Omnichannel strategies are cited as a key success factor for retail growth. As a result they are increasing in popularity in the retail world. As customers expect more and more from brands, it is becoming increasingly important to reach their expectations. Companies that adopt an omnichannel strategy experience a 91% higher customer retention rate than those who don’t. As a result it is becoming an increasingly attractive strategy to adopt for both retailer and customer.
This article is going to explore a few ways that you can link your offline and online channels to drive your book sales. Here are four ways you can use an omnichannel strategy to create more interesting book displays.
For shops that sell books that involve the creation of something — woodworking books or craft books, for example — social media can provide you with a real boost. You can use your social media accounts to collect images and quotes about what the book helped your customers achieve. For example, you could tweet asking customers who bought your best-selling woodworking books to tweet pictures of what they made using what they learned. You can then accompany the book the next month with images and quotes that customers have provided you with. This offers you some social evidence and creates more of a community feel for your customers to engage with.
You could take this a step further by placing simple bookmarks in books that you are hoping to promote in the future. The bookmarks could be printed with a message that encourages customers to share their current projects with you online. Of course, you will also need to include your social handles so they know where to find you.
By approaching an idea like this one from both angles, you begin to integrate your online and offline promotions. Take it a step further by posting the images and comments on your website and highlighting relevant books. You could even use a scrolling banner on your homepage and link it to a customer interview about what they have made using one of your books.
Promotions like this, help you to draw attention to specific books both online and offline. They also allow your customers to read about your chosen books online, ready to stumble upon them in-store. You could even consider keeping your website updated with the number of copies of each book left in stock in-store. This will remind customers that they can come to the shop and flick through the book before they buy it if they don’t feel like purchasing it right away online.
Use upcoming events and seasons to help you spice up your book displays. Use something like a chalkboard or a peg letter board to write promotional messages and get a little creative with them. So, you could go with a classic table filled with romance novels and a promotion for Valentine’s Day books. Or, you could ask customers about books they treasure as part of their marriage and write the quotes on the board above the books to promote them. You could even go a step further by promoting books two months before Christmas that help someone make their loved one something special.
Also linked with the seasons are school terms. Even if you do not sell books that naturally lend themselves to a topic, don’t forget that many students are rewarded for reading around their subject. For example, a Spanish student may purchase a book that is written by a Spanish author if you highlight to them about how it comments on Spanish culture.
There will be certain times of the year when this is most relevant. For example, around exam time, it is unlikely that many students will have the time to read outside of their course books. But if you present this option to them at the beginning of term when they feel like they have time and they’re wanting to get on top of things for the coming year, you may find that you are onto a winner.
As with the project books ideas, look to continue these promotions over onto your website, social media and email marketing. By creating a weekly blog that covers one of these promotions in an exciting way, you can also encourage people to visit your website while adding some excellent content for Google.
Why not hold an event to help sell your books? Of course, you could go with a classic book signing and reading, or if this is a little outside of your scope, you could come at it from another angle. Perhaps you could hold a competition to win something from your shop. For example, you could advertise online and in-store that you are holding a competition for the person who draws the best picture using your ‘how to draw animals’ book, or the person who creates the best version of a knitted bunny in your ‘how to knit bunnies’ book.
You could even reward people by entering those who make recommendations into a prize draw. This helps you by giving you quotes to post online and write next to your books, but also by getting customers involved and encouraging them to interact with your brand.
Does your book have any relevance to something that is happening online or popular culture? For example, one might promote a Dr Phil biography with the “Howbow dah” or “Cash me ousside” slogans that are present throughout social media at the moment.
These will take a little patience to come up with, as you cannot always have something that perfectly fits something that is current. But often enough, you will find you can come up with a clever pun or something that is relevant to the news. Once you have found something, roll with it both in-store and online.
By choosing relevant things, you offer customers a few ways to react and interact. It might be just a quick smile as they walk past the section, or it might be the opportunity to read about something they’d like to know more about in an educative way. Either way, it is likely to be more engaging than a money off offer deal — and you don’t have to compromise your margins.
As well as the in-store engagement factor, there’s also the online interaction factor. If you’re tweeting and Facebook posting about relevant things, you’re more likely to get your posts picked up as the topics trend.
One way to come up with topics that are related to current affairs is to stay up to date with the news and to read blogs around your subject. These could include things like reading Neil Patel’s marketing blog if you sell business books and highlighting relevant marketing books as they arise.
There are, of course, many ways to drive omnichannel book sales, but these are just a few to start you off. If you have any of your own that have worked particularly well for you, I would love to hear about them!
About the author
Ali Newton is the Strategy and Marketing Manager for The Display Centre, where a team of creative experts provide store display equipment, including adult and child mannequins and bespoke items. Ali combines her fine art and fashion qualifications with her market research experience and psychology degree to help retailers drive their sales.