HMV offers rewards and downloads

HMV Canada launches a loyalty card and new download site, with plans to broaden its retail offerings.

HMV Canada has unveiled a loyalty scheme it hopes will help revive the flagging music retail game, by dangling autographed collectibles and tickets to sold-out concerts.
“[The new program] is at the centre of our broadening entertainment proposition,” says Humphrey Kadaner, president of HMV Canada. The retailer just launched download site Hmvdigital.ca and this summer it’ll be stepping up its retail offerings to include apparel and accessories, more tech items and books, and a wide array of headphones with price points up to $350. It’s a one-stop-entertainment-shop model reminiscent of Virgin Megastore.
Launched mid-June, the new Purehmv rewards card sells for a $3 annual fee. Points earn discounts or “exclusive money-can’t-buy” rewards: 40,000 gets an autographed Justin Bieber plaque-mount, while 20,000 nabs a film cell from The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Kadaner says there’s been a void since HMV’s “buy 10 get one free” card was discontinued in 1999. “[Staff] still have people walking in presenting those cards or asking about them,” he says.
The Canadian program is modelled after Purehmv U.K., which launched in May 2009, but Kadaner says they’ve made a few modifications. The U.K. launched modestly, with employees simply promoting the program at the cash. Here there’s also a strong reliance on staff, with the addition of external media in newspapers and cinemas; POP-window posters, counter inserts and postcards; plus a push via Facebook, Twitter and newsletters.
HMV’s strongest demo is 13- to 24-year-olds, and while Kadaner says they’re often the toughest to reach with loyalty programs, he’s confident this will be a hit. With signed Bieber merch up for grabs, he could have a point.