Blockbuster Gives Store Customers Full Inventory Access

Published on December 17, 2009 | Comments: 0
Through a new service called Blockbuster Direct Access, media entertainment retailer Blockbuster, Inc. is giving in-store customers full access to its entire online inventory of more than 95,000 film and TV titles. The average Blockbuster store carries between 3,000 and 5,000 DVD and Blu-ray titles. With Blockbuster Direct Access, staff at participating Blockbuster stores can search available inventory at nearby distribution centers and arrange for a title that is out of stock or not carried in the store to be mailed directly to the customer, usually within three postal days. All rentals are $3.99 for seven days and there are no shipping charges. E-mail order confirmations, shipment notifications and overdue rental reminders are also sent to customers using the service. To return a Direct Access rental, customers can mail it back in a prepaid envelope, return it to a local store, or exchange it at a local store for a discounted $1.99 movie rental or $4.99 game rental.Customers do not have to subscribe to the retailer’s Blockbuster Online internet rental service to use Blockbuster Direct Access. In addition to offering customers access to online inventory, Blockbuster is also now enabling customers to check the inventory of local stores online to see if a desired title is in-stock before making a trip to rent or purchase it.

Blockbuster Goes Multichannel

As it continues to experience financial difficulties, which in Q3 2009 were driven by lagging same-store sales, Blockbuster has been actively exploring a variety of multichannel programs. These include a pilot of new digital self-service kiosks. The kiosks, provided by NCR Corporation and MOD Systems, Inc., allow customers to download digital content onto memory cards for later viewing on TV or other electronic devices. In addition, earlier this year Blockbuster piloted an online video game rental program in Cleveland, OH, made movies available for download on Samsung and Tivo digital recording and playback devices, and installed more traditional Blockbuster Express self-service kiosks both at Blockbuster stores and other retailers’ locations.

Multichannel Competition Heats Up

Mutlichannel competition in the retail movie business continues to grow, as retailers including Wal-Mart and Circle K roll out traditional DVD rental kiosks. In addition, free content streaming sites such as Hulu pose a potential threat to direct digital content streaming, which online retailers including Netflix and Amazon have been turning into a major competitor for Blockbuster. Reports also indicate Best Buy will join the direct movie download marketplace.

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