The Problem with Barnes & Noble

moontaehyunQuinn (2013) asserts that companies should aim to do more than merely sell their products.  They should educate their consumer base about the solutions their products provide.  For instance, as manufacturers of beds, Leggett & Platt were only talking to consumers about beds.  Quinn writes, “This was irrelevant…What they wanted to know was how a mattress would impact their sleep, sex lives, and overall quality of life” (Quinn, 2013).  Once they made this determination, they created a Sleep Geek community to educate their sales team about what consumers cared most about and then developed customer-centric solutions.

When I think about Barnes & Noble, I don’t think of a solutions retailer.  When I think of solutions in the realm of books and other printed material, I think Amazon.  David Scott wrote in The New Rules of Marketing and PR (2010) that Amazon has mastered “anticipating needs and providing content to meet them” (pg. 19). On Amazon, you can see “Customers who bought this item also bought” and “What do customers ultimately buy after viewing items like this?” (Scott, 2010).   One of the solutions Amazon provides is “online browsing”.  Scott says that companies often times optimize a site for searching but don’t easily allow customers to browse.  Yet, many times people are unsure of what they really want and need an opportunity to peruse products before making a decision.  Amazon is set up to easily allow customers to do just that.  In fact, they might just buy more because they’ve been afforded the opportunity to browse.


Quinn, M.  (2013, May 1).  Teach customers why they need a product before trying to sell it to them.  Business Insider.  Retrieved from

Scott, D. M. (2010).  The New Rules of Marketing and PR.  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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