Barnes & Noble College

iOS / Android / API

Digital Strategy and Experience Design
Mobile, Responsive and API Development

Barnes & Noble College is one of the largest college bookstores franchisers in the US and is at a critical juncture to leverage mobile to increase student acquisition, drive transactions, increase student retention, leverage partnership opportunities, and improve customer loyalty.


Barnes & Noble College set out to create a customer experience in the retail space that was painless and frictionless to help their main customers—the students. With the partnership we’ve developed with BNC, we’ve introduced new functionalities that not only adapt to the operations of over 750 college stores but also help build engagement between store managers and students.

Together we are designing new interactions and experiences for customers that span from in-store connected physical initiatives to mobile application development. Together we are building the digital foundation for the store of the future.


In order to align digital initiatives with company objectives and goals, Rocket Wagon is developing a digital roadmap to tactically build digital experiences, allowing the creation of a unified digital architecture that can be leveraged across digital initiatives based on near- and long-term goals.


Creating unique local communities of customers for each store requires a seamless experience that leverages geographical information to make suggestions about closest schools, stores, events, promotions, and more.

Targeted Promos

Highly targeted promotions and notifications encourage users to redeem in stores by leveraging thousands of unique push channels that ensure messaging can be as tailored and localized as possible.

Locking in the sale

The challenge of locking in the sale is derived from the common frustration of trying to purchase in-store only to find the store is out-of-stock. After iterating on the current process and workflow, we were able to streamline it and integrate the experience into the mobile app. This not only reduces ample paperwork and operational challenges, but allows for instant tracking of inventory and student requests.

Learn how to do it

Education of new features is an essential part of developing any new experience. In order to align store and regional managers with the digital mission, it is essential that features are intuitive to users and are well explained. Swipe the phone to take a look and see how it works.

Swipe the phone ;)


Understanding the particular needs of requesting a book purchase or rental, our team took some time to complete various on-site research. We’ve walked through the process from end to end to ensure that the experience would be seamless no matter what the type of user request. Check out our process of this experience below.

New Results

Barnes & Noble College set out to create connected experiences that improve how students shop in-store and on the website. We constantly work to remove obstacles and provide technology-based experiences that keep the students engaged and returning. The digital foundation that has been developed with BNC allows for easily piloting of new features at specific stores and expanding based on established KPIs. By iteratively developing and matching features to company goals, RW has helped create new mobile channels and features for millions of students, parents, alumni, and faculty.

By constantly having conversations with our students, we can help tailor exactly how our students like to shop with how we deliver that seamless, frictionless experience to them.
Lisa Malat, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer - Barnes & Noble College