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  1.    #1  
    Hi,

    sort of a weird topic for VC but whatever...

    i used to run a video store called Art & Trash Video that specialized in rare and foreign films. the owner took gravely ill and we had to sell it to pay his medical bills.

    i am now thinking of opening a DVD only store and am trying to think of ways to innovate in the industry. to most people i think this might sound kind of strange because most stores pretty much work exactly the same way. the main difference being their stock and their staff.

    i will have an excellent stock and staff. however, what i'm curious about is:

    1. what are your fave things about your fave video store?

    2. what are your pet peeves about video stores?

    3. what do you wish they were doing?

    4. what are they doing that you wish they'd stop?

    5. what's something you don't understand about the movie rental biz that you wish was, well, understandable?

    6. any thoughts on the sell through market? (buying movies as opposed to renting them).

    7. what are your thoughts on basic policies (return times, rental rates, multi-tape deals, late fees, store hours, reservations, etc.)

    any help would be appreciated.

    thanks!

    mc
  2. #2  
    1. They recognize me on the way in and speak to me, neat displays so I can find the movie I want

    2. Stupid staff, disorder (ie, T3 in the western section, etc.), not having what I want after it's a new release (50 copies at new release - 1 copy a month later when I get around to renting)

    3. Having a staff recommendation poster - for every member, I've seen some pretty good movies recommended from other people.

    4. Kinda goes against #1, but some stores bug me too much, If I want to hang out for two hours picking DVD's, then leave me the hell alone and let me.

    5. Nothing, really.

    6. I actually prefer to buy movies, I seem to catch something new every time I watch one

    7. I used to work at a store that offered 7 for 5.99 for a week, this was more popular than the new releases. Fee's shouldn't be higher for a DVD, it's the same movie as the VCR tape. I think late fee's can be bent a little (if my tape shows up in your night drop box the day it was due, but after closing, but not every time, sometimes people get busy - or lazy). I think reservations should not be allowed, get off the couch and get the movie if you want it. If not, to be sure you havn't seen every movie in the joint.

    Just ramblin...
  3. #3  
    1. Don't really have anything favorite, but I like that blockbuster has those stands to try out the new video game systems

    2. When they don't have what I want

    3. I wish the store had a website I could go to, so that I could check and see if the video I want is in stock

    4. Asking me to join their rewards program all the time, and charging exorbant late fees

    5. Why you can't pick how many days to rent the movie/DVD. You should have a rate per day for regular titles, and new releases, and a maximum number of days you can rent it for. 6 days for regular and 2 days for new release is a good amount of time.

    6. You buy a movie that you plan on watching lots, you rent a movie you haven't seen before or only want to see a couple times.

    7. a.return times: If something is a three day rental then you return it at noon time on day 4. (IE I rent a movie on Sunday, I would get that movie until 12 noon on Wednesday)
    b.rental rates: $1.00/day seems reasonable
    c.multi-tape deals: If I purchase 2 tapes or DVDs I want one free or at half price, these are good for vacations and stuff, but I want to be able to take the deal when I want, not at the time I rent the videos, like a frequent renters club, but don't charge money or only do it with certain titles like Blockbuster does
    d.late fees: $1.00 for the first day late, $3.00 for each day after
    e.store hours: should always be open by noon every day. Should stay open later on Saturdays (most popular rental day)
    f. reservations: set aside only a certain amount of each title for reservation, the rest are first come first serve.
  4. #4  
    1) MY fave things are godo staff who cna help you pick stuff out - make use of movielens! http://www.movielens.umn.edu. I also LOVE PREPAY!!!!!

    2) I dislike video stores that overcharge on food. Pop should be 65 cents or less on a can, and $1 for a bottle. Candy should be <65 cents. Don't charge be $1 for a snickers bar - damn blockbuster..

    3) I don't know how many peopel could use it, btu an extensive online site would be great. Hook your Db to the web - peopel can see what's availble, see what they have checkout and when it is due, and see new released...

    4) In St. Paul, I go to blair arcade - a small shop perfect. Blockbuster though..
    a)Don't send me crap junk mail
    b)Don't bug me abotu rewards, which is realyl a sucky program

    5) Why DVD's cost more than VHS...

    6) I have never bought a movie, I have no opinion on this..

    7) Blockbuster has it right for return times - return by 12 noon the next day. You can watch a movie late and night, fall asleep nad dorp it off on the way to work/school. Rental rates I don't have too much of an opinion on saying I'm not normally the one who has to shell out the cash - have VHS and DVD teh same price though

    don't know abotu multi-vid deals, but ENCOURAGE PREPAY! at my local store, for liek $40 we can buy 20 dvd rentals, which dont' time out. Much better dfeal hte blockbuster, plus I never have to have cash when I go in, to rent my movie. Just my pin #


    You can reserve movies?!?!?! Store hours.. I really don't know - whenever I go their open..

    LATE FEES! Set a cap on how much late fees are- blockbuster once tryed to charge my fridn $400 for 1 video tape that got forgeotten udner a bed. maybe $100 for one video? Also, if possible set up an e-mail ystem, to NOT spam users but to REMIND them that movies are due (expecilaly helpful for 5 days)..

    Don't have overnight - make your mimunum 2 days.

    hope this helps..
    -Michael Ducker
    TreoCentral Staff
  5.    #5  
    Hey guys,

    thanks for the good feedback! i appreciate it. please keep it coming, folks.

    for the record, i worked in the video rental business for 14 years or so. some of that time was done at large chains (jumbo video and major video (which became blockbuster)), and some for smaller mom and pop type stores. the last 5 years was for the independent store Art & Trash Video, which closed down almost 4 years ago. The web site is still visible/hidden at www.alientomato.com/artandtrash/ if you want to get a look at what i did there with policies/stock. however, the site is 5 years old or so so lots of it doesn't make sense and it's not the most functionable. if i open this new store, the site will be much more functional. (and keep in mind those prices are also 5 years out of date and in canadian $)

    in toronto, or at least at the stores that i shop at, no one asks me about "rewards programs". what are these? a few of you have mentioned this. is this like "rent 10, get one free"? or something else altogether?

    thanks,

    mc
  6. #6  
    By the way, congrats on winning Printboy.
  7. #7  
    Blockbuster has a thing they call rewards, you get a free rental if you rent a "favorites" video from Mon-Thur, between certain hours, you get 2 free favorites rentals every month. And some other stuff that's confusing.
  8. #8  
    Originally posted by miradu2000
    ....7) Blockbuster has it right for return times - return by 12 noon the next day. You can watch a movie late and night, fall asleep nad dorp it off on the way to work/school....Don't have overnight - make your mimunum 2 days....
    I don't rent a-lot of DVD's but I personally prefer when they are due by midnight of the last rental day. I think Hollywood Video does (or did) this. The video store is in the opposite direction from work for me so when it's due at noon on the last day - I basically don't get that last day unless I get up really early. I agree that 2 days should be the minimum rental duration though.
    Mike
    I'd rather be upside down in my kayak than rightside up at my desk.
  9. #9  
    Here's a break through idea: use several computers in the store for customers to browse what you have. Even an old 386 would do fine if you have a good listing. I'd suggest web pages categorized in movie styles, with a picture of the video's cover and the synopsis from the back. Included in the page would be the location (i.e. what shelf) and the availability (i.e. is it in stock). Basically, it is should be a copy of what the cashier can see on their computer when the tell you if they have a certain movie or not.

    - Burns
    Check out my page on Visors:
    Burn's Visor page
  10. #10  
    Burns-Like a library computer system? That'd be great.
  11.    #11  
    once again, folks, thanks for the feedback and keep it coming.

    dampeoples, thanks for the heads up. i didn't even notice. woohoo me!

    burns: i actually had this in a store that i ran in 1989. we had two terminals on the floor that allowed people to do text searches and it would tell them the section of the store that it was in.

    for the most part, it worked well. for this new store i will be hiring someone to build a DB specific for our store so i appreciate any comments about software functionality. right now, i have obvious things like being able to search any info (actor, director, etc.) and do cross searches.

    the rewards system at blockbuster seems too confusing. we will have rewards but it'll easily understood.

    return times at stores i've run have usually been 7pm, with a one hour grace period. we've also allowed people to pre-pay as many extra days at time of rental for 50 cents per day, which has always been a good thing.

    mc
  12. #12  
    Originally posted by mensachicken
    we will have rewards but it'll easily understood.
    That would include lifetime free rentals to any VisorCentral member, right?

    Of course, that means we'd all have to move to your neighborhood... unless, of course, you're going to franchise and open a store in every member community.
    .
    .....
    MarkEagle
    .....<a href="http://discussion.treocentral.com/tcforum/index.php?s=">TreoCentral</a> | <a href="http://discussion.visorcentral.com/vcforum/index.php?s=">VisorCentral</a> Forum Moderator - Forum Guidelines
    .....Sprint PCS Treo 650
    .....God bless America, my home sweet home...
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by MarkEagle
    That would include lifetime free rentals to any VisorCentral member, right?

    Of course, that means we'd all have to move to your neighborhood... unless, of course, you're going to franchise and open a store in every member community.
    Open one in milton, MA!!!!

    On a more serious note (I can't remembre the numbers, and I'm too lazy to scroll down ):
    DVD should cost the same as normal VHS. I completly stopped going to a video store because thye caarged more for DVD which I though was outrageous. Prepay is a grea thing, and I really wish that it was avaible around here. I take long trips, and I want to rent Video games for my playstation, and I want to be able to take them with me so I can play them in my car (TV is great in the car ). Reguralry check youir DVD's for scratches. I hate it when I get home with a movie, and I can't play it because the first little bit of the disk is ruined by the 3year old of the previous person who rented it. Having video game systems out to play is fun, but not necessary. Blockbuster has them, and I never see them in use for more than 2 minutes, and it doesn't do anything, cause the game is locked in there, so you can't test out different games. My reccomendation would be to have a game system so that you can test games, but put a time limit on it. If your not going to do this, then don't bother, it's just a waste of money to buy a new console whenever one comes out if your not going to make money off of it. On the same note, have lots of video game systems for rent. They are fun to rent, and you can make alot of money off of them. At the same time, make sure you give ALL accessories with them, like a rumble pack. They are so cheap (like 15 bucks), and it will make you the top choice for a place to rent games. Also have RCA to RF adapters avaible, cause not everbody has a new enough TV to be able to hook up the new imputs to it (especially people aho are renting systems)if you charge an extra 5 dollars for 5 days for it, and you've made a happy customer. For new releases, make them due back 2 and a half days later. Due at noon, or due at midnight the day before is a BIG difference because maybe I want to watch it that night. Heck, most stores arn't open before noon anyways, so it doesn;'t make much of a difference to you. Ontop of that, not many people come in to rent video's before noon, so you'll just make some more happy customers. Make all of your prices up to th enext dollar WITH tax. I hate having to pay 3.15 for a video cause it always means that I have to ask my friend for some change. Include tax in your price (ex: make it 2.85 for a rental; with 15 cents tax, it will cost 3 bucks in the end. It doesn't take much money out for you, and it is a big convience factor for the consumer). This would make me want to rent from you instead of the next guy. Also have some deal like 5 movies for 5 days for 5 dollars (adjusted for price). I love to do this while I'm bored over vaca with my family. Nobody EVER watches those movies, so you will always have a good stock of them, and you can make alot of money on late fee's on them . Moving on to the next point...don't make late fee's too much. maybe a dollar a day, or 2 (american price). When I have a movie out, it's late havitually (going back to prepay), and if I know that it was 2 the first day, then one after, I'll prolly keep it out more so I can watch it again, which results in more money for you. Trust me, alot of people think this way. VCR's: Don't rent them, or if you do, only like 1 or 2. EVERYBODY and thier grandmother has a VCR today. What they want it a DVD player, which you can make some good money off of. As other people said before, prizes or anything like that are stupid if they get too complicated, and nobody uses them as promotion features. Usually they just become a liability for somebody to find a loop hole, and make more money off of you. I think that is all I have to say, and goodluck on your store.

    BEN
  14. #14  
    on the ideas, above, regarding:
    (1) return time at Midnight, as opposed to noon. Much more desireable to watch the movie, say, Friday evening after work and return it than to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to watch it and return it. This is a BIG DEAL to me.

    (2) Have the cost round to the nearest dollar. BEN is right--it is a pain in the buttocks to have to fonch around for the extra change.

    It sounds like you plan to have more of a "niche" store (judging from the way you described the previous place) where returning customers won't be a problem...I have seen some stores have "Picks of the Week" done by regulars--are you going to have a coffee shop attached like some bookstores?

    Also, can't get http://www.alientomato.com/artandtrash/ to open.
  15. #15  
    Please have a display up explaining the difference between widescreen and pan & scan so that new DVD consumers will understand and appreciate the difference. I will never buy/rent a DVD that is not in its original aspect ratio (OAR).
    James Hromadka, TreoCentral Editor
    Houston - EST. 1836
  16. #16  
    Maybe you could rent over the net? I don't go to video stores anymore now that I found Netflix. The cost and convenience balance out and it's just easier for me to find movies online, they've got a huge selection.

    The things that I would say about the b&m store?

    -= Knowledgeable staff
    -= Staff picks (it's rad to see what other people like. You could find out about a movie that you've never even heard of)
    -= Reasonable prices. I'm not saying cheap because you are in the business to make money, but reasonable.
    -= Lower cost for longer rental periods, but less than it would cost to rent the same movie twice.
  17.    #17  
    good ideas all around, folks. here are some comments:

    K. Cannon:

    yeah, the old web site is pretty crap. try this back door and see if it helps http://www.alientomato.com/artandtrash/index.htm (the main idea of me revealing the site for a dead store is so you can take a look at the type of stock i will be having. i think if you browse thru the countries and directors section, you'll be impressed.)

    re: return times. after all my years in video i can say easily that the two things that no two customers will agree on are

    1. what time films should come back.
    2. how much is a "fair" late fee.

    though i can't really get into it here, the store i'm proposing will do a good job of eliminating both of those problems. (think netflix.com with a few twists.)

    and yes, this would be a niche store. the main benefits of it:

    1. will attempt to offer the best dvd selection for rent and sale. we will be only dvd--no vhs whatsoever. we will buy, sell, and rent DVDs (ie, we will buy and sell used and new--similar to a used cd store).

    2. we will rent region-free, pal/ntsc machines for cheap (probably $3 per day) so that those without machines can watch dvds. and those with region specific machines can rent titles from outside their region.

    3. when a title is not available in region 1 (my region) or ntsc, we will import them. the point being to have every great (in our opinion) title available in some form of dvd.

    Ben:

    a. since we won't have vhs, the cost issue is kind of not relevant to us. however, we will be competitive with other stores vhs rental prices.

    b. we will not be renting games simply for the reason that none of my staff are knowledgable about the subject and there is stiff competition from stores that do.

    b. you're right about the even numbers. however, because of the stuff i want to implement (similar to netflix flat fees), this will be irrelevant for most customers as well.

    James:

    since we'll be only dvd, more than likely the ws vs. ps issue will not be relevant. we will only be carrying oar titles (unless the title is only available in ps).

    your suggestion re: a display is excellent though.

    creole:

    we will not rent via mail because canadian postal rates are too much. the usa has some good ways for people to ship (media/book rates, etc.). we have no equivalent.

    staff will be super knowledgeble (probably same staff from Art & Trash). we're all film geeks. as an example, i've seen at least one movie every day for almost 12 years. we all have studied film at uni, made at least one film, and had films in festivals and stuff like that. i also used to run an video distribution label specializing in indie film and short films.

    and yes, staff pics is essential. we also used to have a "regulars" pick section, which rotated weekly. worked very well.

    re: longer rental times. we used to allow peeps to prepay extra days for 50 cents each. had to be done at time of rental. this worked very well and something similar will be implemented.

    again, folks, thanks for the comments.

    mc
  18. #18  
    Originally posted by mensachicken
    yeah, the old web site is pretty crap. try this back door and see if it helps http://www.alientomato.com/artandtrash/index.htm (the main idea of me revealing the site for a dead store is so you can take a look at the type of stock i will be having. i think if you browse thru the countries and directors section, you'll be impressed.)
    Yep, that got me in. Damn, that's a selection!

    I might have missed this, but is the store going to be in the same city? If yes, you will probably be able to quickly get many old customers back.
  19.    #19  
    Originally posted by K. Cannon

    Yep, that got me in. Damn, that's a selection!

    I might have missed this, but is the store going to be in the same city? If yes, you will probably be able to quickly get many old customers back.
    good. and thanks.

    and yes, same city: Toronto, Canada. and yeah, i still have the customer database on my home computer so i've already got a mailing list of 8000 people or so.

    mc

    ps. great flick in your sig there. ha.
  20. #20  
    Originally posted by mensachicken
    ps. great flick in your sig there. ha.
    Yeah, man. I love that 24 hours of "Christmas Story" they do every year.

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