I recently awoke from a lengthy dream in which I was preparing for an exam on Tuesday on, among other novels, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In light of the fact that I graduated from university in 1996, this is slightly peculiar. In the dream, as a study strategy, I went to a video store to rent the movie.
When I awoke, I had a new model of video stores in my head. Why are video stores massive spaces with rows and rows of empty cases? It’s inefficient for the business because they rent all that space, and inefficient for the consumer because the search procress isn’t optimized.
In truth, all you need is a counter and a few couches. You provide consumers with books–big photo albums–which have copies of the DVD case covers in them. Maybe their organized into new releases, or by genre, or nationality, or whatever. The consumer comes in, sits down, grabs a book, pages through it, and chooses the movie they want.
The next step would be to replace the books with tablet PCs. Because, traditionally, the positioning and amount of a video on the shelf give you a lot of information. Is the video good? Popular? Available? The tablet PCs could provide this information through a simple interface. It could also, then, enable you to do complex queries on the store’s stock. For example, “show me all the Brad Pitt movies that received at least 7.5/10 at IMDB.com and aren’t rated R”.
I doubt the video stores would do this, but it should then be a pretty simple task to expose their stock database to the Internet. Like the library, you could assess whether a movie is in without leaving your bed. Which, incidentally, is where I’m typing this entry. The video stores would be reticent to provide this data because it would reduce the opportunity to cross-sell you on crappy DVDs or candy.
Maybe this model already exists? I could see it in a city like New York, where real estate is extremely expensive.