Cybercritique: Barnesandnoble promotes smart selling strategy

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CRITIQUE: A lot of people out there worship the Oprah Lord. She tells them what to read, what to eat, what movies are worth watching -- and they do it. is capitalizing on this trend by running banners promoting sales of the latest Oprah books at a 50% savings. They're running on some very literate sites, including Seems like a no-brainer, and it is. Sell people something they're conditioned to buy, drop the price a lot, promote the heck out of the deal and, sure, people will go to the site and pick it up.

Here's where it gets interesting: the click-through. could do several things. It could take the person doing the clicking right to the page for the book with the big "BUY NOW" button for a hole-in-one sale -- but lose the chance to expose users to the rest of the not-so-heavily discounted products. It could send people right to the home page and risk losing the sale as people hunt for the book or just get distracted looking at other products. It could create a splash page about the promotion for people who clicked on the ad, which would not only offer a buy-now option, but perhaps also try to cross-sell other related "Oprah" books.

What the site did was 90% very, very smart. It sent users to a coupon for $10 off a $40 purchase. Customers have incentive to shop for more than the book they were originally going to buy, which they essentially get for free if they buy enough other stuff.

If the site also had the buy-now option for the first, preselected book, it would have grabbed that remaining 10% of being very, very smart.


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