I buy books quite often in Waterstones. I just went there today and spent about £50 on books. They always ask me if I have my loyalty card and I always say that I have a card, but I don’t have it on me. They remind me to bring in my receipt and I can get the points later. Of course, I lose the receipt or just never make time to go to the book store specifically to get my points.
This always happens. So isn’t there a better way? Do stores like Waterstones really think that I’m going to stuff my wallet full of loyalty cards for every store in the high street, every hotel chain, every airline..?
Why don’t they choose something that the customer will almost always have with them and that provides their identity and can link to their loyalty account? How about a mobile phone number for example?
The customer buys some books, they ask if you have a Waterstone’s loyalty account, if it’s yes then you can just give your phone number and the till credits your account with the points. Simple?
So it really looks like the book chain Borders is about to collapse.
What a shame.
When Borders opened their British flagship store in Oxford Street it was like a breath of fresh air to the book retailing market. Yes Waterstones was always knocking around in the background, but the majority of stores were fusty and dusty like Foyles, or just full of the latest bonkbusters, like WH Smith.
Borders had the most incredible magazine section, filled with magazines I’d never heard of, but loved handling and reading them. They had excellent coverage of most areas and the store was a nice place to be, even without buying.
It’s true that book retailing has changed enormously in the past 10-15 years – driven mostly by Amazon, but surely there is still a space in the market for high quality retail stores focused on books. Foyles has improved beyond measure, and Waterstones are also taking the fight to the supermarkets, so it’s true that the competition has learned from Borders, but their precipitous collapse remains shocking to anyone who has ever enjoyed shopping – and reading – there.
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Tagged amazon, amazon.com, books, borders, collapse, foyles, magazines, recession, retail, waterstones, wh smith, whsmith