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Barnes & Noble exec outlines mobile commerce strategy

A Barnes & Noble Inc. executive discussed the bookselling giant’s mobile commerce strategy in an exclusive interview with Mobile Commerce Daily.

Barnes & Noble announced new features for its Nook eBook reader. Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Doug Gottlieb, vice president of digital products for Barnes & Noble, New York. Here is what he had to say:
What is the importance of digital channels such as eReaders, smartphones and other mobile devices in Barnes &Noble’s overall strategy?
Barnes & Noble recognized the importance of the mobile market early on, launching a lightweight, fully optimized mobile Web version of our site in January 2008.

We caught the iPhone wave when it was just a swell, becoming one of the first retailers to launch a dedicated iPhone application. That application, “B&N Bookstore,” has been a huge success with customers and critics alike.

The application, along with our Barnes &Noble eReader software prompted Advertising Age to name us one of the best brands of the year in the digital space.

Barnes & Noble bookstore is currently a Webby Award nominee in the “best mobile shopping” application space.

Our free Barnes & Noble eReader software is available for the widest number of platforms anywhere. We currently support PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile on the HTC HD2.

We have applications for iPad and Android coming very soon.

How would you characterize the success of the Nook to date? What is the potential of the eReader market going forward?
Nook has been a phenomenal success. We’ve received amazing responses from people who are really loving our easy-to-use and stylish eBook reader.

From the beauty and elegance of the Nook’s design, to its colorful touch screen and a best-in-class, easy on the eyes E-Ink display, Nook has really resonated with Barnes & Noble customers.

Nook is also the first eBook reader to feature both 3G and WiFi connectivity, making shopping for eBooks a breeze.

And the Barnes & Noble eBookstore has millions of eBooks, newspapers and magazines from which to choose, including hundreds of thousands of free classic titles from Google.

This is the year of eBooks. Barnes & Noble is very pleased to be creating and selling great devices for eBooks, while developing intuitive, free eReader software for our customers.

For which smartphone platforms does Barnes &Noble have a downloadable application?
We have free Barnes & Noble eReader applications for iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile on the HTC HD2. We have applications for iPad and Android coming very soon.

Can you share details about the number of Nooks sold, the number of mobile application downloads, the number of monthly unique visitors to Barnes &Noble’s mobile Web site and/or the number of books and ebooks sold across each digital platform?
While we do not break out eBook or device sales they have far exceeded expectations.

What is/are the payment mechanism(s) on the various digital platforms mentioned?
The payment methods are account-based stored credit/debit cards and pay-by-phone, the same payment methods as the regular Web site. We are looking to add some third-party vendors in the coming months.

How has Barnes &Noble gotten the word out about the Nook, its mobile Web site and its mobile applications? What ad campaigns has Barnes &Noble run to promote them?
The best way to discover Nook is in any of the more than 700 Barnes & Noble retail stores across the country.

Customers can see and touch Nook, talk to a knowledgeable bookseller and see all of the beautiful Nook accessories we carry before they buy.

We are advertising Nook and our eBook software on television, radio, print and online, as well as through in-store signage, “get to know Nook nights in-store,” email and more.

Barnes & Noble is dedicated first and foremost to reading. Be it eBooks on a dedicated eBook reader or using our free software for smartphones or computers or ink on paper, bookselling is our passion.