In a conference call talking about second quarter results, Barnes & Noble CEO Ron Boire said that the nation’s largest bookselling chain was working on a new prototype store. More details emerged about the creation of a bricks-and-mortar store that integrates online elements at the annual eTail West conference in Palm Springs, Calif., although the company did not give any specifics on the size, location, or opening date beyond calendar year 2016. Boire's remarks were reported by internetRetailer.
“One of the challenges of that store is going to be the digital experience,” Boire told conference-goers. “I don’t think until you’re fully connected—mobile, desktop, and store—that you’re going to be providing the full experience. That’s our goal.”
B&N has been working on upgrading its e-commerce experience through BN.com. During the same conference call in December, Boire acknowledged problems with BN.com, which had been revamped over the summer, but which has been having problems early in the fall that led to a decline in online sales in the second quarter. Fixes to the site led to a better consumer experience over the holiday season. The website and e-commerce would play an integral part in any attempt to launch a digital-physical bookstore. Since taking over as CEO last fall, Boire has promised to develop an "omni-channel" approach for the chain going forward, one that would blend its retail, website and Nook businesses.
The company has already begun strengthening its e-commerce team. In January it promoted Mary Amicucci, v-p of adult trade and children’s books at Barnes & Noble, to chief merchandising officer.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated since it was originally published Wednesday morning.