CD-ROM is a big part of the new in-line sell-through video departments now being rolled out to all 24 stores operated by Glen's Markets here.
en so good that the company is considering putting CD-ROMs into the two stores without it, said Jim Paterni, category manager.
"We were all wondering how it was going to do for us because we had never done any kind of CD-ROM product before. But it is doing very well for us. CD-ROM took off right away and we were surprised," he said
Store-level associates were especially skeptical about the CD-ROM because of its unfamiliarity and relatively high ticket, he said. "But they have been pleasantly surprised with the sales," said Paterni.
Because Glen's has only had CD-ROMs for a month, Paterni could not provide sales figures. "But the turns have been very good, according to our supplier, and the margins are right in the 35% range."
The retailer is using a local computer software distributor for the products: Hometown Computer, Cheboygan, Mich. "They were willing to work with me on the product mix," said Paterni.
As in video sell-through, Glen's takes a hands-on approach to individual title selection for the category. "We sat down and analyzed all the different companies that they work with," he said.
"Instead of carrying what a manufacturer might throw at us, we decided to pick the mix of titles ourselves based on what we thought would sell in our market areas, and the type of clientele that we have. We concentrated mostly on family-type titles, games and productivity," he said. Almost all the CD-ROM titles are priced under $20, but there are exceptions. For instance, the retailer now stocks a Disney Interactive title, "Disney's Animated Story Book: Toy Story," that sells for $36.99. "If a hot new release comes along, like this Toy Story title, we will put that into the mix because it will be in demand, and we want to have as complete a section as possible for our customers," said Paterni.
Among the other CD-ROM products in stock when SN visited Glen's flagship store in Gaylord were budget titles like "Resume Writer" and "Gourmet Desserts" from Expert priced at $14.98, "The Multimedia Bug Book" at $14.95, "Interactive Wine Cellar" at $17.95, "Extreme Pinball" at $19.99, "PGA Tour" at $19.99, "Nemesis" at $17.95 and "The Merriam Webster Dictionary" at $17.95.
The under-$20 price is Paterni's primary criteria in making buying decisions on CD-ROM, but content is also key. "We want to carry titles that people who are just getting into computers would be interested in, like games and easy software for beginners."