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Hey you put comments back on! Nice one!

"... then go to dixons.co.uk and buy it." And suffer.

If only Dixons were capable of delivering on that simple utilitarian promise. The price is keen, but the user's fretful journey through the dixons.co.uk site is a labyrinthine and uncertain quest (is this what's called "playful" in retail theatre?). The site is difficult to complete a purchase from. In place of the be-sandalled human there are stridently repeated up sells of high margin valued-added services, these being decorated in html that's here gaudily interruptive and there microscopically hard to opt out of.

And finally, those same, confidently upsold experiences - such as the simple installation of your new dishwasher - utterly fail to materialise once the delivery operative is standing in your kitchen, staring blankly at its correctly colour-coded and fully-functional pipework.

Not really the streamlined "just buy it" experience-lack we'd had in mind.

interesting also the hmv box isn't selling any music.

Ben - only because you told me to, I'm still not sure.

Rod - Yes, obviously Dixons remain crap, and it's sad that 'basic and utilitarian' is the only place they've got left to go, and they can't even do that right. It was just to illustrate a point.

Didn't they always want that? It was just the intermediaries who thought differently.

Tweeting about the comments is also handy for those of us reading via RSS who didn't spot that comments were back :-)

Is the shop-in-a-box, automated supermarket checkout, etc. thing really consumer led? The cynic in me thinks it's the latest step in squeezing out that troublesome and expensive staff component for big corp(tm)

We're willing accomplices, but the need for companies to present that consistent brand experience means it will tend to one extreme or the other - sales people removed from the process, or stage-managed theatrical "high service".

When is the Cluetrain going to hit retail? Then maybe we'll get back to the authentic voices and personalities I experienced in Turin. I often had to muddle through explaining things in my faltering Italian, but I'd get a wave or a "Ciao" as I was just passing the shops, and that was right in the centre of the city.

(I suspect I'm turning into a grumpy old man. Damn.)

+1 for the comments.

I wonder if this is a guy thing - blokes want *that thing there* and the less effort it takes to get it, the better. So the brand they are prepared to deal with, if any, is the maker of the item they want to have, not the seller. Now and again, they'll take a shine to an intermediary, for example they might get gushy about Atlantic Records, or Fopp, or Foyles. But it's a rarity when it happens.

That's what Dixons were banking on with their ad campaign, but speaking strictly of my own reaction to it, I think it's pretty disgraceful. It says be a leech. Let someone make a huge effort on your behalf and then stiff them when it comes time to pay. And we'll just sit here while you go to the trouble of finding out if this is the right equipment for you, then we'll take your money from you.

I feel better for that - those ads have been bugging me for weeks!

Maybe it is a bloke-type shopping experience, but however you want to define it as, it’s the no nonsense answer to retail therapy that compliments the buyer. So you know what item you want to buy, you want it quickly, no frills, no fuss and most importantly do not want to be sold a store card at the last moment when. And there you have it, HMV are facilitating a need at the activation point of purchasing. They are there to service in this streamlined format only after you have been entertained (through nice branding activity by the advertiser you are buying), done the research (through connection with expertise fields), spoke to your mates about it in the pub etc. It’s almost a compliment to the savvy shopper – “We know you’ve done your research and have wanted this game for a while, so we’re just going to ease the purchase transaction for you. Enjoy!”
Innovation in the retail market, who would have thought, if only Dixons could be like this...

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