Barnes & Noble Inc. will bring its online business into its stores by installing Internet service counters, powered by Barnes & Noble.com.
Customers who visit any one of the retailer's 551 bookstores will be able to place orders for books and other products through the Barnes & Noble.com site, www.bn.com. They also will be able to pick up and return products ordered online at retail stores.
The Internet service counter initiative is designed to increase traffic and sales in both the retail and online channels of the bookstore, Steve Riggio, vice chairman of both the retail and online companies, said in a meeting with analysts and investors. Barnes & Noble.com execs say sales for the online business, which releases third-quarter earnings Oct. 30, have grown 60% during the last year and have increased 10% over the previous quarter. Barnes & Noble Inc. will release third-quarter earnings Nov. 16.
"Putting kiosks in stores is natural," Forrester Research analyst Seema Williams says. By installing Internet service counters, Williams says, Barnes & Noble will be able to "track consumer behavior across multiple channels and offer personalized in-store promotions that they couldn't do before."