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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant? 547 writes "Here on Slashdot, the concept that older models of business need to be updated to keep with the times is often mentioned. A friend of mine owns a DVD rental store, and he often listens to potential customers walk out, saying that they'd rather download the movie, and not because his prices are unreasonable. With the local telco on a project to boost internet speeds, my friend feels as though the end is near for his livelihood. So, Slashdotters, I put it to you: What can a DVD store owner do to make his store more relevant? What services would you pay for at a DVD store?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

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  • Game Sales/Rentals? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:35PM (#42019543)
    All the video rental shops are closed, taking the video game rentals with them. I miss being able to rent a game instead of outright buying it. May not be a big enough market though.

    Buying and reselling used games that don't cost as much as their brand new counterparts is something that people are sorely in need of. Maybe credits for game rentals with a trade-in instead of cash?
    Even if you don't charge much less, charging $20-25 for a used game opposed to the $40-50 EB and Gamestop charge might drive some business away from them and towards your friend.
  • by antiapathy ( 2516456 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:39PM (#42019591)
    Come up with creative-funny gift ideas (Christopher Walkin Box set, Chuck Norris Box set),Sell retro computer games(similar shelving), Lend the book that goes with the movie, gather other good info with the movie, Have amazing memorabilia that will attract people into the store (celebrity death masks aren't always expensive), Like an art space, do other things to attract people there: small indie-video screenings, movie discussions, director talks. Put on a local TV show discussing movies coming out on DVD.
  • Start a hackerspace? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:51PM (#42019697) Homepage Journal

    If your friend is running a successful business, then he's got a particularly useful and uncommon skill.

    Some 80% of all first businesses fail, but only 20% of second businesses fail. That's because after the first business, you learn from your mistakes. Your friend has the skills and experience needed to start a new business - and that's what he should do.

    So, what's trending on the map right now? What brick-and-mortar establishments are on the rise?

    How about setting up a hackerspace []? These seem to be popping up everywhere, and unlike McDonalds, there's still room for more.

    While running the 'space, keep an eye out for things that might be products []. With a hackerspace available it's easy to "test the waters" for a new tech product: you have access to people with skills for design, construction, [website] sales, and so on.

    What they don't have is someone who can steer the ship, someone who has experience in things like incorporating, taxes, management, planning, accounting, and so on.

    Consider starting a hackerspace. I hear that they can be successful and lots of fun.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:55PM (#42019741)

    I actually might be qualified to answer this since my business partner and I are in this very scenario and we have already made adjustments that have had a real positive impact.

    My partner's dvd rental store has been in business and at the same location for over 16 years. During that time, Blockbuster gave it a run for TEN years directly across the street, but closed down 2 years ago. He began supplementing the business by becoming a wireless dealer and bill payment station. Here in Houston, multipurpose shops are EVERYWHERE and are VITAL in small, mostly Hispanic communities, so in order to compete, your store must offer all or at least some of the following: Phone service, phone cards (for international calling), bill payment such as local utilities and cable, Western Union, MoneyGram, money orders, copies, fax service, etc...

    We recently began offering computer repairs and upgrades in addition to the cell phone repairs and he has quite a bit of retail space dedicated to not only popcorn, candy and soda, but even chips, sweets, fortune cookies, designer fragrances, and tons of accessories.

    This may seem crazy to a lot of readers here, and it's certainly a lot to juggle for a store owner, but the truth is, he has been a staple in the community for so long that our customers keep finding reasons to come in. Sure, they still rent dvds, but they really come for the multitude oi other helpful services we offer.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @01:14PM (#42019889) Homepage

    Yep. Create a niche.

    For example, Netflix has done a poor job with their Anime catalog. If you have a local demand for that genre there will be a couple stores who sell Anime DVDs alongside other Anime products. But most folks are happy to rent a disc for $2 rather than buy it for $20.

    Create a web site linking your inventory. Allow customers to reserve and pay for disc rentals on the web site and then pick them up on the way home instead of having to hang around the store and either stand in the checkout line or find all copies of the desired movie out of stock.

    The web inventory also allows you to warehouse less popular titles so that they're available but don't consume retail space. Long tail stuff.

    Also start a policy: any disc you don't have in stock, you'll buy and rent out upon customer request. Only deal is the customer has to prepay the minimum rental before you'll order it. Place like Netflix can't handle that. They can stock a disc or not, but they can't have just one ad-hoc copy.

    There's also a decent niche for buying and selling used DVDs instead of renting them. Sell that new movie for $20 and it's a guaranteed buyback at $18 if they return it in acceptable condition by the end of the week. After that you'll buy it at market value. This works decently well for video games too.

  • by V-similitude ( 2186590 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @01:22PM (#42019957)
    Love the coffee shop/dvd combo idea. You can even provide dvd-player units in the shop that people can use to rent a movie, watch it while they drink/eat their coffee/soda/snacks. You can make it like a mini/personalized movie theater (but hopefully getting around the whole fee structure by technically just renting the disks). Make room for the tables/booths by giving up the dvd shelf space and switching all disks to a digital selection system (a la redbox). It's still tough, but I think something like this has a good chance. Without some sort of hybridization, I don't think a dvd rental shop can succeed much longer on its own. There's just not enough need for dvd's anymore.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:43PM (#42020699)

    What changed was the union members at Hostess struck 18,000 people out of a job...

  • Re:Hey Guys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the simurgh ( 1327825 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:50PM (#42020765)
    take out a rack or two of the oldest movies for a large table with a power station for people to plug in laptops. offer wifi for a nominal fee. focus more on new releases, gaming systems and game rentals. you could sell graphic novels or magazines god knows the teens around her clear out that card gaming rack pretty quick at the local rental place. I've always imagined a deal with the local pizza place could be beneficial, have a movie and your pizza order delivered to your house with one call.
  • Re:Hey Guys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @05:24PM (#42021885) Homepage

    Additional thoughts:

    1. Game rental is still in its infancy online, and games are expensive. Get known for renting those.
    2. Deliver! Someone might rather wait the 3 days for Netflix delivery of things that can't be streamed, but if you can get it there in 30 minutes or less you're in great competitive shape.
    3. If you can solve the licenses, turn a section of the shop into an on-demand movie theater.

  • Re:Hey Guys (Score:3, Interesting)

    by musikit ( 716987 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @05:56PM (#42022087)

    because movie tickets are incredibly high. 1500 yen approx $20(american) for 1 ticket. plus movie theatres arent are close to you as they are in america. so you often have to pay 500 yen or approx $7 for a train ticket to get there. so yours talking $27 dollars per person to see a movie. wait a while then goto geo (very close and affordable) and rent it for 350 yen for a new release or wait even longer and eventually get it for 100 yen for a weeks rental. rip it with handbrake and makemkv. why would i spend $4 on an itunes rental (or similiar)

    sneaker net still faster then the fastest internet, since forever.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith