The Indigo Experience

I couldn’t help but notice at Indigo Books & Music the other day that they seem to have gone out of their way to make it difficult to enter the store.

I went in the main entrance of the Yonge and Bloor store and it was so jammed full of book displays, tables of books on special, and the checkout counter, that it was quite literally difficult to get in. If even one person stops to gaze at one of the stands they completely block inward traffic to the store. Albeit this probably seemed to me more frustrating than it really was since I was in a rush, but I still have to wonder if cramming all that stuff into the entrance is a great plan in terms of making it an inviting store to visit.

One other quick note from my Indigo experience – Why is it so hard to find a book?

In order to do so you need five pieces of information:

  1. Name of the book.
  2. Author of the book.
  3. Bookstore that has the book.
  4. Section in the bookstore.
  5. Knowledge of the sorting mechanism on the shelf.

If you are looking for a particular book you obviously already know 1 and/or 2, 3 is easily obtained from the Indigo website, but 4 and 5 are comparatively confusing. You can obtain 4 from a person in the store obviously, but for some reason this information is not available on the public Indigo website. Oddly enough however if you go to one of the Book Search PC’s (if you can find one!) in the store (which seem to use a slightly different version of the same web site available outside the store) you can actually obtain the section information if you look close enough on your search result page. Why isn’t this same information available outside the store? Now, once you have the section you aren’t really done yet as you still need to find the book within the section and there is seemingly no information identifying that the shelves and sections are sorted by Author name vs Title vs some other method, and further you have no idea where the alphabetical listing starts and ends. Of course these things are easy enough to deduce but everytime you go to the store you need to follow this algorithmic process to simply find a book, why??

Here are my quick recommendations to Indigo:

  1. Increase the number of ‘Book Search’ PC’s at the store.
  2. In the Book search results section make it clearer how you can find the book, don’t just hide the section away in a little corner on the screen. Information on how the books are sorted on the shelf should be included as well as the section name that will match with the section signs posted throughout the store.
  3. Provide all the information on how to find the book on the public website so that one can know where to find the book before coming into the store.
  4. Identify where the sorting mechanism on the shelf starts/ends, intermediary markers would be useful as well such as (A, B, C, etc).
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