Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chapters marketing strategy: shop elsewhere?

For the first time ever, Chapters disappointed me today. And that's hard to say. I'm a huge fan of Chapters and a very good customer. I know that my liberal heart should beat for the independent bookseller, but Chapters just has sooo many books. Resistance is futile. Except, it would seem, today.

Last night I was watching CNN and the anchor recommended Lawrence Wright's new book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Of more than 3500 books and articles written about the topic this one is, in his opinion, the best. Recently I have been making little forays into the world of non-fiction and thought this could be my next adventure. I went online to Chapters.ca and sure enough they carried the book. It was listed as a bestseller, 34% off for iRewards members. Sweet. Chapters.ca has a great little feature that lets you know whether a title is in stock at a particular location. My favorite Chapters had 6 copies. Perfect I thought, I can swing by after work and pick one up.

I went to Chapters, grabbed the book and as I was headed for the check-out noticed that there was no mention of the bestseller discount. I got up to the counter and asked the salesgirl "I went online and this was listed as 34% off, but I noticed there's no sticker. Is it still on sale?" "Oh", she said. "That was probably just online." What the? She checked the computer and sure enough IN STORE the book was $12 more expensive than online. "I think I'll just order this online then" I said. "Oh but then you'll have to pay shipping, $5.90." came the reply. True, but that's still less than $12 she wanted to charge me.

When I asked about the discrepancy another salesgirl told me that "the online Chapters is a totally different company, they often have better prices." So now you're telling me that I shouldn't shop here at all? On what planet does it make sense for a business to undercut itself? To compete with its own brand?

I left the book on the counter and walked out of the store empty-handed. I'll order The Looming Tower online. Of course now I'm going to check Amazon.ca and see if they're cheaper.

1 comment:

JAnie & DAve said...

That is too funny. I think you would appreciate winnipeg for it's second hand book bussiness. The city is just booming with books. One can even take a "book Walk", following the map of a brochure through one little section of town that features about 6 stores. So fun.
I look forward to hearing about your reviews of this book, once you actualy get your hands on it for a reasonable price. More and more i have been interested in terrorist events, reasons and consequences. But for now i will continue to learn through others!

I think i am going to dig out some of my old syllaby (sp) and look at a few of the book lists from some of my sociology courses. I feel like the information has slipped from my brain, and i would like it back now.
Hope you gain buckets of knowledge! See you so soon
Love Janie