Today I planned on purchasing “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. I had hoped to pick it up and purchase it today. As there are so few brink-n-mortar bookstores around, I looked up the book on http://barnesandnoble.com and see the price on the web site…
OK. I head to the Barnes and Noble in East Northport, NY. I am very excited to get the book and start reading it. I anticipate paying $18.35 but realize there may be a slightly higher price because it’s at the store. Perhaps a service fee?
I get to the store and go to the kiosk to find the location of the book. The kiosk shows it’s located in Business:Marketing and it costs $29! It must be a mistake. They must be displaying the list price. No one charges list price! Not bookstores. Not clothing stores. Not car dealers. No one! Except…
Well I cannot find the book and need to have a salesperson find the book on the “end-cap”. I ask him the price and he states it’s $29.
$29? $29?! Are you kidding me?
The salesperson says they need to charge higher prices for books at the stores to cover overhead. The Online price is only there to compete with Amazon.com.
I explain (IMHO) to the salesperson that charging $11 more for the same book at the store is “appalling”. I explained I am aware he is not the decision-maker and please excuse my venting. I tell him that the public is reasonable and, if they charged a $1 or $2 for the convenience of purchasing the book in the store, it would make sense. It is ridiculous to price this book at $29 after I had seen it on your web site for $18.35.
Determined and angry, I head home and online to http://barnesandnoble.com. I search for “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”
I was curious to know if the web site explicitly stated the book will cost $29 if you purchase it at the store. No. I could not find it. Perhaps they are being “cute” and I am supposed to assume, or come to the conclusion on my own, that it costs $29 at the store.
I think “What if I click the Pick-Me-Up button?” Maybe that will shed some light on the situation.
Great. They have the book in stock at the store in East Northport, NY.
Great (again). It’s still listed as $18.35. OK. I understand. I am buying it online and picking it up at the store. So it’s going to cost $18.35.
I click the “Pick Me Up” button next to the East Northport Store.
Aaaaah. Now they display the book will cost $30. (At that point I also see I am not purchasing it online. I am asking them to pull it from the shelf and have it ready for me to purchase when I reach the store.)
So it took five clicks into BarnesAndNoble.com for them to share with me the book will cost $30 – (1) Search for the book (2) Click the book for detail (3) Click “Pick up in Store” where the zip code window appears, (4) The page with “Pick Me Up” in large print (5) The pop up window above which finally shows me it costs $30 without any type of explanation.
All the way at the bottom I see “Store and online prices may vary.” IMHO it’s in a place that is deceptively out of the way and vague. Regardless of legalities, vagueness, and deceptiveness, this is not how you do business in a world in which social media is so prevalent.
Oh come on!
With all the “brilliant business minds” at the top of Barnes and Noble, they can’t think of a fair way to deal with the public? Perhaps a simple and reasonable $2 “store fee” for books that are purchased at the brick-n-mortar? Perhaps that $2 “store fee” could be given back as a credit to the customer’s next online purchase?
Perhaps, at least, explain to your online audience why you need to charge a reasonable fee for books purchased at a store… versus, once I found the book, having 3 screens display $18.35 and then displaying $30 on the 4th page?
Befriend us. Respect us.
Your salesperson seemed concerned about Amazon.com. And you should be concerned because Amazon.com does it “right”. I have had numerous potentially-negative experiences with Amazon.com. Anytime I had an issue, Amazon.com customer service resolved the issue and exceeded my expectations. I will continue to be a dedicated Amazon customer. After today’s experience with Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com looks even better to me.
I ordered Gary’s book on Amazon.com.
I look forward to reading “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook.” I also look forward to seeing Barnes and Noble in Gary’s next book “Jab Jab Jab Low Blow.”
Right or wrong. Perception is reality!