With hundreds of online booksellers, your bookstore has to offer customers more than just physical books and a fun recyclable bag. At this point, your main competition isn't other bookstores, it's your customers' comfy couch.
The best way to keep your customer's returning is creating an experience. We’ve witnessed local coffee shops turn a sterile environment into a lively and cozy spot with music nights, free wifi, and author events. Using this concept you can use your bookstore design to turn your business into the one spot in your neighborhood where everyone wants to gather.
Narrow Down the Choices
Customers are able to locate a general bookstore anywhere, and the larger stores have a larger budget to attract customers. Why try to compete against large franchises? Take another direction and narrow down your inventory to general specialties. Find a topic you love that fits in with your neighborhood, and become an expert on every book you can find connected to that topic.
For example, is your store downtown near many restaurants? Make your store the go-to shop in the state when it comes to finding rare cookbooks, videos, and games. Creating an inventory influenced by your customer’s needs will drive people to your store. Not only will you attract customers, but this allows you to build customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.
Your Online Presence
Aim to make your website a fun introduction to your store, not just an online bookstore. Everything on the site should be aimed at attracting customers and increasing traffic in your brick and mortar building. Make sure your website is user-friendly and showcases the personality of your bookstore.
With social media becoming a popular outlet to market your business, it is important to engage with your customers by holding contests, promoting discounts, announcing special events, and encouraging conversations about books. You can even go a step further by creating a blog. This will not only drive customers to your website, but it will showcase your store's personality.
The Physical Experience
You walk into a bookstore. What is the first thing you notice? The smell, the natural lighting, or the comfy reading nooks? It's important for you to turn your store into a fun, relaxing place that customers make a point to spend time browsing. Organization can be key to the amount of time your customers stay in your store. Make sure your shelves are clearly labeled by genre or categories, so it is easy for your customers to find what they need. It is also important to build a floor plan with open space. A bookstore layout that is open provides an inviting space for your customers. Keep in mind minimum isle spacing to allow customers that are scanning the shelves to have enough room for those pass by.
Lighting creates an ambiance and mood. Big storefront windows will allow natural light to stream through your store. But if windows aren’t an option make sure to add bright lighting to eliminate dark, shadowy corners. More than likely, a customer who is relaxed will be more apt to purchase a book.
Show Off Your Books
Display “Best Sellers” near the front of your store, at the end of isles, or near the register. This bookstore layout will allow customers to immediately see what your store has to offer without having them search. Go beyond popular books, and partner with a local author to create special merchandising areas to feature their book each month. It is important to note that seasonal displays will provoke customers to make impulse buys.
It is up to you to attract them to your store through various ways. If you make shopping at your store an experience, it is likely that you will increase your customer loyalty by a remarkable amount.
One Good Idea Deserves Another
What’s your idea for events and activities to enhance your independent bookstore experience? No matter your goals, Ingram’s vast resources for retailers can help make it happen. Find out how to capture every opportunity that comes your way here!