As a digital bookseller, it’s an increasingly tough place to make profits and gain a loyal customer base. E-commerce juggernauts like Amazon have been tightening their hold on the market for buying and selling books, but there is still a passionate base of customers who value getting their books from independent sellers. If you want your bookstore to compete with the likes of Amazon, who have enormous resources that are staggering to think about, you’ve got to know how to make the best of your digital assets. You’ll need to work on growing your reach and offering a truly valuable experience to your customers.
Your e-commerce platform is the biggie when it comes to book-selling digital tools at your disposal; it must be simple to use, easy to check out and aesthetically excellent to look at. There are plenty of e-commerce platforms that you could choose that allow you to get started selling your books quickly and easily. These can include a wide range of tools that will help you make the most of your business, such as analytic tools, in-built payment gateways and much more. You could also consider hiring a web developer to build a bespoke website for your business and brand.
A blog can be a great way to connect with your audience and offer a unique experience that bigger brands struggle to achieve. You can show your customers who you are and what your story is through your blog, helping sell your business as an independent and relatable place. You’ll need to post content regularly and ensure that it is high quality, entertaining and simple to digest. Naturally, it must also be primarily related to books and bookselling; you could make a series on how books are made, how independent booksellers work with authors, how your business started and much more.
Security is paramount for any business that operates online – your customers need to know that you keep their data secure from possible threats or data breaches. From a business viewpoint, keeping your business secure ensures you don’t experience unnecessary downtime or damage to your reputation following a breach. You should use a highly experienced and well-regarded company to help you with your security testing, which can offer a wide range of software solutions to keep your bookstore safe. ForAllSecure is an industry leader in the world of application security software and is an excellent option for a bookseller wanting to protect their customers and their interests.
Content writers can be invaluable for businesses that want to ensure that all of the materials on their website and blog are engaging, well written and easy to digest. While there are tools that you can use to generate content for a blog, these tend to offer generic and lower-quality content compared with personalized content from an experienced, highly trained content writer.
Social media is a powerful digital tool that no modern e-commerce business can go without. Social media can be a tricky thing to manage, particularly for smaller companies – it is often highly beneficial to hire a social media consultant or in-house social media manager to help you maximize the potential for social media. They can manage the information that is released on social media, ensure that there is enough suitable content for your followers each day, and engage with followers on posts and uploads. You should choose someone with extensive, proven experience for this role, as effective social media management is about more than just posting quick content every day. It needs to be curated in keeping with your business’s tone and truly engaging.
Analytic tools can be essential to help grow your business and understand which of your strategies are working and which could be improved upon. You could consider using a free tool, provided it is of good enough quality and from a recognized brand or business. Analytic tools can help you gather information and insights on a range of things, from user activity, lead generation, sales performance, and inventory management.
A live chat function can help you connect with your customers in a way that is easier for you and them. Customers benefit from an instant connection with a human representative of your business, and live chats can ease pressure on your customer service call lines. You could consider using a chatbot to help customers with more basic queries like the status of their delivery or how to arrange a return, with the option to connect with a human operative should they need more specialized help with their order.
Though the indie bookselling industry has faced many difficulties in recent years, many customers are keen to continue using smaller stores over the big name – both brick-and-mortar and digital. To help you make the most of the desire for a personalized experience, you’ll need to ensure that your digital store can keep up with those of the big-name brands. It will need to be intuitive, simple to use and aesthetically pleasing to look at.