Barnes & Noble College, the nation’s leading operator of campus bookstores and a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s largest bookseller, Barnes & Noble, Inc., has become the first in its industry to develop and launch a social commerce platform. The campus retailer successfully integrated the social networking features of its more than 500 campus bookstore Facebook pages with its award-winning e-commerce websites, creating seamless social shopping experiences and expanding the company’s social media and communication capabilities.
“At Barnes & Noble College, we are dedicated to bringing our campus partners ‘what’s next’ in the education retail industry, and our launch of social commerce is just the latest example,” said Max J. Roberts, president of Barnes & Noble College. “Combining our retail excellence with a deep understanding of student and university trends, we are delivering innovative solutions that are transforming our college bookstores and the student experience.”
Barnes & Noble College joins only a handful of retailers in leveraging the ever-increasing power of social networking sites such as Facebook—and its more than 500 million users—for e-commerce. From this social commerce platform, students now can “like” the products they buy from the bookstore and show their friends what they have purchased (or would like to purchase), thereby recommending the products to their peers.
Among college aged students, peer to peer or “word of mouth” recommendations have tremendous power and significantly influence buying behavior—and social media continues to fuel these forms of marketing. According to McKinsey & Company, “word of mouth” is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Additionally, a recent Colloquy study found that 56 percent of young adults rely on social networks such as Facebook when it comes to recommending products and services.
“In a university community, students are engaged in campus life through their social networks, including purchasing and recommending products and services,” Roberts added. “In fact, we currently have nearly 250,000 Facebook fans, and the platform has jumped from the fifth to the number one referral site to our campus bookstore websites since the current school year began. We now are taking our social media marketing strategy one step further by integrating the two successful platforms into one social retailing experience.”
Leading social media firms, Enter New Media and Expion, partnered with Barnes & Noble in the development of this innovative platform, which features products found on each bookstore’s website. In addition to the customary Facebook sections (Wall, Info, etc.), the new social commerce platform includes customized tabs, such as:
“The Shop”– showcasing the hottest trends at each individual bookstore
“Books” – offering textbooks in all formats (new, used, rental, digital) and access to NOOKstudy, the retailer’s innovative eReading and study application
“Mascot” – featuring alumni, athletic and other apparel, online promotions, sweepstakes, and a Top Fan section
“The Hall” –a live feed to a student-focused blog, unique applications, gifts and new student orientation materials
Social commerce is the newest example of how Barnes & Noble College is redefining the college retail industry. An early pioneer in social media, the retailer continues to integrate this tool in all of its marketing, communications and customer service initiatives, including Facebook tabs that support important school causes and Twitter and FourSquare initiatives. Further leveraging the power of peer to peer communications, Barnes & Noble College also launched its unique Student Ambassador Program this past year. This program engages students to promote their college bookstore to their peers using both conventional grassroots and evolving social media channels.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 705 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., also operates 636 college bookstores serving nearly 4 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than two million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™ (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™ eReading product offering, customers can buy and read eBooks on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK eBook Readers, devices from partner companies, and hundreds of the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
About Enter New Media
Enter New Media (ENM) is a leading social media agency specifically focused on creating value for the entertainment, fashion, and retail sectors. ENM is a privately held company based in New York City. For more information, go to http://enternewmedia.com/.
Expion enables brands to monitor and manage local social media in real-time to produce actionable intelligence and maintain alignment of social media activities across corporate and local levels to generate extraordinary results. Expion is a privately held company headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. For more information, visit www.expion.com.