Online Research Drives In-Store Sales

Sep 10, 2004

By George Anderson

Barnes & Noble chief executive, Steve Riggio, is a big believer in multichannel retailing for no other reason than it drives sales in his company’s bookstores.

Mr. Riggio told analysts attending Prudential’s Back-to-School conference “instead of seeing the Internet as a cannibal…an Internet connection drives customers to the stores.”

Nearly one in four sales made in stores (24 percent) said Mr. Riggio are made after a customer has researched the product online.

Once shoppers are in a Barnes & Noble, Mr. Riggio is confident that the atmosphere of the store will keep them there. In-store cafes create a comfortable atmosphere where people want to hang out, he said. The social element of Barnes & Noble, said Mr. Riggio, has real estate developers looking at Barnes & Noble bookstores as the modern day equivalent of “town squares.”

Moderator’s Comment: How important is a multichannel approach to success in retailing? Which companies do the best job of complementing their in-store
business with online and/or catalogs?

George Anderson – Moderator

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