Why Have HMV Removed Wii U From Shelves, But Not Sale?

Following reductions over the last couple of weeks elsewhere, HMV have today discounted their Sony hardware, bringing their PS3 and Vita bundle prices in line with what other retailers are offering.

The price cuts have led me down a rather curious path with regards to HMV and their policies though. Let me explain…

It’s no secret that short of the spattering of neon pink Beats headphones, next to all ‘tech’ has disappeared from HMV shelves in recent months. This move, back to the retailer’s core audience of music and video was, as I’m sure you’re mostly aware, brought about by the company’s financial troubles, which led to numerous store closures earlier in the year.

So then, last night, when a local HMV tweeted some rather tempting deals for Sony’s handheld, I enquired as to the reasoning behind the price cut, asking if it was a mark-down, or indeed another case of technology being removed from the stores.

The reply I then received, however, was mind-boggling.

You see, I frequent the branch in question, and had noticed that within the last few weeks all traces of Nintendo’s Wii U had disappeared – instead being replaced by the much higher mark-up of current movie release merchandise, and One Direction mugs (in both a literal, and figurative sense). I’d accepted the consoles fate, assuming HMV’s Wii U presence had gone the same way as other retailers.

Apparently not so. HMV are still selling Wii U consoles, but only if you ask for one. The troubled retailer are hedging their bets that consumers looking for this particular item, are going to wade through the stacks of unofficial X-Factor biographies, and queue up empty-handed this Christmas, rather than walking three minutes down the street to GAME or even Argos, both of which clearly have the product for sale.

Let’s be clear – this isn’t Cliff’s back catalogue, or a black and white western on VHS. Nor is it a Furby, bottle of bleach, or Henry the Hoover. It’s a product for which you carry stock, and should be openly promoting. There’s an entire aisle dedicated to PS3 and 360 titles, and even a handful of 3DS bits and bobs – but not a sniffle with regards to Wii U hardware. Nothing, not even a shelf edge label alerting me, the paying customer, that you stock Wii U. My brain hurts.

HMV appear to have mistaken Club Nintendo for Fight Club. What’s the rule again?

While this bizarre little jaunt into sales and marketing policies perhaps gives us an idea as to why the Wii U isn’t selling particularly well, it almost certainly gives us a clear insight as to why HMV had to ditch their tech makeover before it was really off the ground.

Dear confused retailers,

As gamers, many of us love a digital quest – but generally we would prefer our purchases to be more like opening a loot-chest, and less like embarking on an encrypted secret intel based mini-game.

Thanks.

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Why Have HMV Removed Wii U From Shelves, But Not Sale?

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