Thanks to its wide selection of books and top-notch customer service, Barnes and Noble is now one of the most popular bookstores in the US. However, even a household brand is not immune to the free market, as Amazon looks to upend the bookstore and retailing world.
For example, Amazon and other major retailers engage in price matching, i.e., offering the same low prices as competitors. As a result, smaller competitors and brick-and-mortar bookstores cannot keep up with this aggressive pricing strategy.
Does Barnes and Noble price match? If not, what is their pricing strategy, and what is the future of Barnes and Noble? Read on to find out!
Does Barnes and Noble Price Match?
Barnes and Noble does not engage in price matching. Barnes and Noble offers higher prices than its competitors to cover operational expenses such as rent and wages. Moreover, Barnes and Noble is more expensive because they focus on creating a pleasant customer in-store experience rather than being a price leader.
In other words, you can expect to pay more when shopping at Barnes and Noble because you’re paying for higher-quality services.
Does Barnes And Noble’s Online Store Price Match With Its Physical Store?
Barnes and Noble as a whole does not conduct price matching. This includes their online and physical stores. Moreover, the factors that affect Barnes and Noble’s online store’s pricing are not the same as those that affect Barnes and Noble, Inc.’s pricing and bottom line.
barnesandnoble.com is a subsidiary of Barnes and Noble, Inc., making them separate entities with distinct operational and pricing policies. Moreover, Barnes and Noble’s physical stores have autonomy for displaying books and how they order their stock. Thus, the prices of books even between different stores may vary slightly.
Overall, Barnes and Noble’s online stores do not price match its physical stores because that would result in sales cannibalization.
Does Barnes And Noble College Price Match?
If you are a student, you might notice Barnes and Noble bookstores on your campuses. These bookstores are known as Barnes and Noble College, a subsidiary of Barnes and Noble, Inc.
Barnes and Noble College does price match their competitors, unlike their in-store and online counterparts. This applies to new, used, and rental textbooks.
Besides that, Barnes and Noble College also offers a 10-percent discount on new and used textbooks. This discount applies to all Barnes and Noble College-managed stores.
If you’re new to price matching, it means that you are eligible for a refund if you found a lower price on a textbook after purchasing it. That said, there are a few criteria in place for price matching with Barnes and Noble College:
- The textbooks must be in stock and available
- The price advertised must be for the same book with the exact matching accessories
- The original receipt must be presented for the textbook, be it rented or sold
- Price match only applies to same condition items (used-used, new-new, etc.)
- Digital titles and special orders are excluded from price matching
Does Barnes And Noble Price Match Amazon?
Barnes and Noble does not price match any online retailers. In fact, brick and mortar bookstores usually do not or simply cannot price match with online retailers, i.e., Amazon.
The main reason is that Amazon’s pricing on books is extremely low and often at a loss. Amazon can afford to sell at a loss because of its distribution strategy and dozens of other product lines to cover that loss. For example, Amazon’s smart home assistants, e-books, and furniture.
Thus, brick-and-mortar bookstores, especially smaller stores, cannot price match with Amazon without risking bankruptcy. Retailers that do price match Amazon are home goods stores or supermarkets like Target, JCPenney, and Best Buy – retailing giants with established market presence.
Does Barnes And Noble Charge For Preorders?
As mentioned, Barnes and Noble compensates for its lack of price matching with exceptional customer service. One of these features include the ability to preorder and reserve books before their publication date
Barnes and Noble only charges the customer for the preorder upon the publication date. So if you ordered your book before the publication date, your account will not be charged.
That said, Barnes and Noble will not provide any refunds if you cancel your preorder before the publication date. This provides you the flexibility to change your order if you change your mind or found a more interesting title.
Why Is Barnes And Noble So Expensive?
Barnes and Noble has lost popularity over the years because of its comparatively higher prices, which has led many to question why. Generally, this can be summarized as Barnes and Noble’s strategy of creating an impeccable customer experience rather than being a price leader.
Firstly, Barnes and Noble bookstores are usually situated in strategic locations with big storefronts. This takes up a lot of rent space and incurs relatively high rent. Consequently, they have to hire more employees to manage these big spaces.
Besides, Barnes and Noble also prioritizes paying their employees fair wages, which results in higher labor costs and worker volume.
Secondly, Barnes and Noble requires more enormous warehouses to store their inventories. For instance, Barnes and Nobles sells over 5,500 magazine titles, more than 1,000,000 book titles, and about 1,500 newspaper publications. They also provide a wide selection of merchandise like gift cards, stationery, and journals.
Lastly, Barnes and Noble emphasizes their in-store customer experience. This is largely reflected through the Staff Picks selection, in which the staff recommends a curated selection of books.
Besides that, Barnes and Noble also has cafes within their outlets, which allows an enjoyable experience of indulging in coffee while reading newfound books. Overall, customers aren’t just paying for the books – they’re paying for the experience.
Barnes and Noble is considered a traditional bookstore that focuses on creating a niched customer experience through cafes, soothing ambiance, and exceptional customer service. This means that they do not engage in price matching like other retailers such as Walmart and Costco.
However, with the advent of e-commerce and e-books, physical bookstores are becoming obsolete. If Barnes and Noble wishes to stay relevant, it must rethink its business strategy and find its place in the ever-changing retailing landscape.