Barnes and Noble's covid survival strategies

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A new article on Marketing Land reveals how the widely popular bookstore chain Barnes and Noble is surviving during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barnes and Noble have chalked up some effective strategies to outlast Covid-19. One of the more notable is opting for the 'Buy Online Pick Up in Store' (BOPIS) approach. Although it might seem odd to go the BOPIS route instead of mail delivery, Senior Director of Customer experience, Josh Zelman, explained the reasoning behind it:

"At the onset of the pandemic, mail delivery was affected," said Zelman. We augmented most of our service emails, which had typically just instructed customers that their order has been received or shipped, to essentially give ourselves breathing room with regard to delivery times. There was an increase in overall dot com traffic and order volume, and that had a ripple effect on our delivery ability. We had complications from distribution centers as well, trying to navigate new social distancing measures while simultaneously starting to see volumes that were nearing typical holiday-like volume. That all became complicated to handle."
To combat the closing down of many stores, the company introduced curbside pick-up:.

"We had the benefit of working out the logistics of curbside pick-up, how that would work, getting customer-facing information available, prior to actually having stores open again."
BOPIS showing success

The BOPIS sale statistics for Barnes and Noble at the onset of Covid-19 exploded with a sales increase of 230%, proving to be a very effective Covid strategy. Compared to 2018 and 2019, BOPIS made up 28% and 20% in 2019, respectively.

What next?

The upcoming Christmas period will be a real test for Barnes and Noble as it deals with customers re-entering stores and managing orders

Zelman comments on this:

"As we brace for the holidays, there's a few factors in play, one, the customer's comfort level with coming back into a store, coupled with the rise in COVID cases which could again lead to tight restrictions on numbers of people in stores, or stores not being able to allow customers inside."
BOPIS and curbside pick-up has been a savior for Barnes and Noble during Covid-19, now the question remains as to how they will deal with the recovery process and re-opening stores.
#barnes #covid #noble’s #strategies #survival
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
    Thinking beyond Barnes and Noble, in my opinion BOPIS will be a big part of the future of commerce. No shipping costs typically make it the cheapest and often fastest option; the leading retailers are often conveniently located; folks don't mind "making the trek" to the store for many items; etc. Walmart, Home Depot, target, et all have invested heavily in this - which imo will serve them well both during COVID and beyond.
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