Today the news that HMV was going into administration had lots of people on talking about why shops fail and lots of people were talking about ways to fix up the shop.
I got me thinking about something, today I went out into Altrincham centre to buy some lunch and a couple of other things. I popped in to Waterstones, formally a part of HMV now on its own. Oddly I was drawn in there by the Kindle display. Recently refitted the store is excellent, a nice coffee shop enthusiastic staff, reviews of merchandise and still room for tables with special offers on. The special area for e-readers is what I went in to look at, though I have enough unread books at the moment I have been thinking about getting an e-reader as my iPad is a little heavy for reading a book on in bed. Overall I was very impressed with Waterstones I wanted to buy a book and sit and read in the coffee store like a sceanster, unfortunately I had to get back to work.
Across the road is WHS smiths, I popped in to buy a pen, and well there couldn't be more of a start contrast. WHS Smiths are attempting to sell e-Readers too, they retail the Kobo glow but rather than than have a nice display they simply had a sad pile of empty boxes stuffed into a cardboard display, not very appealing. In fact the whole shop looked tired, cluttered. Even worse when I turned round there was a very dodgy looking legal services stand. Behind the counter were a series of dirty ugly office filing cabinets, horrid.
With so many chains failing I would suggest that stores need to go do more to entice customers in create an experience. Attempting to compete with supermarkets overstocking shelves isn't the answer, then again which shop did I spend my money in, I didn't walk out with a Kindle but I did buy a pack of Pilot G2 pens from WHSmith so what do I know!