Barnes & Noble College First to Launch Social Commerce Platform

April 28, 2011

Texas A&M Facebook BookstoreLetting Students Shop Where They Connect

Social networking is increasingly becoming a part of our students’ day-to-day lives, influencing how they shop, both online and in brick and mortar stores. Barnes & Noble College combined this insight with our commitment to innovation and this month, launched our industry’s first nationwide social commerce platform. This ground breaking move to a new retail channel is designed to heighten student engagement and expand our social media and communication capabilities.

How Social Commerce Works

Our social commerce strategy integrates the social networking features of our more than 500 campus bookstore Facebook pages with our award-winning e-commerce websites. Using this platform, students can enjoy a seamless social shopping experience, can “like” the products they buy from the bookstore, and show their friends what they’ve purchased (or would like to purchase), thereby recommending the products to their peers.

“At Barnes & Noble College, we are dedicated to bringing our campus partners ‘what’s next’ in the education retail industry, and our launch of social commerce is just the latest example,” said Max J. Roberts, president of Barnes & Noble College. “Combining our retail excellence with a deep understanding of student and university trends, we are delivering innovative solutions that are transforming our college bookstores and the student experience.”

Among college-aged students, peer-to-peer or “word of mouth” recommendations have tremendous power and significantly influence buying behavior—and social media continues to fuel these forms of marketing. According to McKinsey & Company, “word of mouth” is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Additionally, a recent Colloquy study found that 56 percent of young adults rely on social networks such as Facebook when it comes to recommending products and services.

The Texas A&M Perspective

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Shane Hinckley, assistant vice president of development at Texas A&M University discussed the value of the new Barnes & Noble College social commerce platform on his campus. He noted that college bookstores must use social media and other new technologies to remain relevant to the campus community, remarking “You either have to engage or you have to get out.”

In addition to the customary Facebook sections (Wall, Info, etc.), the new social commerce platform includes customized tabs, such as:

  • The Shop – showcasing the hottest trends at each individual bookstore
  • Books – offering textbooks in all formats (new, used, rental, digital) and access to NOOK Study, our innovative eReading and study application
  • Mascot – featuring alumni, athletic and other apparel, online promotions, sweepstakes, and a Top Fan section
  • The Hall – a live feed to a student-focused blog, unique applications, gifts and new student orientation materials

Social commerce is the latest example of how we’re redefining the college retail industry. We will continue to integrate this tool in all of our marketing, communications, and customer service initiatives, including Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. Read more about Barnes & Noble College’s launch into social commerce in our press release.

Discover us on Facebook by visiting And connect with your bookstore Facebook page to see all of the exciting changes we’ve made.