Daunt Has No Plans To Overhaul The Digital Operation

Daunt Has No Plans To Overhaul The Digital Operation

I admire the greater part of what James Daunt is doing to reinvigorate the Waterstones chain, but I was hugely disappointed to read here that:

there were no plans to overhaul the digital operation to better compete with Amazon. "In two years I doubt we'll have a substantially bigger online offer; we have a competitor who already does that very well."

I think this is incredibly short-sighted and defeatist. Amazon may have started as a bookseller, but it is not a bookseller any more.

I believe proper investment in and development of the Waterstones website experience, alongside the refurbishment and restyling of the instore experience, could have persuaded many people who buy their books from Amazon to use Waterstones online instead.

I fully expected this to be part of the rescue plan, which is why I introduced Waterstones buy-me links when I redesigned ACHUKA in the summer.

This interview with Daunt leads me to the conclusion that there may be little point in trying to promote online purchases via Waterstones if there are no plans to improve the 'online offer'. By any standards the current online experience at Waterstones. com is not good. The browse results by Bestselling, for example, produce some bizarre lists, with out-of-print titles sometimes appearing in the Top Ten.