Barnes & Noble on Wednesday announced its first-ever "12 Days of Inspiration," a sales event showcasing a variety of exclusive offers for the holidays. From Dec. 1-12, shoppers can visit a Barnes & Noble store or BN.com/12Days, and each day will feature a new, exclusive item available for "an incredible deal" for 24 hours, according to a company press release.
For the sales event, Barnes & Noble has partnered with Evette Rios, lifestyle expert and host of "The Way Home" on Lifetime and A&E and "Recipe Rehab" on CBS, Z Living and Hulu.
The bookseller is also encouraging customers to consider its $25-per-year membership program, which gives customers 40% off all hardcover bestsellers and 10% off virtually everything else in Barnes & Noble stores throughout the year.
The country's largest brick-and-mortar bookstore chain is working to get shoppers' attention during the post-Black Friday slack, asking customers to join it on social media with the #12Days hashtag.
The company no doubt would like to avoid repeating its fourth quarter performance last year, when executives said sales suffered from lower store traffic and a decline in demand for the once-hot grownup coloring books that had helped spur sales of art supplies. Barnes & Noble last year also blamed the absence of new music from British singer-songwriter Adele: Her third studio album "25," issued in November 2015, was the largest-selling CD in the retailer's history. The demise of the adult coloring book trend and the lack of an Adele-caliber blockbuster music release together accounted for a third of Barnes & Noble's holiday sales decline.
There was no mention of coloring books in Wednesday's announcement; in fact, the company emphasized its range of gifts beyond books. "At Barnes & Noble, we're always thinking about how we can make shopping a seamless experience for our customers, whether they are buying from us in-store or online," CEO Demos Parneros said in a statement. "We think they are going to be surprised and delighted by our '12 Days of Inspiration' promotion, which features the most exclusive deals on books and other products to be found this holiday season, as curated by our expert booksellers."
The approach of curating gift ideas is effective, especially in late November and early December, and helps retailers catch and keep shoppers' attention without resorting to deep price cuts, says Matt Sargent, senior vice president of retail at Frank N. Magid Associates.
"You're seeing retailers push gift guides and recommendations, 'gift concierges,'" he told Retail Dive in an interview. "The smart retailers are taking advantage of the fact that somebody might not be ready for shopping on Black Friday, but let me work to get them excited about it. And they're using product exclusivity — Target's doing this along with a lot of other retailers — [around] their own private label or exclusive products."