I honestly don't think they bought us just to bankrupt and liquidate us. Am I the only one who feels this way?
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The BN way of business has been broken for years. Too many top heavy chiefs without a real clue of what customers want or what booksellers need to to their job. I hope Elliott cleans house . Dist. mgrs,Managers, Asst. Mgrs, cafe mgrs. and whatever they call Merch mgrs now ( company more worried about what to call a position, than effectively utilize the position!) THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. So set in their stagnant, ineffective ways ! If you keep them, NOTHING changes. You can tell them new procedures that work but they are convinced they know what their doing. NO YOU DONT. If you did , your store would be a success ! Not the mess it’s in now.
All these numbers the company came up with for their "plan" were clearly done by someone thinking incorrectly. At some point, LY has to be beat. You can't keep going under LY for 3 or 4 years, but that is exactly what the company has done. Beat plan all you want, but some day or year you are eventually going to have to beat LY numbers. The company has clearly proven it can NOT beat LY. So now new ownership is coming in. New ideas can not come from the old idea well. If you took over, what would you do? I wouldn't look to the current RM and DM for answers. This company currently worries more about what the break room looks like than they do getting after it and improving sales. Barnes and Noble still to this day is trying to figure out if V carts or H carts are more efficient in getting books to the shelf!? If you have been around this many decades and are still trying to solve this "problem" it is clear it's time to clean house! Customer experience?? How about looking at that, instead of pestering them for memberships, emails, and credit cards applications.
Company could also get a website that loads fast, is search oriented, and isn't a portal for web ads and whatever the silly promotion of the month is. If you go to Amazon or bn.com you are there to look for something. Get the site mobile friendly...and simple.
Invest in kids department! Carry books that parents know and grandparents know! Yes have the new, but have the familiar titles they know. Redo the kids club. When they sign up they get a sterling bn classic book for kids. Every year for their birthday they get another. BN prints these books, the cost is maybe around $1 and change, but the psychological impact is big. How many people still have books from when they were kids? Many can remember them word for word! New ideas, not doing the same things over and over.
Partner with local schools and charities around each store. At the very least grow social media and promote community events, in time influence will grow, and they might promote back.
With zero advertising, properly utilize member emails. If a store is having an author event, email notify members. Make it an EVENT, take pride and ownership in what is being done!
It might not matter at this point for some stores. The company has lost its "why" a long long time ago. At least the new CEO runs bookstores!! And not Sears canada, staples, or GNC. Thankful they didn't hire a CEO from Spencer's Gifts or convalescent supply depot.
If you are staying I pray it gets better for you. A book can change a life. If you are moving on, break off the rearview mirror and don't look back. Life is short.
I am optimistic, but the decrease in store sales has been dramatic.
I was a former HC, and helping out recently, i was absolutely amazed at the amount of our deposit, especially in comparison to when i was doing this regularly.
But we do need new leadership, and this company does seem a decent fit, if we're "glass is half full" kinda folks.
But nothing would surprise me at this point.
With all stores having devastating sales and I happen to know our sales, there is nothing that turn around the company at this point.
Bargain books aren't enough. And most cafes are bringing in more money than the books are.