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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I recently found myself doing something that I don’t do very often - I went to Barnes & Noble. An actual bricks-and-mortar store.
The reason? Well, I was going to a birthday celebration, and there were a couple of books that Mrs. Content Guy and I wanted to give as presents. But we procrastinated, and so there wasn’t enough time to get them from Amazon. I then tried our local independent bookstore, but they didn’t have them. I was down to one option …
So, I went to the Barnes & Noble website and checked. Both books were in stock at the store they have closest to me, in Stamford, Connecticut, and so I bought the books online so they’d be put aside for me there. Seemed pretty easy.
Until I got to the store. They’d texted me an order number, and so when I got there, I went inside to the customer service desk and gave it to them. They went under the counter to get the books, and then, instead of handing them to me, started to walk me over to the checkout line.
“Wait a minute,” I said. “I already paid for them.”
“Well, that’s technically true,” the salesperson said. “But we don’t actually charge your card until you’ve gone through the checkout.”
“Doesn’t that seem kind of inconvenient and inefficient,” I said.
“Not really,” he said. “There’s nobody on line.”
I thought to myself that while this was true, it actually pointed to one of Barnes & Noble’s problems - nobody was on the line. But I decided for once not to be a smart ass, and said, instead, “Ah, but if there were 25 people on line, I’d be number 26.”
And he said, “Well, that is true.” And then he left me at the checkout.
The thing is, if a bricks-and-mortar store wants to compete with an online experience, and especially against Amazon, which seems to do everything it can to make it easier for the customer, then you can’t do dumb stuff like this that actually has the potential of complicating my life.
All Barnes & Noble did was persuade me that, when possible, Amazon should be my first choice. Branes & Noble, on the other hand, has solidified its position as my last ditch choice.
It is not how you compete.
That’s what is on my mind this morning and, as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: