How to Make your Bookstore a Reading Hub

As a bookstore owner, you know that competition can be stiff, with both the prevalence of e-readers and rival corporate brick and mortar bookstores staking a claim in your market. Despite these obstacles, running a profitable bookstore is an attainable goal when you utilize the right resources and business strategies. From improving customer engagement to broadening the range of services you provide, we have a few ideas to help you re-envision the transformation of your little book shop into a genuine reader’s paradise. 

Creating an Atmosphere

People seek out and stay in bookstores for their cozy ambiance.  Make it not only a place you want to come into work each day, but also space your customers can find solace in. A bookstore is a second home to bookworms, and as an owner, it’s imperative that you help foster that kind of welcoming environment. Step one is to expand the sensory palette. The aromas of freshly ground coffee and just-baked pastries appeal to more than just the sense of smell. Setting up a quaint coffee shop in your bookstore opens up a realm of new experiences for your customers to enjoy. Who doesn’t like a hot cup of java while reading? Think about how you can put a new spin on an old bookstore staple, whether that be expanding your food selection or brewing only uniquely blended fair trade coffees. 

It’s also a proven fact that people like shopping for items near the checkout area when going into a bookstore. It’s important to consider the many different ways you can get creative in utilizing this space. You might consider setting up unique product displays featuring a myriad of novelty items or customized lanyards, keychains, or bumper stickers. You can even feature your staff’s picks of the week prominently displayed at checkout. 

Tech Savvy

Easy to use, up to date technology makes all the difference in the world. Dealing with an ineffective cash register is a frustrating experience for both employees and customers alike. If your POS (Point Of Sale) system is past its prime, it’s time to consider installing new registered technology. Expand your customer’s payment options by offering tap-to-pay systems and mobile transactions. Having cash on hand is rare these days, and it’s important to cater to customers who prefer cashless transactions. Be sure to list the available payment options with an informative window cling or poster located at the entrance of the shop.

There is also the question of inventory management. Outdated POS systems will be clunky, and slow when you’re trying to locate a product for a customer or track sales of specific titles, authors, or genres. A newer, streamlined system will allow you to provide assistance to your clientele in a snap, saving you both time and patience, and make a weekly inventory as easy as reading a pamphlet.

Get Social, Give Service

Do you find that your book store isn’t reaching enough potential customers? Then social media is your new best friend. These platforms are utilized by countless businesses to promote their brand and reach their target demographic with ease. Create social media pages on Twitter and Facebook for your store where you can promote your products and services. Social media is also a great platform for providing customer service without your clientele even having to leave their homes. The more active you are on social media, the more likely your potential customers will engage with your brand.

Keep Your Ears Open

When you are thinking of innovative ways to bring new life to your book shop, talk to those who interact with them the most: your store associates. Be receptive to criticism and ask what can be improved in the workplace environment as well as what they believe customers want to see more of. You can also solicit opinions from those who truly know your customers best: your customers themselves. Whether written down on opinion forms, on social media or face to face, provide your customers with a number of options for sharing their voices. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what customers and associates come up with. Both parties will also feel appreciated when you involve them and take their opinions seriously. 

Group Up

Book clubs and author events are book store standbys for a reason. Add group events to your calendar poster to give members of the book-loving community the opportunity to engage with one another and browse the newest additions to your collection. Contact local authors to read a chapter from their latest novel, or host a niche book club that challenges readers to expand their literary horizons. Children’s hour is a great way to get the little ones and their parents in – perhaps to hear a local actor read their favorite childhood book. Parents are always looking for fun, interactive experiences for their kids and actors are always looking for ways to make a buck on the side. Providing a space for community bonding is a positive change that sets you apart from the big box book shops, builds trust, and financial support within your neighborhood. 

Cheers To The Future

Stale business is a thing of the past when you take the time to focus on innovation. Brainstorm what else you can do to facilitate more customer engagement with minimal effort on your part. Loyalty programs, book recycling bins, and buy-back options are just a few of the countless ways you can continue to grow your customer base. Maintaining a devoted clientele is the key to small business success. Work hard to make them your first priority and you will reap the rewards with ease.

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