Barnes and Noble are revising their membership program to compete against Amazon Prime and Walmart+. The largest bookseller in the United States has a new Premium Membership, which costs $40 per year. It gives customers 10% discounts, free shipping, a tote bag and bigger lattes.
The bookseller is also launching a free, lower-tier membership program that allows members to earn a virtual stamp for every $10 spent online and in stores, and translates into a $5 credit for future purchases once ten stamps have been accumulated. People who sign up for the $40 program also get the rebates.
The CEO of Barnes and Noble, James Daunt, said, “the new paid-membership program would replace a previous one, which offered discounts for purchases made inside Barnes & Noble’s physical stores—as well as free shipping for most online orders—and cost $25 a year. That plan didn’t extend discounts to online shoppers, a strategy that Mr. Daunt said conflicts with the retailer’s strategy of making books available wherever customers want to buy them.”
Mr. Daunt estimated that at least 75% of the 5.5 million people paying $25 annually would sign up for the new $40-a-year program. He said he expects the total number of paid members to remain the same at year-end because he believes new customers will be attracted to the $40 offer.
Amazon Prime members spent 113% more than nonmembers each month. In comparison, Costco and Sam’s Club members spent 101% and 109% more in-store than nonmembers, according to the PYMNTS report, “The Benefits of Membership: Mass Retailers and Subscription Services.”
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.