Categories: BookstoresPricing

Barnes & Noble Stores are (Finally) Price-Matching Their Website

From The Digital Reader

For the longest time now B&N has been annoying their few remaining loyal customers by charging a higher price in store than on their website. This negated most of the value in buying a book in a bookstore (hence the ever declining same-store sales ).

B&N has not removed that policy, but they have revised it. A source told me, and I have confirmed with the B&N store in Manassas, that starting today B&N is matching the prices on its website for purchases made in store.

This is not an advertised sale, so there won’t be any signs or emails. But I was told that it is only available to B&N club members when they request it, and that this special will only run through the tenth of December.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG says this reflects very poorly on the marketing and customer relations savvy of Barnes & Noble management.

Case One: A customer comes into a Barnes & Noble store, browses for 20-30 minutes, then buys a book. Later, a friend tells the customer that Barnes & Noble is selling the same book online at a discount.

Case Two: A customer comes into a Barnes & Noble store, browses for 20-30 minutes, then someone else comes over to the same book section and the two briefly discuss a book. The second customer pulls out a smartphone and consults it for a couple of minutes. “I think Amazon is harming bookstores and other local retailers,” the second customer says, “but I can get this book online from Barnes & Noble for a lower price and I’m still supporting real bookstores.”

Case Three: A customer comes into a Barnes & Noble store, browses for 20-30 minutes, then another browser comes in and the two talk about one of their favorite authors who has just released a new book. The second customer pulls out the smartphone, consults it, then informs the first that Amazon has a better price, so the second customer is going to buy the new book and an earlier book by the same author and spend the same amount of money Barnes & Noble is charging for the new book alone.

PG suggests that all three of these scenarios (and many others) make the first customer feel like a sucker for paying in-store prices for a book at Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble is financially punishing her/him for not checking the price of a book online before purchasing it in the shop.

It seems a little sneaky, like Barnes & Noble is trying to exploit its less-knowledgeable customers. The store is selling the same product for two different prices without giving the in-store customer any extra value for coming to the store to make the purchase.

Instead of encouraging customers to come into the store, Barnes & Noble is encouraging at least some of them to go online, where Amazon and its prices are only a click away.

In PG’s ostentatiously humble opinion, these people don’t understand how to run a bookstore in 2017.

PG :