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View Full Version : Went into a Choices UK today...


MissHailstorm
September 13th, 2006, 11:52 AM
First time ever. It was weird, it felt a little like I was cheating on Blockbuster, and I was convinced the guy behind the counter was staring at me, thinking to himself, "She works for Blockbuster". :D

I've never thought about Choices as being competition before, really. But it's interesting to see some genuine rental (as opposed to retail) competition, and how they do things.

Observations:

Pricing
They did some better price structures than us, I thought. New games are the same price as us, 3.95, but for 3 nights instead of 2. I think that's better, since most people need a few day to complete a game. They also do the slightly older, or less hot new releases at 2.95 for 5 nights. Old games are 1.95 for 7 nights.

I have to say, I think that's much better than us for the games, though we have started to move stuff to 7 nights a lot faster, which is great.

As for DVDs, their new releases are 3.75, but I didn't notice if that was for 2 nights or 3. Either way, it's marginally cheaper than my store. This is in competition with another Blockbuster in town, but that Blockbuster charges 3.95. The older ones are 2.00, but, again, I didn't notice the period on that.

There was a deal on some of the new releases (I'm not sure if it was on everything), which was 3 for the price of 2. A bit better than our 3 for 9, but I don't know if it covered chart.

Product Range
It seemed like they had a lot of things that we didn't, but, in turn, I'm pretty sure we have a lot of things that they didn't get either. Also, their copy depth seemed very small.

One thing I did notice is that they rent out DS games, which I was a little surprised about. I didn't realise Nintendo allowed the rental of DS, and I was a little suspicious since there were hardly any games in the range, and one of them was an American game, which obviously wasn't PEGI rated.

They sell a lot of things that we don't: CDs, posters, badges, mobile phones, pick 'n' mix; world cinema, and a large adult range.

The gimmicky things like badges and posters probably aren't great sellers, but that said, they probably don't cost that much money to implement, and I think it's a nice touch. The badges were only 50p, and sold at the till point, and I reckon quite a few people buy them on impulse, much like a chocolate. I remember being cynical about those stickers we sold over the World Cup, but they turned out to be great sellers for us, so I'd like to see Blockbuster start doing more in this gimmicky area (which I have heard is in the works, actually).

Not sure about the mobile phones, can't imagine that's worth it.

World cinema, I was quite surprised about. It's good that they dedicate a section, but hardly anyone in my town is after world cinema, and this store was only in the next town, so I wouldn't have thought their clientele is much different.

The adult section was truly inspired. They'd put DVD boxes over the covers saying "Adult", so you had to look under the boxes to browse the section. This is so people don't complain about the covers. If they don't wanna look, they don't have to -- brilliant! I have to point out, they did have a lot of the crap we sell (eg. 'Sexy Mature Housewives' marked up at 12.99), but also some better looking stuff too. We need more porn.

The posters they had were quite general, so even if they don't sell well, they have a long shelf-life.

They had a much wider range of DVDs to buy than we do. Boxsets and a good range of back catalogue. However, there was things like 'Soul Assassin' gathering dust, that they'd probably had since that came out 3 years ago, so maybe it's a good thing we don't stock absolutely everything.

I got quite excited when I saw the CDs, but there was hardly any there, and it looked to me like they were actually phasing them out.

Layout
This is confusing as fuck. They rent stuff out in their cover boxes, and there's no clear divide in the shop of what was rental and what was retail (could just be a poor layout in that shop), so I can imagine they get a lot of people bringing up rental thinking it's retail and vice versa. Not helped by the ex-rental DVDs, which still had "Rent me for 2.00" stickers on them. :rolleyes:

The older DVDs were awful. They'd been put out, flat faced, in no particular order or section (the only part sectioned was kids DVDs), and all piled on top of each other. It must be a nightmare when someone asks where something is, I can't imagine how you'd have found anything. Though, again, this could've just been the store I was looking in.

Pre-owned
In our store, this is one of our biggest sellers, but it was rubbish. Everything was pretty much the same price we would sell it for, except there was no deals on it at all. the 5 for 25 forces the customer to clearout 5 DVDs at once, even if they only wanted 2. In Choices, if they only wanted 2, that's all they'd buy. There was ex-rental copies of films that came out months and years ago, that had never shifted.

Also, in this store, they'd obviously run out of certain price stickers, so had been writing over other prices, which looked poor and confusing. Could be unique to this store, though.

Atmosphere
They were playing music, which was much nicer than trailers. I actually wanted to know what the CD was, as I was enjoying it, so if I was looking to buy it, I might well have. However, I did notice they had some TVs up front, so I did wonder if they were actually allowed to play CDs, and maybe they were meant to play some stupid trailer disc as well.

It was a nice store, but it was also dead. I went in around 5:30pm, usually a pretty busy time for us, but I only noticed 2 other people come in. Also, one of the staff kept following me around, probably 'cause he thought I was on the nick. :rolleyes:

Premium Membership
There wasn't much information about this, but it caught my eye and seemed like a good idea. I know in the States, they offer Rewards, so I don't know why we don't do something similar. All I really remember was that it included: 5% off of a new retail movie; 50p off 'Fix-a-disc' (I presume some sort of disc refurbishment service they also offer, which is a good idea to); insurance against theft or damage of rental products under their care.


All in all, it had a lot of promising ideas, like the gimmicky products, and wider range of stock. But they didn't seem to be making the most of it, so to speak.

Anyone else got any opinions of competition stores they wish to venture?

SavageUK
September 13th, 2006, 01:43 PM
I haven't read all of that because I assume it won't be news to me. We're competitor impacted, and Choices are the ones who are closest to us (very close). If they were to close our business would shoot right up straight away. There was a time when Blockbuster was the only major rental store in the area, then Choices UK arrived.

EDIT -

In no particular order I'll respond to some of those things.

Whenever I've been up to Choices they've been playing a movie, instead of a trailer disc. I assumed they've been given the "All clear" by HO to play a certain film.

In my local store all rental is upstairs (yes, they have two floors :o), with a few pre-owned games. Downstairs is the retail DVD and other things like posters etc.

We get so many people in our store bringing up cover boxes for NR films, even when there are clearly rental cases behind them, and I believe it is Choices fault. Because in choices you only bring up the picture box (what you see is what you get, in a way), they've started doing it at our store now.

I always thought the atmosphere in the Choices near me was quite good, but then again there isn't anything wrong with the atmosphere in my Blockbuster so they're not beating us on that.

And yes, their layout is shit. We beat them hands-down on that.

MissHailstorm
September 13th, 2006, 02:11 PM
I was just wondering what people's impressions of the competition is. Not necessarily just Choices.

To be honest, the store I went into could've just been a bit of a hole. It was a little bit smaller than my store, but much bigger than the BBX in the same town.

The one thing I forgot to mention that did really strike me was the lack of any deals, across the board. There's nothing at all on the older films, which seems strange since they are the most profitable items in the store. If you're looking for an older film, you may as well just get one in Choices, but when you see them on a deal, you feel compelled to get the most out of it, even if you end up renting something you didn't really want.

I'd imagine they're not permitted to play music. We're allowed to play films, but our H/O don't really want us to. We're not allowed to play music though, unless we get a licence thingy like GameStation have. Although there could be slightly different laws if they sell music? They could argue it's advertising, but don't know the details.

I really do like those gimmicky things though, I think they're a nice touch. I've heard the top stores (which includes mine) will be broadening the range a bit. We'll be getting advent calendars, and those interactive DVD games, amongst other things. :)

SavageUK
September 13th, 2006, 02:14 PM
I was just wondering what people's impressions of the competition is. Not necessarily just Choices.
Yeah well Choices is the only competition we have so, :P

The deal at Choices, as far as I know, is 4 for 5 on the 7-nighters. Could be just a regional thing though.

MissHailstorm
September 13th, 2006, 02:23 PM
Yeah well Choices is the only competition we have so, :P

The deal at Choices, as far as I know, is 4 for £5 on the 7-nighters. Could be just a regional thing though.

Well, if that deal was on in the one I went into, the POS must've been rubbish, 'case I didn't notice it! And I was browsing for a good 20 minutes, too. :D

4 for £5, though?! Cheeky fucks, trying to outdo us. But their customers would be lucky to find anything, seriously, is there any order intended? I couldn't spot any. Random genres, and not alphabetical, just all over the place.

My particular store has little to no competition. We have the library, I suppose, which rents out a very small selection of DVDs, but it's hardly much of a threat, even if it's cheaper and better value. :p There's also a Co-op or something around that has an in-built Video Box, but, again, it's very tiny. Occasionally get stuff dropped off from there, but at the latter, they honestly don't give a shit. We had two of their DVDs sitting in our mis-matches for 6 months. I phoned them several times. I would've dropped them in myself, but I actually don't know where this place is, and no-one else in the store knew. After a few inventories ticked by, I thought, "fuck it", and added them to our inventory. ;)

Other than Choices, the only major rental chain I can think of is 'Video Box'. Also, isn't there one called 'Apollo Video'? I'd never heard of them until my boss mentioned them a few months ago. Are they the ones who are big in Scotland? :confused:

SavageUK
September 13th, 2006, 02:34 PM
After a few inventories ticked by, I thought, "fuck it", and added them to our inventory. ;)

Naughty girl, I would never... :p

Yep it seems they are just trying to go one over on most of our deals, in the hope some logical customers will go "actually Choices are better value", but value doesn't necessarily mean they'll have the film you want or give you good customer service.

I think they also do £2.99 for 1-night on first week NR films. Don't quote me on that though.

MissHailstorm
September 13th, 2006, 02:40 PM
Naughty girl, I would never... :p
Ahh, what else could I do? Either throw them out, or leave them there forever, At least I didn't keep them for myself. :p

Yep it seems they are just trying to go one over on most of our deals, in the hope some logical customers will go "actually Choices are better value", but value doesn't necessarily mean they'll have the film you want or give you good customer service.
I'm sure they have some good staff, but the ones I've spoken to always seemed fairly useless. Never care if we have one of their DVDs. Whenever they get one of ours, they always phone the BBX in town, even though it has our address and phone number on the frickin' insert. :rolleyes: The layout really does put me off, though. If a customer just didn't have the guts to ask where something was, they'd lose sales all the time.

I think they also do 2.99 for 1-night on first week NR films. Don't quote me on that though.
I didn't notice that today. Perhaps they only do it on very big releases? There's not been much out lately.

UI know they did used to do something similar, because I seem to recall a customer throwing a wobbler because "Choices are 1 cheaper", but my boss pointed out they were also only for 1-night. Don't know ho he knew. This was a couple of years ago now, so it could've changed.

We only went 2-nights on everything 3 years ago, and Choices followed suit at some point after.

the boy wonder uk
September 13th, 2006, 03:03 PM
I had 2 choices within 5 miles of my store both closed within the last 6 weeks and I love it. Neew members are through the roof and so is rental ( well climbing steadily). Choices will cease to exist in the Uk by Christmas they are truely fucked as a business.

SavageUK
September 13th, 2006, 04:01 PM
I had 2 choices within 5 miles of my store both closed within the last 6 weeks and I love it. Neew members are through the roof and so is rental ( well climbing steadily). Choices will cease to exist in the Uk by Christmas they are truely fucked as a business.
Those magazines we get sent with NYK deliveries keep having the Choices chief saying stuff like "don't worry, we're alright!", when clearly not!

the boy wonder uk
September 14th, 2006, 12:20 AM
didnt alex sparks say the same lol

OzMan
September 14th, 2006, 01:45 AM
Choices will cease to exist in the Uk by Christmas they are truely fucked as a business.

.......

No, I can't even do it anymore. Someone else say it for me, please;)

the boy wonder uk
September 14th, 2006, 01:50 AM
dont take the piss Ozman my antipodean friend!!!!!!

2for2pounds
September 14th, 2006, 09:26 AM
our managers old store is in the same town as one that has just closed

She was told that store alone lost 60,000 last year and another 40 Choices stores across the country are closing.

Needless to say the bb store in question is delighted

MissHailstorm
September 14th, 2006, 03:30 PM
didnt alex sparks say the same lol

Speaking of which, what's Sparksy doing these days? :p

Beer_Monkey
September 14th, 2006, 04:56 PM
Speaking of which, what's Sparksy doing these days? :p

probably sunning himself in Dubai.

He'll probably be in the shade though :D

anyways

BB once sold CDs - Selection was crap and never sold
BB Once sold Posters - Selection was crap and never sold

Mr. Stay Puft
September 17th, 2006, 10:32 PM
I got sent to Choices as a part of my application process when I first joined BB in 2004. The idea was that I write a report on them using BB as a basis for comparison.

The only things I felt they did better was a) As a consumer, I think playing music or having a movie running unobtrusively in the background is a lot better than BBTV, which I find annoying as hell even now I no longer have to listen to it it hundreds of times a day...and b) I thought the presentation of their staff was a lot better than BB's.

Everything else, oh dear.

the boy wonder uk
September 17th, 2006, 10:41 PM
probably sunning himself in Dubai.

He'll probably be in the shade though :D

anyways

BB once sold CDs - Selection was crap and never sold
BB Once sold Posters - Selection was crap and never sold

*5 years from now*

BB once sold dvds - selection was crap..........

BBUKgiga
September 20th, 2006, 09:04 PM
We have no stores near us I think Horsham and Haywards Heath have, the Horsham store is really scruffy, has a cool pick n mix facilty but no real sense of where the chart is or new releases, the retail spans the middle of the shop and they stock some fab titles which we dont but overall a very poor looking store.

It would work better if they just copied a BB store.

whorehoppin
September 21st, 2006, 12:16 AM
does anyone rent out DVDs in clear plastic cases? I've seen a few different companies that give them to you in the clear case so you can see that the DVD is in there and not in the coverbox, this also helps with returns because you don't have to open the case and if you return one of those empty, you're a fucking moron (or blind) - think about it, if all of our DVDs were in clear cases, you'd never have a problem with mismatches or renting out a DVD and having the customer come back and say the case was empty.

SavageUK
September 21st, 2006, 01:08 AM
does anyone rent out DVDs in clear plastic cases? I've seen a few different companies that give them to you in the clear case so you can see that the DVD is in there and not in the coverbox, this also helps with returns because you don't have to open the case and if you return one of those empty, you're a fucking moron (or blind) - think about it, if all of our DVDs were in clear cases, you'd never have a problem with mismatches or renting out a DVD and having the customer come back and say the case was empty.
Yep it's a good method I'm not sure why more places don't do this. It does limit the dvd cases you can use though - in my store we recycle (by which I mean re-use) all our DVD cases and not all of them are transparent (let alone translucent) so we'd have to order ones in especially.

I remember in "Friends" once Monica returned a VHS to a rental store and this was in an clear case so you could see there was a VHS inside, and presumably what Title it was, but I think this was as important on VHS because of the weight you could feel if there was a tape in the case without looking.