Attempting to bolster the company’s dormant brick-and-mortar business by increasing online sales, Barnes & Noble announced plans to work hand-in-hand with Google in providing same-day deliveries to customers. Currently limited to Manhattan, the San Francisco Bay Area and the west side of Los Angeles, purchases made through Google Shopping Express will have the option of being hand delivered by a courier. In the near future, the two companies plans to expand out to Brooklyn and Queens within New York City as well.
Of course, this is just another retailer that Google has added to the stable of merchants participating in the Google Shopping Express service. Other large retailers include Toys R Us, Whole Foods, Smart & Final, Guitar Center, Target, Walgreens, Costco and Staples. Basically, users will visit the Google Shopping Express site and place an order through the Barnes & Noble store portal. Once placed, a Google Shopping Express courier picks up the order from a local Barnes & Noble store and delivers the package within a few hours.
Speaking about the collaboration in an interview with the New York Times, Google Shopping Express product director Tom Fallows said “Many of our shoppers have told us that when they read a review of a book or get a recommendation from a friend, they want a really easy way to buy that book and start reading it tonight. We think it’s a natural fit to create a great experience connecting shoppers with their town’s Barnes & Noble.”
Of course, Barnes & Noble will still have difficulty competing with Amazon on prices. Browsing within the West Los Angeles portal for Barnes & Noble listings, many books are found at full retail prices rather than at a discount. Consumers may be willing to wait a couple days to receive a new book if they can save 30 to 40 percent off the full MSRP of the product. Amazon is also attempting to expand the reach of the company’s same-day delivery service. For Amazon Prime customers, the company charges between $3.99 to $5.99 for the same-day delivery of a specific item.
The timing of the announcement couldn’t be positioned at a better time for Barnes & Noble. Amazon’s ongoing battle with book publisher Hachette over e-book prices has riled up many in the publishing community. This Sunday, a full-page, open letter addressed to Amazon and Jeff Bezos will be published in the New York Times. Encouraging an end to the battle, this letter was signed by over 900 authors including some extremely popular writers like John Grisham and Stephen King.
Interestingly, this isn’t the only tech partnership that Barnes & Noble is touting this week. Set for a late August announcement, the bookseller plans to show off the company’s first co-branded e-reader tablet, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. After slowing down first party development of the Nook line of tablets, the company partnered with Samsung to develop a Nook specific version of the Galaxy Tab 4 tablet. After the new Nook is debuted on August 20, the company plans to start selling the device immediately.
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