We’ve all heard about it for a while — that Blockbuster is dying (perhaps it was already dead). We’ve all heard that the new business models used by Red Box and Netflix and the demand for those offerings were hurting Blockbuster’s revenues. And, we’ve all heard of Blockbuster’s attempt to move into the online video rental and we’ve seen crazy, multiple pricing changes for Blockbusters movie rentals.
I have heard all of this, tried their online video rental (which was a HORRIBLE customer experience, especially when compared to my beloved Netflix) and witnessed a few changes to our neighborhood Blockbuster (the price changes and the horrid redesign of how they display their merchandise). But over the 2010 Christmas Holiday Break when we visited my parents, I saw first hand that Blockbuster is officially dead. In an affluent school district, in a city of over one million people (Top 10 in US population) both the Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos stores had been closed down. Two Davids had killed Goliath! Long live Netflix! Long live Red Box!
So, it’s an interesting storyline over an extended period of time … small, retail mom and pop video stores are crushed by the mega, national retail video stores …. mega, national retail video stores get fat, lazy and do not innovate … fat, lazy mega national retail video stores scoff at online rentals … fat, lazy mega national retail video stores scoff at streaming video … fat, lazy mega national retail video stores scoff at Red Box’s vending machine concepts … Start ups take over. Have we therefore come full circle?
Personally, I never enjoyed the retail experience that the Blockbuster store provided. I found it a difficult shopping experience loaded with impulse purchase pressure near the register, making it a place I never wanted to take my kids to. Netflix and Red Box have change that experience. However, Netflix still needs some merchandising help. Their online search display and search capabilities do not help me find videos to watch. Yes, their operation capabilities are world class and yes, they should take over the US Postal Service. However, they must continue to innovate with the customer experience if they are to remain the new leader. Please, please, please Netflix, see what Amazon is doing in terms of recommendations and please, please, please improve your merchandising experience.
What are your thoughts and experiences?