We’ve all taken a hit from the recent economic downturn. Employment has been cut, both chains and independent shops are having to call it a day on their businesses and there is now decreasing financial support for jobseekers and the unemployed. The Bookseller provides an interesting insight into recent developments in the bookselling industry. Not only that, the momentum that technology has gained in recent years means that there is less and less need for books, cd’s and DVD’s. Why go out and buy a physical copy when you can download straight to your tv or tablet? This laziness is inherent throughout the consumer industry, and so we find more and more people linking their entertainment directly to their home instead of seeking them out in a shop. This combined with the economic context in which shopkeepers are struggling, means that there is a real danger of your business going under. But there is hope! For booksellers like me, there are a few tactics you can employ:
Spaces to read: Make your bookshop not only a place to sell books, but a place to sit and read them too! By creating a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere where people can sit and peruse your books, you will create a rapport with your customers, which will most definitely ensure that they revisit your shop. Throw a few beanbags around and even make some coffees – soon you will have a thriving, social hub to rival Starbucks!
Events: Events like World Book Day are a perfect excuse to throw your doors open to the public! Find a willing employee then splash out on a costume of your favourite children’s book character. This will bring the local families over to your store for a day of fun and games. Serving juice and biscuits will keep customers in for longer, and all the attention your shop will get will breathe new life into your business.
Manage your finances: It’s time to relinquish your tight grip on your financial dealings! As a part-time bookseller, I found that keeping on top of both my personal and business accounts meant that I wasn’t putting the right amount of time and concentration on either, and both suffered as a result. In the end I handed over my finances to the very competent Acacia Accounting and it did me the world of good – one less thing to stress about, and I could get on with drawing in the customers!
In the past year, my business has transformed from a stuffy, moth-bitten bookshop into an energetic, social family space where the books are flying off the shelves. By taking focus off the financial side of things and instead concentrating on marketing my business, I managed to save it from going under and I’m confident I can see out the economic troubles and come up smiling!
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