Douglas on… Rebranding
"We basically took a brand that's been on the High Street for 30 years – one of the strongest brands in the UK and the world – and changed it overnight. Of course we had our concerns that putting up Zavvi signs may have put people off. But we were also hoping some people would not even notice – and that some customers would be inquisitive.
"Our Christmas results beat our expectations by some way. When we did the MBO last September, it's beat the forecasts. We've reforecast since our original predications and we even managed to beat these numbers."
Douglas on… Games vs. DVD
"To be honest, we probably still see DVD as the dominant format. That's mainly because of the mix we have now and the rise of the new formats, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. My growth predications and plans for 2008 is that the fastest-growing category will be games – whether it will take DVD as a mix is probably a no. If it does, then I'll smash my targets."
Douglas on… Online
"We grew 70 per cent on what was nearly 200 per cent last year – we're delighted with that. Games has shown phenomenal growth, we're talking in the 200's. Games became a very important mix of what we do on the website. The rebranding has been interesting. We've had more people month-on-month log on to Zavvi.co.uk than they did Virgin Megastores through December. That's given us a lot of encouragement.
"We're working a lot harder online than we have in the past. We have a dedicated e-commerce director in Steve Kincaid – where he can focus and online and digital offerings.
When it comes to price, we obviously can't go in and just loss lead on every single line. But we realise online is a very competitive market, and we have to be competitive, otherwise people won't use the site.
Our plan includes being in line with other retailers without leading on price – but it's more about getting support from suppliers and differentiating us from our competitors.
The offering of limited editions, exclusive products and actually having stock on items that are in short supply is better than basically going down the route of crazy discounting.”
Douglas on… Digital Downloads
"I read the same reports of digital downloads as MCV, and there's hugely confused opinions. I'm not sure. I think people will buy physical products and using downloads for extras for the foreseeable future.
"We're mitigating that risk by reviewing our whole digital downloading offering. That's what e-Commerce director Steve Kincaid's key role is for 2008. This year, we have no doubt physical product will be the most dominant format.
"We don't have a digital offering at the moment, because when we did the MBO, Virgin Digital didn't come with the business. Virgin wanted to keep that. With everything going on pre-Christmas, we decided to put digital on the agenda for when we could really dedicate some time to it, which is this year."
Douglas on… Christmas
"There was a particularly strong release schedule across games and DVD. We've implemented exceptional offers across all products. We looked at other products. The offering was better for a family than it was a year ago.
"We did have some Wii and DS. What we were allocated we sold, so we were delighted. We'd have obviously liked more. We backed DS, Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 – the four key formats. We worked really hard on offers, be it bundles or catalogue titles, and expanded our peripherals."
Douglas on… Games @ Zavvi
"We've been delighted by suppliers. I'm really happy with the relationship we have with key suppliers. I hope that continues and I'm sure it will.
"This year, there's real belief in the Zavvi brand from our staff. They're committed to making this a success. We ran various competitions throughout our stores: the more you did on X, the more Wiis you got as an allocation. That fuelled an awful lot of healthy competition throughout the stores. We're also committed to having specialist games staff in the department. I was absolutely delighted to see we won the most recent Mystery Shopper in MCV with 9/10.
"At our game conference in October, you could tell there was real belief in the Zavvi brand from our staff – and they're committed to making Zavvi a success. We communicated that games was a huge opportunity.
"There's no point having an all-singing, all-dancing department if you don't have the staff and the knowledge to man it. That's been our commitment over the last 18 months. We really saw that come to fruition over the last quarter. Our planning is again around ensuring the games team in each store is very much at the forefront of the store manager's mind.
"For the first time ever, our mix was more on games than it was music over Christmas and we continue to see it grow steadily. We're already working on the pre-release mechanic for GTA IV, which include limited edition pre-release gift card."