Will Barnes & Noble become the next Amazon?
It may look that way today, after yesterday’s announcement that they are adding over one million new products to the BN.com Marketplace. The company, which claims the title of the “World’s Largest Bookstore”, is adding the new products through 3rd party merchants. But you won’t find yourself picking out an HDTV at your local Barnes & Noble store any time soon, the new B&N products will only be available online.
B&N currently supports about 10,000 3rd party merchants in its Marketplace. Along with the product expansion, they are adding premier partners such as Wayfair.com, Right Start, UnbeatableSale.com, Inc., School Specialty, Inc., Abe’s of Maine, Delivery Agent and others into the mix.
John Foley, President of eCommerce, Barnes & Noble, said this about the product expansion: “If shoppers are buying cookbooks from BN.com, it’s natural to offer them cooking supplies at the same time; if shoppers are buying new baby books, it’s natural to offer them baby supplies as well; and so on across all of our categories. In this way, we can offer our valued customers a one-stop shopping destination.”
The product categories B&N added yesterday include Home and Gift, Consumer Electronics, Arts and Crafts, Toys and Games and Baby. The categories are now live on their site.
Each category breaks down into subcategories, and includes sections for ‘hot’ items and ‘bestsellers’. By clicking down through subcategories, consumers can browse through product images and prices. The new product listings have a familiar feel, not unlike other major online retailers. There is a section for reviews, but as would be expected of a new store, we did not find any products that have been reviewed yet.
The only feature we found that did not work as expected was the search function. A search for an xBox 360 did not find an actual xBox 360. It seemed to automatically throw us into the ‘video games’ category and provide results just for that. We could find the xBox by drilling down through the Electronics category, or by expanding the search phrase, such as: ‘Microsoft xBox 360’.