Strategy Formation and Strategic Change: Barnes&Noble and Amazon


The business sector is becoming more competitive than ever before, and many establishments lean on marketing to stand above the rest, making comprehensive strategies essential to any organization. Under strategy comes two distinct terms, which are often interchanged: strategy formation and strategic change. How are they similar, or different?

How are they similar or different in terms of two online reference store giants Barnes&Noble and Amazon? Strategy Formation According to the Process of Strategy Formation (n. d. ), strategy formation includes both planning and implementing the details of the strategy.

It requires strategists to answer the what, when, where, why, and how of the strategy that they are brewing. There are two bullet points in forming a strategy: activities and roles. Strategy formation activities are the actions that strategists will undertake throughout the strategic implementation. This includes determining the objectives of the strategy, assessing the strategy, planning the actual strategic plan and implementing them. Roles refer to the person or groups of people who take charge on each aspect of the strategy, implementing and controllong them.

When Amazon started out, it is generally an online book store, with side products that avid web visitors can buy occasionally. The idea, it seems, was to bring convenience to the reading web consumers. (Amazon. com, 2006) Barnes& Noble on the other hand started out as an online “educationsystem,” and courses were free. The book store phase comes when students start the class, as they are encouraged to buy the references from the site. The idea is to give free training, and sell books that students can use to maximize those trainings. (Barnesandnoble. com, 2006) Strategic Change

Strategic change, on the other hand, is making an improvement or modifying an existing strategy. There are different reasons why strategies are modified, the most recurrent of which is the inefficacy of a strategy. From an online book shop with occasional gifts and extra items, Amazon now carries many consumer goods—from the pioneering items books,music, and movies, clothing, electronics, household items, even event registries. The strategic change was from an online bookstore into an online shopping site, yet the mission is still to bring convenience to Amazon’s consumers.

(Amazon. com, 2006) Barnes&Noble has adopted a similar strategic change, but it chose to stick with the writing-reading consumers in mind. The site, apart from the B&N University which offers free courses now sells books, stationeries, pens, and other gifts that writers and readers, as well as their friends, can appreciate. There is still the occasional stray items not intended for writers or readers, like toys and playthings and outdoor equipment, but they do not affect the general feel that Barnes&Noble was created with a specific market in mind. (Barnesandnoble.

com, 2006) The two organizations’ strategy formations were different—one opted to be a store while the other started out as an online school. However, they both had readers and writers as their costumers in mind. The strategic change, however, was a little bit similar as both sites branched out to selling more than books. The strategic change differed with the type of items that each site chose to sell. In the end, Amazon and Barnes&Noble’s strategy were based on their target markets, explaining why they were similar and different in their own respects.

While B&N tried to touch base with their reading and writing customers, Amazon hoped to reach not just this market, but more. References Process of Strategy Formation. (n. d. ). Strategy Formation Chapter 3, 105-162. Retrieved July 20, 2006, from http://userwww. sfsu. edu/