What can we learn from the recent demise of HMV and other retailers?

Back in 2002 only 6.5% of film and music was purchased online.  By 2012 that figure had risen to 73.4% and is predicted to exceed 90% by 2015.

There is no denying that HMV was hammered by the rise of the internet and music downloads. Last year digital downloads hit £1 billion as CD and DVD sales plummeted.  It also lost ground to grocery retailers like Tesco’s who not only stocked CD’s and DVD’s but also set up their own music download service.

HMV failed to keep pace with the shifts to digital entertainment content and online retailing. While other retailers acted quickly to changing consumer trends, HMV continued to focus its core business around ‘physical bricks ‘n mortar’ retail through a national network of 250 stores.


HMV has not been the only victim of the move to digital downloading and online retailing. Woolworths, Virgin Mega Stores and Zavvi have all fallen foul of this shift in business model. You can also add Comet and Jessops to the list of retailers who have failed to blend their in-store offer with an online presence.

The issue though is more fundamental than having an online presence – it’s about having a compelling multi-channel presence. Sure, HMV should have invested in digital content much earlier, but it also should have been proactive, rather than being laggard, in its migration to online retail.

What can insurance software providers and brokers learn from this?

Just like retailers, insurance brokers need to think less about ‘online’, and think more about ‘multi-channel’. For traditional high street brokers, opening an online channel can be costly and take a lot of time. To compete with the aggregators and direct insurers though, brokers need an online offer which adds value to their high street, face-to-face service.

One of the most important things brokers can take from the HMV story is the need to be proactive and act now.  In the case of HMV, Jessops and Comet, their troubles were largely the result of not moving with the times and competition. The current recession merely exacerbated these failings. They have all struggled in the face of the digital revolution and the way it changed their markets in such a fundamental way.

Insurance brokers need an online offer to attract online consumers

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but clearly brokers need some form of online offer to meet the demands of online consumers. This should not be seen as a replacement for existing channels, but as an extension to them. We’ve covered this before in our previous blog ‘Why insurance brokers must operate through more channels to prosper’.

The good news is that here at Quotall we have recognised the need to provide multichannel insurance software which marries a contemporary online presence with a first class insurance system.  If you want to find out more, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.