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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
I am a second hand book dealer, have got one of your websites, but have only sold some books to a friend. Been handing out a little ‘blurb’ with each sale, but would really appreciate if you guys could look at the website and suggest what I could do to get moving.Thanks Twyla at dickensbooksnapier.swiftly.nz

Question submitted 12/06/20 @ 03:09pm
Industry: Brand & Marketing
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  • Hi there

    I’ve had a quick look at your website and it appears impossible for search for what I’m looking for in any way at all. I’ve entered a book title, an author’s name or a genre into the search bar, and literally nothing happens.

    I suspect that people visit secondhand bookstores online not to browse, but rather looking for specific books or authors / genres of interest. Unless you can make this happen, it seems unlikely the site will generate any sales at all.

    Selling stuff online is all about understanding why people are seeking to buy online – maybe you could talk to your existing in-person clientele to understand how they would use an online secondhand bookstore?

    Hope that helps…
    Cheers
    Debra

    Hi there.
    I totally agree with Debra but can give you some more insight into traditional book search based on other book retailers we work with

    When a customer searches for a book you are either looking for:
    Specific book
    Specific author – or authors “like this” OR
    Genre

    The website you have is a simple scroll and doesn’t enable someone to easily find what they are seeking – or even cluster “like books” together.

    Even with second-hand book readers they are looking for a genre cluster so they can get to the heart to find the treasure. The search function doesn’t appear to work at all.

    I put in “Jane” as I can see there is a Jane Harper book, but when I press search, nothing comes up. This is going to inhibit the customer flow and your website should enable ease of shopping.

    You need to go back to your website structure and try and integrate some structure that means when you enter a book you can map it to genre, author and title at minimum for customers to easily locate. I would suggest this is a large part of why the site isn’t gaining tractions.

    Have a look at the search on https://www.hardtofind.co.nz/ – it shows the traditionally searched functions.

    Best of luck

    Juanita

    Hi there, I agree with the advice above – people need a reason to come to your site.

    Think the famous second hand bookshop in Paris. What makes it special, why are people from all over the world drawn to it.

    How can you recreate that experience online.

    Another key part opportunity here is to create a community of people that love books and need a venue to find the them, a book club for example.

    There is some PWC research that shows how the internet is facilitating communities of shared interest coming together through special interests like books. It might be worth trying to find that research, it’s about 6 or 7 years old now but very relevant to your business.

    Lastly I’d encourage you to have a think about what you are trying to achieve – what does success look like and therefore what plan needs to be in place to achieve it. Small digestible steps will get you there.

    Good luck
    PB

    Hi there,

    Great advice above. The search is very clearly a big challenge and will help customers that find you in the first place.

    I’ll crack this from an angle I think would helping the broader context of your business.

    I think the key challenge is in building your business and growth strategy so if that’s the case and you’re open to some reading and considering how your business might grow I’d recommend you work through the steps below as a kickstarter.

    I’d start with the lean canvas which can help you to determine your own angle. How you’ll stand out vs the competition. Who your competitors are. What your unique value proposition is. What your unfair advantage is. How you’ll price your services to be competitive and sticky. Is there an opportunity to develop a subscription based model? https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Once you’ve had a crack at the top line canvas I’d then suggest developing a more detailed plan using an old marketing framework: SOSTAC, which stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control.

    * Situation assesses where a business is presently (Where are you now? Who are the competition? What’s the market size? Who are your target customers and where are they? Are there any gaps your business could fill? Etc)

    * Objectives sets the mission or goals for the business (Where do you want to be? What are the 3-5 objectives you have for the business? E.g. For the first year: To grow the business revenues from $x to $x with a profit of x%. To achieve a product sales target of $x. To grow our customer base to x. To drive brand awareness by x%.)

    * Strategy is an overview of how to achieve the objectives (How do you get there? What are the high level strategies you’ll deploy to reach your objectives? E.g. Target customers and drive product sales through launch offers like buy 2 books get the third free. Raise brand awareness in the community using targeted comms, etc etc).

    * Tactics are the details of strategy (e.g. the marketing mix. These are the specific initiatives you’ll employ to deliver on your strategies. E.g. Targeted FB ads, join local business networks, conduct door flyer drops, write articles for local press, offer a recurring revenue bundle such as a subscription to your book service that comes with associated products (e.g. you might set up a book club and give special deals, exclusive presentations etc. This will assist with managing cash flow and provide some predictability on revenues), raise your own profile in the community through social good etc etc).

    * Actions how do you ensure excellent execution of the plan. (E.g. Using simple planning tools you can plot your tactical initiatives across a calendar).

    * Control establishes how you know whether you are getting there (What do you need to monitor? E.g. Put in place simple measurement tools to allow you to understand what tactics are achieve if the best outcome for your business. Use A/B split testing with your ads on FB, monitor if there was a spike in website traffic or sales after an article was published in the local press, after promoting your subscription based offer via, say a member get member offer, did you see a significant uptake? Etc etc).

    By systematically working through each of the areas above you’ll land on a clear direction and the tactical efforts you need to take the business forward.

    Further information can be found here;
    SOSTAC® marketing planning model guide https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/sostac-model/

    When it comes to bringing it all to life it’s really down to you to get creative and think differently to your competitors. What are they doing on the socials, who’s demanding the best position in the market and why, how are they turning up differently. Considering these questions will hopefully lead you to a set of smart strategies and tactics (as part of your sostac plan) to smash the competition!

    Good luck,
Russ

    Thanks Russ, I am a complete amateur online,and have used the site as it was presented to me by (I presume) Maanaki. Thanks anyway.

    Thanks Debra, complete novice at websites, so don’t even know where to start.
    Cheers, TWyla

    Thanks for the advice Juanata, seemed aimed at me, but as I am a complete novice online, I would not even know where to begin, or who to ask.
    Cheers, Twyla

    Hi again – can I suggest you seek out a digitally-savvy teenager in your local community who is interested in help you with your website? Your local highschool probably has an IT class, or something like that, and may even have an afterschool computer club. Polytechs are also a great source of young talent, who know this stuff and could be incredibly grateful for a small amount of pay AND the opportunity to work on a real life site. Just an idea.

    Hi Twyla,
    Just reconnect with whoever built your site. They should set it up for you. But you will need to give the the knowledge of what categories or genres you need. Copy another stores but you will know what works for how you sort your books:
    Fiction
    – Popular
    – Science
    – Romance
    etc, etc

    Non-Fiction
    Historical
    Business
    Wellness
    Cooking

    Kids
    etc etc

    You don’t have to be tech savvy but you do need to know your customer and how you think they go searching for books. That’s what makes you a book expert/retailer.

    Good luck.

    Hi Twyla,
    Just reconnect with whoever built your site. They should set it up for you. But you will need to give the the knowledge of what categories or genres you need. Copy another stores but you will know what works for how you sort your books:
    Fiction
    – Popular
    – Science
    – Romance
    etc, etc

    Non-Fiction
    Historical
    Business
    Wellness
    Cooking

    Kids
    etc etc

    You don’t have to be tech savvy but you do need to know your customer and how you think they go searching for books. That’s what makes you a book expert/retailer.

    Good luck.

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