Magazine article Marketing

Retailers Ready for Music-by-Mail Boom

Magazine article Marketing

Retailers Ready for Music-by-Mail Boom

Article excerpt

Music retailers are looking to mail order in an attempt to reach those customers who feel increasingly uncomfortable entering the noisy neon and chrome meccas in the high street.

Companies such as HMV and Kingfisher have woken up to the fact that a large proportion of music lovers (particularly those in the 25 to 45 age range) have abandoned the high street in favour of catalogue shopping.

HMV is launching a home shopping catalogue which will offer those lost twenty- or thirty-somethings the chance to get back in on the music scene.

Customers will be able to order from a catalogue of over 200,000 music titles - twice the number a normal HMV store offers - with a guarantee of competitive prices and fast delivery.

Exploiting a new market

HMV Direct will serve the dual purpose of providing the company with the 'live' database it needs for future direct-marketing activities, as well as the perfect opportunity to re-acquaint the lapsed buyer with the brand.

"It may be that they don't live near an HMV store or that they haven't experienced us to date, but this is a way of reaching out to different people and broadening the audience," says HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.

HMV is out to court a new market which it believes will fuel the growth of the music industry as a whole.

Other companies, such as Britannia, which has been selling music mail order for 27 years, also believe the market for selling direct will be the engine room for future growth - but not at the high street's expense.

Managing director James Middlehurst says: "We call it selling to the massive passive. There is a growing band of people who don't feel comfortable with going into retail outlets like Virgin and asking for the latest Oasis CD but who would buy it by mail order."

Britannia speaks to its two million 'live' club members each month, offering them 'purchasing opportunities'. The company, however, cannot keep up a continual conversation with its customers because of costs.

Even record companies, such as EMI, have built up a database of names and musical preferences through inserts in CDs.

EMI corporate affairs director David Hughes says the information is used mainly to inform buyers of the latest release, rather than as a sales promotion tool. …

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