How Barnes & Noble is coping with COVID

The library has expanded its BOPIS and collection options.    

Josh Zelman, senior director of Customer Experience at renowned bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, took the virtual stage at Movable Ink’s recent (Re) Think conference to explain how the brand is using technology to strike a critical balance between stores. And online, experiences from BOPIS and the collection of sidewalks.

Zelman initially hoped to last a year longer than the responsibility for email marketing and CRM. “In a short period of time, many other areas under my management have consolidated,” he said, “including social, connectivity, and creativity – for the entire company, not just the social channel.”

BOPIS against postal delivery

Barnes & Noble has an e-commerce website where you can order books by mail and in-store. With the pandemic, there is a big shift in customer behavior, Zelman said. It deviates from the building blocks of online shopping, but after in-store recovery. We ask why customers don’t just ask for mail delivery

“At the start of the pandemic, mail delivery was affected,” said Zelman. We renew most of our service email addresses and usually only inform customers that their orders have been received or shipped, essentially to give us a break in regards to delivery times. Total dotcom traffic and order volume increased and this had a ripple effect on our delivery capability. We also had distribution center complications as we tried to navigate new measures of social distance while also seeing volumes approaching the typical holiday season. Everything became complicated to manage.

The first reaction was to introduce the bakkie concept for the first time, with many stores still closed due to government regulations. “We had the advantage of being able to take care of the logistics of the sidewalk, how it would work, and provide information to customers before the stores reopened.” The reopening brought such traffic restrictions, Zelman said, and the addition of the pavement and BOPIS remain attractive options.

A winning strategy

Launched in 2018, BOPIS accounts for around 23% of orders and will drop to 20% in 2019. With the pandemic, sales of Barnes & Noble’s BOPIS increased by nearly 230% (compared to January and February this year). ) Year). Year) and expected growth of 109%. year after year, in November and December – without the COVID generation.

Dynamic messaging

Barnes & Noble used Movable Ink’s dynamic messaging software to better welcome BOPIS customers and find the balcony. The solution is designed primarily for e-mail and creates messages that are displayed with the current information when opened or viewed.

In e-mail, the Dynamic Store Locator module is powered by Movable Ink, which uses geolocation data, the brand’s most important communication channel, not only the location and time of the store but also when the store is open and when O BOPIS makes a payment this is the service. offered. The e-commerce site was redesigned to show BOPIS and the sidewalk more prominently, and the survey results were taken into account.

In addition to an instruction sheet, the website provided a visual demonstration of how to get out of the balcony, and the in-store instructions were developed to help customers use ads that corresponded to their emails and web messages.

Get ready for winter

“As we prepare for the holidays, certain factors come into play,” said Zelman. “First, the customer’s convenience when returning to the store, coupled with the increase in COVID cases, which in turn can drastically limit the number of people in stores or stores where customers cannot enter.”

Vivek Sharma, founder, and CEO of Movable Ink spoke to us from the terrace of his New York apartment on one of the last hot days of the season. “Josh is a regular customer and partner of Movable Ink and is on our advisory board. BOPIS is something everyone is talking about this year: BOPIS and QR codes.”

Sharma reflected on what the pandemic means for marketers in a broader social context. ‘The big elections are underway and we are working with the DNC and influencing its success in this electoral cycle. The spirit of COVID during the winter will change things and I am sure that the buying and marketing behavior we saw at the beginning of the summer will see much more.

Sharma also recommended brands that have not invested much in e-commerce and digital marketing. “For marketers, you can’t wait any longer. It’s time to say it’s too late to make these things a priority. You can’t live off your physical strategy and dead strategies need to be added digitally.” BOPIS.

The recipe for success?

You can get a customer data platform to ensure that everything is centralized, has an excellent messaging engine – an ESP or a marketing cloud – and excellent creative personalization technology that can import, retrieve and convert data. personalized creativity sent by any channel through which you communicate with your customer.

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