aishabintjamil: (Default)
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Sometimes I have to wonder if stores want to keep their brick-and-mortar incarnations open at all. Here's an example.

The newest George R. R. Martin book released this week. I want it. I also have Barnes and Noble gift cards. And even better, they sent me an email coupon for 30% off. So I looked at barnesandnoble.com and saw that they had it on sale for $19.25. That's a nice discount already. So tonight I headed over to my local store to pick up the book before the coupon expired at the close of business today.

I walk in and notice that the book is marked 30% off list on the display. No mention of a coupon required. So I go up to the register with my book and my gift cards and my coupon. There they tell me the coupon isn't good for anything because it's for 30% off the list price, and they're already selling it for that anyway. Now I guess this isn't technically false advertising, since the fine print on the coupon does say 30% off list, not 30% off what we're advertising the book for, and I got that, but had I realized that I wouldn't have made a hasty trip in just to grab this one book so as to shop before my non-coupon expired. So the coupon was essentially a well-disguised sale flier. That left me feeling distinctly jerked around, and that's not really a good thing to do to your customers if you want them back.

Now for part of why this whole situation was a really, really bad plan. Look back at my 2nd paragraph, the part where I checked the web site and it was selling for $19.25. That, as the web site helpfully tells you, is 45% off list. And, if were buying more than $25 of new books, I would get free shipping. Even if I don't buy anything else and pay shipping, that's $3.99, bringing my total to $23.24, as compared to the brick-and-mortar storefront price of $24.50. 

And it didn't even really save me time, since I didn't have an opportunity to get to the bookstore before tonight. I could have ordered it on line on Tues. of last week, and it would have been in my hands by now, even with standard shipping. So all going to the local store really did for me was piss me off and cost me an extra $1.26. 

How is this good for keeping their brick-and-mortar business going?

Date: 2011-07-19 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ali-wilde.livejournal.com
Bookshops here are going belly-up at a rate of knots. Borders, and Angus and Robertson are closing branches all over Australia. They say it's because of sites like Amazon and the internet and the popularity of ebooks. If they dropped their prices, it might help. New and popular novels are always available at department stores for at least $10 off the rec retail price. These bookshops also sell CDs and DVDs, usually for full price. They can be bought anywhere else for cheaper.

They need to wake up and realise that the product they are selling is identical to the one that can be bought elsewhere for cheaper - and that doesn't include online. In this economy, people won't pay for better service - especially as they don't often get it anyway. The girls in the dept stores are just as friendly as the ones in the specialty stores.

Date: 2011-07-19 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aishabintjamil.livejournal.com
So true about the service. The last time I attempted to use that Barnes and Noble to order half a dozen books that weren't on their shelves, they failed miserably. One of them they said they couldn't get (so I ordered it from Amazon, who could). I did get four of the others, but the 5th one just went into limbo. As far as I can tell the order simply fell on the floor somewhere and was forgotten.

Date: 2011-07-19 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cedarwolfsinger.livejournal.com
Ridiculous that they are not paying attention to what's happening, especially since they could potentially make a better showing and not have people go online because it's easier and cheaper.

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