Borders Changing Layout

John at Brand Autopsy shifts our attention to Borders bookstores’ new approach to displaying their merchandise. By showing more front covers and less binders, they’ll have to decrease inventory but tests show they’ll increase sales.

A few observations:

  • I won’t call this brilliant, because it just seems too close to common sense to go that far. But it is breaking tradition, and it’s applying the same thought behind web designers requiring less clicks to complete an order. Not only do we judge a book by its cover; we don’t even consider a book until we see it’s cover. Good move, Borders.
  • In making this move, Borders is going to have to reduce inventory by 5-10%. This should make everyone happy. For whatever reason, we’ve bought into the larger variety of products means better business. The more stuff you’ve got to sell, the more you will sell. Which isn’t true. They won’t even miss that inventory – the article mentions that most of them only sell one copy per store per year. That can’t be worth carrying.
  • Barnes & Noble, it says, has no plans of reducing its inventory. I don’t know if that means anything or not. B&N might be taking the strategic position of carrying more books than anyone else because they’re the only company that can, and they definitely can’t be seen as falling in line behind their main competitor’s new promising tactic. However, if Borders’ sales go up 9%, as indicated, B&N is going to whip something out pretty fresh and pretty quick.

This new tactic by Borders is an excellent example of simple innovations. It doesn’t require an R&D dept. You don’t need a 6-month long “innovation cycle.” You just try it, and if you like it, you do it more.


6 responses to “Borders Changing Layout

  1. I don’t see why anyone would actually go to a store and buy a book. Buying online makes so much more sense. You have many many more choices and usually you can view reviews of a book instantly.

    Everytime I go into Barnes and Noble and Borders, I am left disappointed on the number of selections on their shelves. They will probably convert more sales but how many customers will just stop going in the store after not finding what they want? Thus, losing future customers.

  2. I can tell you a few reasons you’d go to a store:
    1) Big chairs
    2) Coffee
    3) Some of us just still like going to stores.
    4) Some of us want a book right now.
    5) Cuz it’s just a fun experience that you can’t get from online.

    Granted, online has its perks, too. But I think there are definitely plenty of reasons to bookstores still.

  3. you know what’s fun? finding the book you really wanted instead of settling for what’s on the shelf.

    big chairs?

  4. Moth1 – you’re missing the point, at least a little. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone just wants a book. Lots of people want the whole experience. In addition, not everyone knows what book they want; they go to B&N or Borders and browse.

    Yes, big chairs. Read this post:

  5. Wow – just when you think something good is happening, you realize it was just a quick ploy to get a bump in stock price.

    Most disappointing.

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