Barnes and Noble 2.0
Blockbuster: The Fall and Potential Rise of a Once Great Giant
Because of poor strategic planning, mismanagement and competition from other video rental companies such as Netflix, Blockbuster has lost significant revenue. The company filed for bankruptcy on September 23, 2010, and on April 6, 2011, was bought by satellite television provider Dish Network at auction for $233 million and the assumption of $87 million in liabilities and other obligations. The acquisition was completed on April 26, 2011. [via Wikipedia]
The above quote pretty much sums of the Blockbuster story in a nutshell.
Blockbuster could have been great - keyword could have been.
Now I am just going to cut to the chase. I still think, crazy as it may seem, that Blockbuster can make a comeback. Yes, I know. It sounds out there, but a lot of things appear to be these days.
Let’s just dive in.
First off, as an ex-employee, I can tell you that their cash register was ancient. How ancient? So ancient they were, for the most part, using the same setup they were using back when I was in elementary school. How do I know this? My Mom used to work for Blockbuster way back then and years later, after I graduated high school, I worked for them. Same 80s looking computer with a keyboard. Did you catch that? A keyboard to do transactions. Yeah real old school right there. At the time I was working at a clothing store also, and they used touchscreen monitors. And then I took steps back in time when I worked for Blockbuster… a lot of steps back in time.
While this part doesn’t necessarily affect the customer as much, it surely slowed down transactions. There was no simple touch this and go. What also was a downer was when a customer wanted to know if a store nearby had the movie they were looking for. In order to this, at first, we had to stop and call the store. Later on, they advanced a bit and we were able to look in the computer, but it still wasn’t super helpful. I work at another store now and if we need to check another store, we can easily do this by scanning the intended product. While this method is not perfect either, it beats wasting time calling when they don’t have it.
Verdict: For the cash registers, Blockbuster failed here. I haven’t been in a store for years, but the last time I was, they were still using the same computers. In order to make a real comeback, they should start by updating their computers. If, by chance, they have updated to the present and put in touchscreen computers, they are already on their way. And if you don’t think having a touchscreen monitor for transactions is a big deal, I’m guessing you have never worked a job using one (versus a computer and keyboard setup). Huge difference, trust me. Blockbuster, touchscreens and great software equals winning combination.
Kiosks or Blockbuster Express
Well, they killed it. Blockbuster sold their Express kiosks to rival Redbox. If they want to compete in this market again, they must start from scratch. And that’s okay.
Here’s the deal. While I don’t know the logisitics of it, why haven’t Redbox hit the numerous college campuses and their many students? One dollar and some change rentals seem perfect for the stereotypically broke college student. I would put the kiosks in busy well-trafficked areas - the student union and the library to start. I still scratch my head on why Redbox hasn’t done this yet. It could be for reasons I can’t understand, but it seems like such a large market that would be perfect. Imagine having a couple kiosks on campus, within walking distance of your classes? Long break between classes? You could watch a movie in the Union on your laptop and return when done. Want a movie night with friends? Walk over to a kiosk after class and grab one, and then return the next day on your way to class. It just seems to nice. Blockbuster could jump on that.
Verdict: Redbox already has territory - 7-eleven, Kroger’s, Wal-Mart and other various places. One place they haven’t hit is college campuses. Can this be possible? If so, make it so.
Store Layout and Design
Somehow I feel Blockbuster tried to cram as much as possible into one store. And yet other times, I could run around there was so much space. The only semi-logical method for organization was that the newer releases were on the outer wall with the older stuff and games in the middle shelves. But even then, confusion set in because for the most part movies were alphabetical order. I say most part because it would still be hard to find the movie you’re looking for sometimes.
Take inspiration from numerous and various places. To me, all the movie rental stores I have been in are nothing special. It feels more like a warehouse than anything. I understand they are there to rent DVDs and game while trying to sell candy, magazines and other various things.
This one, I haven’t quite figured out a fantastic look or design. But there’s such a possibility. For starters, get rid of the ugly carpet and cheap looking wire shelving. I realize displaying so many DVDs isn’t an easy task; I get that. That’s why creativity will go a long way. Go in and become more interactive. Allow movie posters with QR codes linking customers to the movie’s page with reviews and trailers. Place the movie poster near the matching DVD. Play movie trailers on TVS around the store, which my old Blockbuster did. Have a better organization for new releases and old releases. I remember the hard time I had trying to find movies sometimes. Better signage too.
Verdict: This area is what completes the trifecta of the comeback. And the interior needs serious help.
I also think the mail-order DVD rental they have going complements the physical stores. It’s something other brands don’t have. But Blockbuster needs to commit to an idea; they were known to changing policies and then changing them back. It was confusing for the workers and the customers. Come up with a plan and stick with it… Well pick a good plan and commit.
Come on, Dish, what’s next for this once great brand?
Thinking of getting for my Mini.
The Fitbit Flex, supposedly coming soon.
I am apart of Team Fuelband, but Nike needs to get it together and give us some updates or something. This Flex looks rather interesting and does a little more than the Band.
While I would love to stay on the Fuelband bandwagon (I am trying to reach Millionaire status and love how it’s all tied into my running and workouts), I would consider a move. I would hate to do it, but if Nike doesn’t keep the Fuelband updated with new features (like some social aspect to the site at least!) I might not have such a hard choice.
Leaving the Fuelband world is like leaving the Apple world, to me. I just have so much invested.