The Borders chain is in trouble, but the company's new concept store in Allen, Texas shows that it is serious about finding a way out of the mess should a white knight not come along to rescue it.
According to a report by The Dallas Morning News, the new two-level Borders store is big on trying to create an exciting customer experience with a whole host of interactive features and new product offerings in its digital electronics center.
The digital center, according to the report includes "20 well-edited" items. On Borders' short list are an e-book, solar-powered charger and a device that allows consumers to watch and/or record television on their laptop or smart phone.
"We're not trying to be Best Buy," said Bill Christensen, zone vice president for Borders. "But this isn't just a bookstore. Eighteen months ago, we started researching with our customers what else we could be."
Interactive kiosks in the store allow shoppers to burn their own CDs, create audio books, self-publish books and make travel reservations.
Borders has been a long-time proponent of interactive kiosks, having had them in place even before the Internet made the concept of electronic transactions commonplace. While their network has had some problems over the years, the company continues to fund expansions and upgrades to it, signaling that they must be getting some kind of benefit from it. The question to this day, though, remains exactly what they find the kiosks do. Do they encourage more same-day sales? Do they pull in additional sales thanks to product line extensions? Do they simply lower costs by letting more people help themselves instead of needing service personnel?