Online book retailer Barnesandnoble.com has raised the bar on itself and some upstart delivery rivals. In a major marketing push unleashed today, the company began offering Manhattanites same-day delivery on over 800,000 book and music titles.
Midtown office workers on their way to work this morning were met by an army of guerilla marketers, handing out cards with information about the service.
Also supporting the launch of the new service — full-color ads in The New York Times and on phone kiosks across the city. Big, yellow trucks are lumbering about town, festooned with the Barnes & Noble brand, as well.
The company refused to disclose the price of the month-long marketing effort but did note that it was substantial for the company.
The delivery service promises to bring the books and music to a business or residence by 7 p.m., as long as the order is placed on the retailer’s Web site by 11 p.m. that day. The customer pays the same charges as for three-day shipping.
Although the goods are coming from a warehouse in New Jersey, the company sees no problems in the decision to start the delivery process from across the Hudson.
In a statement, Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnesandnoble.com
, said the 35 miles of space in its cross-state warehouse qualify the company as having the largest collection of titles under one roof.
John Rindlaub, a vice president for brand marketing with the company, acknowledged the competitive pressure from such local start-ups as Kozmo.com, a delivery-in-an-hour service that also offers books and recently received a $60 million investment from Amazon.com.
“The sheer volume of books that Barnes & Noble has at the ready is the big advantage” over the five thousand or so titles Kozmo and its uptown rival Urban Fetch deliver, Rindlaub added. “We’re targeting busy Manhattan residents as well as commuters who work in the city with the next evolution of e-commerce.”
And since book-selling giant Amazon.com has invested in Kozmo, Barnesandnoble.com may have little choice in the decision to ramp-up its offerings.
The company eventually plans to expand to other cities, he said. After all, if same-day delivery can triumph over the traffic nightmares in the tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan, anything after that could look downright easy.