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How Are You Driving Your Used-Disc Sales?

13 Oct, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

While in Toys “R” Us the other day to purchase a birthday gift, I naturally inquired how The Lion King was doing. It was soon after street date, and the store had a large display near the cash register. The clerk said it was doing fine, but what was really in short supply was Sleeping Beauty.

“Why Sleeping Beauty?” I asked.

The clerk said a Disney title offer the store had with The Lion King had cleaned out the store's supply of the older Disney classic.

It got me thinking about how important loss-leader promotions are to the big sellthrough chains. The too-good-to-pass-up offer on the Disney titles obviously brought in the customers, who likely purchased something else at Toys “R” Us that helped the chain make a profit on its traffic.

In the sellthrough business, this has been a time-tested practice, one that frustrated rental dealers who felt they could not compete and gave up trying to sell videos. But now the rental dealer has a new option: previously viewed DVDs. While customers never held pre-viewed cassettes in much esteem, the previously viewed disc is a highly valued product, something many customers look at as almost as good as new.

Blockbuster and the other big rental chains have taken to aggressively promoting used discs – often combining them with free rental offers. Independent rentailers, too, have wised up to the used-disc phenomenon. I'm curious to hear what sorts of promotions have worked best – and conversely, which ones have proven to be less so. I'm sure fellow rentailers can use some tips in the relatively new arena of used-disc sales.


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