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The Death Of HMV- The Social Media and SEO Autopsy

ImageThe global brand HMV announced yesterday that they have had to turn to administrators to save their company from failure. But why did this happen, I hear you ask. It happened because the company refused to accept the change in the way people shop, focussing on their high street stores when more effort was needed to be put into their online shopping experience.

HMV first opened in 1921 and has seen constant growth ever since. The company have 239 stores in the UK alone, but it’s not the high street stores that have been causing the problem, it’s their online store. In recent years online shopping has become more and more popular, meaning nearly every high street brand has had to change their campaigns and focus more on the online experience. For unknown reasons HMV decided to ignore these changes leading to catastrophic results.

HMV didn’t completely ignore the boom in internet shopping (because that would have been ludicrous!) They did set up an online store, but it is what they chose to sell on this store and their lack of internet marketing that caused their down fall.

The internet and online shopping has greatly changed the way in which we listen to music and watch films. HMV, being a store that mainly sells CD’s and DVD’s/Blue ray discs, needed to pay attention to this. Very few of us now order a CD or DVD online as this means it will be a few days before we are able to use it. Sites such as Itunes enable us to download music and films straight to our computers and use them within minutes. In present day we have little patience and expect to be able to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately HMV got left behind and was no longer deemed quick or efficient.

HMV was advised to make their music and films available for download on their site in order to keep up with their competitors but ignored the advice and kept all their products available on hard copy only. Had they taken the advice, the company may have stood a chance, but it is still a very difficult industry to compete in.

With sites such as Groove Shark, Spotify and even Justin Timberlake’s Myspace 2.0, it is now possible to download music for free and share your playlists with friends. It could be said that these sites are the social media sites of music. With these legal free options very few of us would choose to pay for hard copy CD’s that we also have to wait a few days to be able to listen to.

There are still some people out there though that do pay for their music in order to have their own collection on their PC’s and phones, and a few people do still want hard copies! This is the market HMV should have been aiming their sales at. Unfortunately for HMV they did not utilize SEO, ad words and social media. Type in ‘CD’s’ or ‘DVD’s’ on Google and other competitors such as Amazon and are ranked higher than HMV. Even Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s- UK supermarkets are higher up for buying CD’s! For those of us familiar with internet marketing, you’ll know that 90% of people click on the top three search results and click no further, meaning HMV were putting themselves behind Amazon,, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s!

It’s safe to say HMV made a lot of mistakes. For any business, whether you work in Technology PR or a hairdressers, you need to be on top of current trends. The online shopping industry has caused huge changes for many high street brands and other industries so it is essential to keep one step ahead. For any business you have to utilize SEO and social media. Nearly all your competitors will be doing it and without it you are setting yourself up for failure. 

Join The Conversation

  • McLaughlanCraig's picture
    Dec 4 Posted 3 years ago McLaughlanCraig

    I think online presence, including online shopping, contributed largely to the slow death of HMV. HMV should have included in their marketing strategy online and social media presence. But it just missed the boat, and now its demise is just being waited by everyone.

  • Jan 28 Posted 4 years ago RankWatch

    For a big company like HMV, i think they should have done a bit more to save themselves online. It's very sad to see them lose out, when everything is going out digital and doing well. Hope, they should have had a good SEO-typo analyst at their digital version hand.

  • Jan 16 Posted 4 years ago Barry Graham

    It's amazing that they have lasted as long as they have.  Let this be a lesson (yet another one - think of Blockbuster and Kodak) to other great companies that think they can ignore the changes going on around them and remain great.

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