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Sainsburys Entertainment to scrap selling physical products online

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Sainsbury’s Entertainment have announced that they are to stop selling physical music product online.

In a statement the supermarket chain said:

Due to the rise in demand for downloading and streaming films and music, from March 2014 Sainsbury’s Entertainment will become a completely entertainment on demand site. From 28 February 2014 we will no longer accept online orders for physical products.”

For music box sets and deluxe reissues, the UK retail giant had a clear online strategy in place to squeeze their margins, allowing them to compete with Amazon on price. This was evident quite recently when their website offered each of Edsel’s Bananarama 2CD+DVD sets for a highly competitive £9.99 –  initially £3 cheaper than Amazon in the UK. Recent sets from The Beach Boys, The Band and The Who were also very competitive.

Anecdotal evidence from comments left on this blog suggests that the supermarket chain were succeeding in attracting customers away from Amazon, but with margins so low, high volume was always going to be essential, and perhaps the figures were simply not stacking up.

The news will certainly come as a blow to UK music fans (Sainsbury’s didn’t ship overseas) as Amazon’s already firm grip on the music market tightens even further.

What are your thoughts on this development? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

41 responses to Sainsburys Entertainment to scrap selling physical products online

  1. Philip says:

    Terrible news, they were often better than Amazon on price and delivery.

    Philip

    • Colin says:

      Totally agree with Philip. Disastrous news for those of us who were in the know and used them regularly. Competition destroyed. Game set and match, Grabazon…

  2. Stefan says:

    Bad News for anyone who still prefers physical records to downloads. Devalues music another bit and turns it more and more into a throwaway item.

  3. Marcel says:

    Meanwhile, those Bananarama sets are £8.99 now. Otherwise, this is nothing but bad news. I remember back in the Eighties there was this huge debate on cd’s vs. vinyl, that the sound quality of vinyl was so much better than the “compressed” sound of cd’s. Now with those mp3 downloads at £1 (or more) a piece, people don’t seem to realise that all they get is a fraction of the music quality they did when an album (a black 33rpm disc, remember?) was less than a tenner.

  4. RPM says:

    I was gutted when I received the email from them earlier this week. The Sainsburys website was a godsend after HMV.com disappeared. Amazon’s prices shot up, and the service and range at Sainsburys was always excellent.

    Even though I have embraced the digital music era, I still prefer my music on CD. I can only hope that HMV’s rumoured forthcoming online store is as good as it was before, otherwise Amazon will seize the opportunity to capitalise even more on its dominance.

  5. That old chestnut about “rise in demand for downloading and streaming” doesn’t wash now. That is lazy. Other online retailers, albeit selling specialist product, like burningshed are doing very nicely. It just needs a bit of imagination and intelligence. There is a big market for physical product, especially as consumers are becoming more sophisticated and buying more hi res stuff on DVD-A, blu-ray right through to vinyl. Web sites like Superdeluxeedition show that to be the case.

    • Mike F says:

      I don’t think that DVD-A, and blu-ray contribute much at present to the physical product market. They are very niche formats, and a decent system is needed to hear a decent difference. So many people won’t care, and there’s got to be some kind of format fatigue what with companies re-re-re-re-releasing stuff on whatever format they can!

  6. Richie says:

    I only found out about S.E. about 5 months ago, since then I must have bought or ordered close on 2 dozen box sets from that place, all cheaper than Amazon. I`m sure I would have gone on to spend much more. I also prefer physical product, these days I buy as much vinyl as CDs so I do shop elsewhere. That is what I would recommend others to do, Amazon ain`t the only place, there`s Spin in Newcastle and JPC in Germany and Amazon Marketplace.

  7. jamesgiraffe says:

    Only the other day I was telling people how much cheaper they are. Also, once I ordered a CD that was out of stock from them. While other retailers would probably try for a while and then cancel the order after a month or so, Sainsburys persevered and I got it in the end. I was very impressed. I really hope HMV starts selling online. Their stock seems, to me, to be a lot cheaper than it used to be.

  8. Ricky says:

    I don’t understand music downloading, for the same price you can buy the physical CD, either new or second hand and copy it in lossless format onto your PC. Then you have the best of both, rather than just a normally lossy version bought online.

  9. Francis says:

    I will not be buying music in a tacky cheap low quality sounding download format from any online store, so Sainsburys has lost me as a customer! – Since the age of about 10 I have loved music, my first 7inch single was “Sorrow” by David Bowie which I managed to purchase from a bargain bin, and now at the age 0f 49 I will continue to buy and listen to it on CDs and vinyl, both formats being so much more superior than mp3 files, especially with so many deluxe editions now being released on Discs and Records. As far as Sainsburys goes, to me they will now only be any good for purchasing food and household products and I do not even buy these from them. I only hope HMV will be as good as they were, once they are back on the internet as an online store. A big “BOO” to Sainsburys!

  10. Francis says:

    Waste good money on Download File Formats – NO THANKS! I appreciate music and do not treat it like something to be heard through tiny speakers and deleted once it becomes a few years old! People who listen to music as only MP3s are not proper music lovers or collectors! Sainsburys and other stores like them are killing music by just going along with the sad downloaders of society and not considering the real music lovers who prefer to listen to it as it should be on CD and Vinyl (and even cassette tape)!

  11. Robert says:

    I’ll never understand the fascination some have with downloads.
    I guess they never think their hard drive may crap out, the place where they bought the download may go under, etc.
    With buying a physical copy, you’ll have a perfect backup anytime you want it. Not too mention there’s a good chance you’ll have a booklet, info about the disc, etc.
    I order from Amazon quite often but mostly from the third party sellers. Some of the best music ever released is available for under $5 .

    • Simon says:

      Do people have a fascination with downloads/downloading? Nobody I know is remotely enthusiastic about it in the way physical collectors are. Someone summed it up above saying music is becoming throwaway, but all of us here thankfully know the value of music. There’s nothing tangible about a download, it’s just there and taken for granted whereas with a physical product there is the returning to it time and again to look at the artwork, learn something from the sleeve or booklet.

      That’s where fascination and enthusiasm come from.

  12. Martin says:

    Arse… I’ve been using Sainsbury’s Entertainment for the last couple of years to convert Nectar points into physical music- “free” CDs- when I realised that they offered better value for money than Amazon.

    Time to look around again for the (next) best deal, I guess…

  13. Richard says:

    Gutted about this, was a great way to use all my nectar points and get a lot of cds at really great prices, i have already emailed them stating my massive disappointment and my intention not to shop at Sainsburys anymore if this happens.
    In time they could easily have competed with Amazon.
    I will never pay for an mp3!!

  14. Dean says:

    Let’s face it – they won’t be the last to do this.

    My question is, how are they going to differentiate themselves from other downloading web sites? In the mean time, I’ll buy from elsewhere.

  15. Martin says:

    Quick research this morning appears to reveal that once Sainsbury’s Entertainment stops selling CDs, the only place you will be able to use Nectar points to “buy” CDs is via Ebay with Ebay vouchers, but this system has a minimum spend of £10 per transaction. The vast majority of CDs that I’ve “bought” with Nectar points on Sainsbury’s Entertainment, including many Deluxe Editions, have been less than £10. I don’t know whether or buying two CDs totalling more than £10 (from one seller) counts as one transaction- it does say “transaction” rather than “item” but I guess I’ll have to test it and find out!

  16. PaulB says:

    Agree with those unhappy with Sainsburys’ decision but that’s “the market” for you. As for HMV , I doubt if they will be as good/cheap as before [IF they get a website off the ground] as the loophole of using Jersey as a base for the VAT free sales,I think has been closed off.

  17. My Jelly says:

    I have been buying from Sainsburys for over 2 years numerous box sets were purchased saving pounds on the Amazon prices. No competition for Amazon now such a shame. A prime example being the ‘Bob Dylan Complete’ box set, price at Sainsburys £124.99p rising almost daily at Amazon now listed sat £143.50p.

  18. Neill Havers says:

    Like the majority of other people here, I am incredibly disappointed that Sainsbury’s will stop selling physical CDs. I only started using them about 6 months ago but their delivery and pricing is a lot better than Amazon. With HMV online currently out of the equation and unknown when they will make a return, I am unsure who I will use to buy my music and may increase my purchasing from international stores like HDWOW.

  19. Keith says:

    Yes I saw the news the other day and was very disappointed, I buy a lot of my music from Sainsburys, box sets, albums, dvds they nearly always beat Amazon on price sometimes by quite a considerable margin. What true music fan wants downloads ?

  20. andy1960 says:

    Bugger!! Been buying from Sainsbury’s Entertainment for a few months now. Great value and variety. Will have to go back to Amazon for new and older titles. Not happy ’cause thier prices have definitely risen this year. I don’t download or shop at Sainsbury’s, so they have totally lost my custom. Bad decision.

  21. baward says:

    I’d rather shop locally in any case – supports local business rather than a massive multinational (especially Grabazon). It’s a right PITA for me as we live 12 miles from the nearest actual shop and its difficult for me to get about physically (and of course prices might be higher) but if you have one near you, get in there and have a browse today while you still can!

  22. Andy A says:

    Gutted – only just started using them.

  23. Eric says:

    This isn’t about reflecting the market, or responding to buying trends, this is shaping the market and dictating what the public can buy.

    Same as with the killing off of the entire CD-single market a couple of years ago, and the premature killing off of vinyl in the late 80s.

    Amazon haven’t even been cheap for a while now, and if HMV can’t reintroduce the Pure scheme without making a mess of it (as they’re currently doing), then there’s little hope of them getting their online retail division right either. But maybe they will. The industry needs competition, phoney or otherwise.

  24. Mike says:

    Gutted. Amazon hiked prices up anyway after hmv demise and they never matched Sainsburys, but that is the market entirely to them now. How is that a competitive market?

  25. Dave Van Musicmaster says:

    another short sighted decision made by accountants.

    I hope they reconsider, as I will NEVER pay for a download – as these are inferior quality with a restricted frequency range – I can tell the difference, and I’m sure many others can too.

    Just an appallingly stupid decision … I expect they’ll stop selling CDs instore too – if those go, then I will boycott the shops, and go to Tesco for everything … I hope others will follow my example …

    They have no idea what they are doing, and if people can’t buy CDs online, then they’ll go elsewhere, and they’ll lose out on other sales too, as people are not going to jump around different websites for their purchases … but it’s their funeral …

  26. Nicholas Bellamy says:

    Very clever. Your key target demographic is those who don’t know you exist, but low margins prevent you spending on advertising to them, the fact that you compete with the tax dodgers. So just announce that you’re closing, such that your existing customer base goes nuts on Twitter and Facebook, which then rolls out across music forums, online zines. …. Hey presto, free advertising!… Once it’s time to “shut up shop”, just reverse the decision and send out a thank you to all your “loyal fans”. PS – had no idea how cheap they were and just ordered a boxset, mission accomplished.

  27. Nicholas Bellamy says:

    Also, their website needs a little more thought. “Stereo VINYL Beatles boxset” with a little button which says “BUY this CD” and “Format CD” is just asking people to click “Amazon” for a clearer description.

  28. Eric says:

    As I have said before it is hard to compete against a company that regularly sells below cost (Amazon) but they’ve played the classic stoney-face game and now that virtually every competitor worth bothering about has given up, prices will rise.
    They’re also the most overstocked company on the planet – I regularly encounter really old deleted titles on there, that they have a few copies in stock!
    My other theory . .these cheap associate companies like Dodax . . . Amazon companies shifting some of their overstocks.

  29. Mike Bushell says:

    If you’re concerned about amazon, you’re going to love this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25034598

  30. Philip says:

    Emailed them to colplain, and this was their response :

    “Dear Mr Birtwistle

    Thank you for your email about our decision to move Sainsbury’s Entertainment to an on demand service.

    We take all customer feedback seriously and I will ensure that this is passed to our Sainsbury’s Entertainment management team who are always keen to hear our customers’ views.

    I understand that you are disappointed with our announcement. We have made this decision due to the fast changing marketplace and the way our customers are enjoying media. Many customers have told us that they want access to the latest and very best in music / film on the go at the touch of a button.

    We are committed to providing our customers with the best possible online and instore experience. As part of this aim, we are investing in this new on demand service so that we can offer our customers more choice, faster downloads and streaming.

    We will continue to remain competitive with the prices of our products both instore and online so that our customers get the best value for money that they have come to expect from us.

    The titles available on the website will be streamed or available up to full HD 1080p resolution which means that customers can enjoy the same high quality standard that they would see on a Blu-Ray or DVD.

    We want to best serve our customers by offering a truly digital seamless experience that they will love and one that is in line with what is being currently provided on the marketplace.

    I appreciate that you had enjoyed using our Entertainment website to pre-order or purchase products and we are really grateful for your custom and support over the years. We understand that our customers may still wish to purchase physical products such as DVDs, Blu-Rays and we will continue to stock and update the range of Entertainment products instore.

    We will continue to provide our customers with a high quality range of products instore so that customers who prefer to purchase physical products can still do so.

    There are no changes to Nectar on Sainsbury’s Entertainment. You can continue to earn and spend Nectar points as normal.

    All previously purchased titles will be available for you to enjoy in your music / film library.

    We are committed to providing our customers with a range of high quality titles and we will continue to make new titles available for purchase until Christmas 2013. After this point, you can still purchase new titles, although they will be in digital format only so they can be downloaded to your PC or supported devices.

    Thank you for taking the time to let us know your feedback about Sainsbury’s Entertainment.

    Yours sincerely”

    Tells me nowt I want to know really.

    Philip

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      What’s all this “in-store” rubbish. I’ve NEVER seen any music box set “in-store” in any Sainsbury’s EVER!!

      Are they changing this policy now that they are not selling them online? Will we see Super Deluxe Box sets from The Who and Beatles vinyl boxes next to Miley Cyrus and “Now That’s What I Call Disney Princess” – I think not. Whatever waffle they spew out, they are not providing ANY alternatives for buyers of catalogue music releases. Why can then not just admit it?

  31. Philip says:

    It’s all a load of b&ll&cks unless they’re going to open proper record shops in every store.

  32. Eric says:

    “We will continue to provide our customers with a high quality range of products instore”….means they’ll keep stocking Now Disney and Miley Cyrus CDs in the entertainment section, squeezed in between cookery books and wind-up daleks.

    To be honest, I was always a bit surprised that their online service extended to such quality/niche titles like reissues and boxsets!

  33. Daran says:

    I **hate** downloads. The love of music is more than just the listening. For those of us lucky enough not to be young and born in these awful modern times we had the joy of actually ‘buying’ the music we loved, as opposed to ‘consuming media’ or whatever b*llocks phrase they use these days. The smell and feel of a real product, the thrill of the artwork, the excitement of going into a real record shop and spending hours flicking through the racks searching for that rare 12″, whilst all the time making those musical family connections when reading the sleeve notes and broadening your musical horizons at the same time when you saw a release from a band / artist that you had not seen of or considered listening to before. All these things and more are lost to the download morons who just don’t love music with the same passion as we did. The loss of the broadsheet music papers, the end of the proper 12″ extended mix, the throwaway singles chart nobody cares about anymore, the closure of record shops and now the diminishing physical releases – it’s all just a continuation of a terminal decline of the love of music in our culture. No, I won’t buy your bloody downloads Sainsbury’s……..

  34. Mike Williams says:

    Gutted,been buying from Sainburys for the past year,fantastic prices and excellent service,just watch the prices go up now from Amazon.

  35. Maggie Greenstock says:

    I have for the first time tried to check into the Sainsbury’s website to buy a few DVDs they are advertising but which I couldn’t find in my local store, only to discover they are no longer selling them on-line. I was amazed at the number of unhappy customers who have posted their comments as opposed to those who are happy that Sainsbury’s is no longer selling the physical products on line. I hope Sainsbury’s will take note!

  36. Inge says:

    Excellent post. I will be experiencing some of these
    issues as well..

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