Josh Fuld- Author Of Brandon Sparks & The Hidden Sun , as well as a regular caller and contributor to the show, wrote this very thought-out post regarding Blockbuster's potential demise and how they can evolve and improve with a new strategy. Have a look and share your thoughts. I personally think his suggestions are very sound and have the potential to save this storied franchise.
Blockbuster, The Future of Entertainment?
There are thousands of Blockbuster stores around the world that have become dinosaurs. They focus on movie and game rentals and sell movies at full retail. I believe that by harnessing the power of the Blockbuster brand and the fact that they have excellent coverage nationally, Blockbuster stores and Blockbuster.com could easily become your favorite place to consume entertainment.
Blockbuster.com is a very popular site. Yes it is not nearly as popular as Netflix, but that is not important. Blockbuster.com has a huge customer base and they need to revamp the system so that their customer base can purchase items at Blockbuster retail stores using their online account. How do they do this? Read on…
Video kiosks (ala Jet Blue check in) should be set up in every store. Kiosks should be easy to use, have large screens and allow the customer to watch thousands of movie trailers, behind the scenes clips, as well as rent and purchase any item in the store. Users can log in to their Blockbuster.com accounts and pay using the credit card (or paypal) they have stored online, or they can pay at the register. The goal here is to combine the functionality and ease of shopping on the Internet with the instant gratification of having what you want right now.
Kiosk will print out a receipt with a number. An employee will pick order and number will be called out. Employee will verify order vs receipt from kiosk. This is the same system chain restaurants use, like Green Cactus or Baja Fresh.
Employee’s will pick all of the merchandise for the customer? How will this work? Blockbuster will remove all (or most) of the physical inventory from the store and put it all behind the counter. Video games and movies take up very little room, and extra stock could be kept in a back room along with larger items, such as video game consoles and Tivos. Blockbuster could adjust their inventory so instead of having 50 copies of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, they could have two copies in stock and reorder when needed.
What is Blockbuster going to do with all of the freed up space? I’m glad you asked. They are going to entertain you. All of the walls will be covered with large flat panel TVs that will broadcast Blockbuster News, a one-hour, daily review of everything going on in the world of movies, tv and video games. They will have video game consoles with the newest releases so that you can play them. You get the picture.
Why would anyone use Netflix when there will be Blockbuster by Mail? If you already participate in Blockbuster’s all you can eat rental program, you will be given an envelope with your order at checkout to mail in your rentals. If you are not part of this program, for a small fee, you can buy an envelope. This will save you an annoying trip back to the store and Blockbuster gets a little extra change for making your life easier.
What’s the best way to get more traffic into Blockbuster store? Cheap new releases. In order to get more traffic, Blockbuster should offer new release DVDs and Blu-rays at significant discount. This would be similar to Best Buy’s Tuesday flyer program, but the movie’s should be cheaper. This will establish Blockbuster as the place to get new movies. Why let Best Buy dominate? Once Blockbuster is getting more traffic, and people experience the new Blockbuster, they are more likely to sign up for the rental program.
Have you ever been inside a Game Stop? It’s like going to a flea market. The employees try to push product on you that you don’t want and try to scare you into their pre-order program. Why would a person ever shop at a Game Stop when they could experience the new Blockbuster?
Speaking of Game Stop, one way that Blockbuster could really increase their traffic is by setting up a used game program. Game Stop pays next to nothing for games. Why not offer a little more as well as special discount and reward programs for people who buy and sell used games. It seems like a no brainer.
Blockbuster needs to transform itself from a place that rents movies to an entertainment destination where people come for their entertainment news and to fully immerse themselves in entertainment.