerce revolution is Gen Y, aka, the Millennials (anyone under 30 with purchasing power).
Customer service, international expansion, and smaller domestic stores will bring growth to retailers. With the likes of Blockbuster and Boarders going bankrupt in the US, expect many retailers to open smaller, more boutique focused stores with better customer service. Wal-mart is already doing this (smaller stores, not better customer service). The trend seems to be that the defining feature between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce in the years to come will be customer service.
This last one is just for fun:
Originally published 09/2010
This week, Blockbuster USA filed for chapter 11 protection, signalling the end of an era. For 25 years Blockbuster has dominated in the home entertainment rental industry but has not been able to keep pace with new rivals like Netflix which offer content streaming and DVD delivery right to your home. In Canada, Blockbuster and Rogers have been able to stay somewhat resilient to its competitors, largely Zip.ca. But this week Netflix launched its content streaming operations in Canada, offering unlimited watching for $7.99 a month with a one month free trial (less than the cost of 2 Blockbuster rentals). Will Blockbuster Canada follow suit with its American brethren?
Online shopping is growing and as people become more comfortable with shopping online, retailers are eager to find new ways to get you to spend your digital dollars in their world. These days you can get almost anything shipped to your door for free and then, in many cases, returned at no cost if you don’t like the item. There are even companies that will guarantee the item will be in your hands in as little as one hour from the time you click “Submit Payment”. Therefore, what is the incentive to leave your house and visit a brick and mortar store? Are retailers taking advantage of the fact that we all lead busy lives and can’t find the time to get over to the mall? Or are we lulling ourselves into a lazy lifestyle where we expect everything to be delivered to us on a silver platter? I leave these questions to make your own conclusions.
Blockbuster USA http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2010-09-23-blockbuster23_ST_N.htm
Netflix Canada http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Netflix+launches+Canada/3563817/story.html