Ajoy Krishnamurti, (http://in.linkedin.com/in/ajoyk/) has about 25 years of experience in retail and e-commerce with companies like Shoppers' Stop, Rediff.com, Reliance Retail and Dollar Store. He is now working on helping retail formats re-invent themselves across channels to be more meaningful to customers - and more profitable in the process. He is also consulting in the area of Big Data Analytics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of my dreams was to have a wall full of books. Five years back, I finally got my wall.
And then Kindle and the iPad happened. The convenience of having over a 1000 books on my iPad and being able to read without switching on the bedroom light at night trumped everything else. Even as I buy more books online, I have given away almost 500 of my books.
A person who could not go past a book shop without buying one - I now, “showroom”. I go to a bookstore and then log on to a site with my iPad or phone - and buy the ebook online.
Similarly, I ripped the music I had, and put it on a hard disk. I also exchanged collections with my brother, and I now have thousands of tracks - most of which I have never heard before. The tracks we listen to most are those that are current (read radio) or those that were suggested by friends. The thousands of tracks - and books that I now have, have no meaning.
When I can have 10,000 tracks or 2000 books on a device, does the conventional buy and own content model make any sense? And what is the role of the physical stores?
There are three models really :
1. Buy and own content – that is the way we do it now, though books might give way to e-books.
2. Have access to a large library – and pay for what you read. Much was made of micropayments and the ability to handle such transactions. With credit cards on file, Apple and Amazon can easily make this happen. But the problem seems to be more at the consumer end – where paying every time you listen to a song or read a book seems unreasonable to us.
3. An all you can eat subscription model – a fixed fee every month that allows a reader to read any – or as many books or magazines as they want. And as long as they keep paying the fee, the books or music or magazines appear in their library and probably on their device. The only problem with this model is the fact that the user is tied in to the retailer. And the content disappears when you stop paying the subscription.
We will see hybrids – more than one way to consume content, but increasingly, I think we will see heavy users move to the “all you can eat” model.
Have you made the transition to music on your ipod and computer or perhaps, streaming? How many tracks do you have? And how many of those have you never heard even once? Which model would you pick? What’s your take? Keep mailing in.
(What’s all this doing to the physical retail store – more on that in a later piece.)