Everybody is talking about the demise of the record store. I have different thoughts on real versus virtual shopping. Some people seem to believe we want to live our entire lives in our homes, ordering food on the Internet to be delivered, ordering clothes, books and music CDs to be delivered etc.
I for one don’t like to stay at home all of the time. I like the stimulus of being in a different environment, being amongst people. I believe the nature of the record store will change as it won’t be necessary to have 1000s of CDs in stock anymore. A new record store could be quite small and the emphasis of the store might become it’s environment and the service that a real salesperson might provide.
Imagine this: you walk into a store that has a beautiful lounge interior where you sit down and check a screen beside the chair for the latest music, a list of suggestions which an in-house critic/reviewer has compiled for you. You can call up any of the suggestions and listen on headphones. You can talk to the critic/reviewer and exchange opinions. Maybe you are offered refreshments while you browse. If you want to purchase some of the music it can be put on a CD or other medium within minutes or maybe you will have it delivered to your home later – no need to carry around a plastic bag with 10 CDs. Maybe the record store will combine with a teahouse and will offer some refreshments while you check the new music listings, maybe it will also sell or rent movies, books, even stereos and such…..
Sounds good to me! But will retail be able to change their focus from attracting shoppers with competitive prices, and consequently underpaying sales personnel which results in bad service, to attracting shoppers with great service.