Saturday, July 24, 2010

Click-and-mortar shopping -- the way it should be. Kudos, Barnes & Noble!

Today, I wanted to buy a book after dinner as a last minute gift. From my dinner table, I whipped out my Droid and searched on for some ideas. I am usually a very loyal shopper, but in this instance, I couldn't wait for mail delivery.

Within minutes I found a book I wanted. And I noticed an in-store inventory check and pickup option.

Punched in my zip code, got presented a few nearby stores with my book available now, and filled out the "Pick Me Up" pop-up form.

I noticed the checkbox for a text message when the reservation is complete. So, I figured I'd give it a shot and hit Submit.

I paid my dinner bill and drove 5 minutes to the bookstore. I got a message from Barnes & Noble that my book was set aside while I was in the parking lot. I walked in to a special express pickup area inside the store. I gave the salesperson my last name and she pulled out my book that had my Pick Me Up information attached to it. I was in and out in 2 minutes. Awesome!

This may not seem surprising. And one could argue this is expected in this age of e-commerce. But it's not. This actually worked as expected!

This made me realize that there is hope for brick-and-mortars that master this online-to-offline integrated shopping experience. Or in this case, mobile-to-offline.

This will be the only way to compete against the Amazons of the world.


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