Barnes & Noble is introducing a $39.99 membership to compete with rivals like Amazon and Walmart. It will provide members with many benefits, including 10% discount in store and online, free shipping, free Café drink upgrades, and a tote. Besides, they are also launching a free, lower-tier membership program that enables members to earn a virtual stamp for every $10 spent; Then when they collect enough ten stamps, they can redeem them into a $5 credit for future purchases. Members who sign up for the $40 program will also receive the rebates.
Both new programs are based on a membership model at Waterstones, the UK-based bookstore chain that, like Barnes & Noble, is owned by hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. According to Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt, who is also the CEO of Waterstones, the aim is to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ reading habits, purchasing behavior and preferences, so that the retailer can tailor its offerings and promotions more effectively.
Customers who sign up for the B&N Premium Membership program will receive a 10% discount on almost everything in store and online, free shipping, free drink-size upgrades at the cafes inside the bookstores, and a new tote bag every year. He estimates that at least three-quarters of the 5.5 million people currently paying $25 annually would switch to the new $40-a-year program, which is replacing the previous one, offering discounts for purchases made inside Barnes & Noble’s physical stores, as well as free shipping for most online orders, but did not provide online discounts.
The new membership programs are designed to enable Barnes & Noble to better tailor its offerings to individual shoppers. The goal was to offer personalized recommendations and special offers based on customers’ interests, and to give them a reason to open Barnes & Noble’s emails. The retailer plans to send an email to its customers offering them double stamps as an incentive when the algorithm decides they have interest on a specific book.
The move by Barnes & Noble comes as many retailers, including Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon, offer paid-membership programs aimed at boosting traffic and revenue. Walmart charges $98 annually for a membership in Walmart+, which includes free store deliveries and rewards that can be used on future purchases, as well as other perks, such as free access to Paramount Global’s Paramount+ streaming service. Amazon Prime offers similar benefits, including access to its own streaming service, Prime Video. The new membership programs are intended to help the retailer compete more effectively in a highly competitive market, as well as to gain deeper insights into its customers’ behavior and preferences.
Disclosure: We might earn commission from qualifying purchases. The commission help keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!