Don’t Brag About Your Software When Your Website Looks Like This

ET Video home page

A couple of days ago I drove to my local Casey’s with my little barcode tag in hand looking to rent a movie. I was shocked, shocked I say, to walk in the store and not find the video rack. So shocked I actually asked the people who work there what they did with the videos. (And you say men won’t ask for directions!) The girl behind the counter said they got rid of them. Now I was even more shocked. So shocked I drove up the street to BP to buy my gas and ice.

Yeah, I know. I subscribe to GameFly to get movies by mail because CafeDVD was just too *^(*&^()ing slow. They started getting well beyond a two week turn around for a movie. I’ve got a big DVD collection, but have seen them all many times. I need fresh movies more frequently than that. So, I started going to Casey’s every so often to rent movies. They had an ET Video display which got three new movies per month. Sadly, lots of them were kids movies, but they did get a few movies with lots of stuff blowing up.

I don’t know how long I’ve had an ET Video barcode, but, I definitely had it when I had CafeDVD. It was kind of a nice balance because CafeDVD rarely got anything new or popular. Their primary niche, at least for a straight person, was older, artsy movies and television series you didn’t get to watch, especially BBS stuff. Towards the end it seemed they were only get new “alternate lifestyle” movies.

Netflix offended me so horribly when BlockBuster still existed that I never will return to them, even if they turn out to be the very last DVD by mail service in the universe. Gamefly started up their DVD by mail service a while ago. Kind of piggy backing on their video game by mail service. When you already have to have all of the infrastructure to store and ship rented video games by mail, handling movies is just another database and a few Website changes. Not a huge additional cost, especially when they continually mark your selections with qualifiers like “keep it for $9.99.” Just won’t have a deep inventory of old movies years from now. Very short sighted, unless they aren’t planning on being in business years from now. Look at how much stuff from the 1980s has become popular again.

At any rate, I drive home and visit the ET Video Website. As far as I can tell this is a franchise type operation. Hopefully you can see the featured image well enough to look at the menu at the top. What entry does every franchise or chain operation have in their top menu?

“find a location near you”  “set your store location”

Something along those lines, right? If you are a franchise or otherwise multi-site business, it is the duty of your Website to drive customers to your retail locations if the Website can’t make the sale. I mean, this is Retail 101 since the mid-1990s. Damned if I could find it. So, I kept poking around.

ET Video retailer page

I really hope you can read that sentence under the Computer System heading.

Don’t go bragging about your state of the art software system when your Website can’t be bothered to have a geoloc database of all your retail locations. I mean in this day and age! You don’t even have to develop much yourself, just use the Google API for the heavy lifting. Maybe you use one of the many services, like this one. Maybe you experiment with this OpenSource thing. I mean Casey’s puts 2 spots on their home page because they want to be certain a customer can find a retail location.

Casey's Home Page

You will notice the “LOCATIONS” entry at the top and a big section to the lower left “Find a Casey’s.”

Other than the fact I was getting movies from my local Casey’s for quite a while and the ET Video page says they are from some place in Iowa, I knew nothing about them . . . until I tried to find another ET Video location.

If you’re having trouble keeping retail locations, here’s some free consulting for you. The Website has to drive customers to the retail locations. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to be pleasing to the eye. It does have to have “Find an ET Video location.” If your store operation software is really so phenom, you should also know what movies are currently stocked there and which ones are still available to rent. This would save customers from driving to a location where the movie they want is gone.

Having developed software for 3 decades now, poorly developed systems really piss me off.