Activating Books at Barnes and Noble

A holistic look – store proposition, product, on-premise, social media, collaborations, and creators – can go a long way.

Barnes and Noble, ever the innovator, uses creative methods in its stores to create excitement and experience at the age of online shopping and digital books.

The company identified the huge engine behind Gen-Z’s and Alpha’s interest in books – TikTok, and specifically “BookTok”. The chain includes “BookTok” and “Tiktok made me read this” stands in stores, to make it easier for customers to locate the books they saw on TikTok and for others to view it as a “must read” in order to be in the know (also, they acknowledge that “staff choices” might not have the same appeal as hip creators).

Another interesting innovation is how B&N uses its on-premise food and beverage proposition, both for its loyalty plan (e.g. a free cupcake on your birthday) and for promoting specific books locally. For example, a local store’s cafe made a limited edition cake featured in a children’s book. Time for Proust’s madeleine cookies?

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