Bookstore Marketing Ideas: Create Relationships That Last

With e-books and online stores becoming increasingly popular, there have been a number of physical bookstores go out of business in the recent years. Even the oldest Australian bookshop is preparing to close its doors, and its history of more than 170 years did not help to keep it in business. Bluetrain's industry analysis suggests that only the very best stores will be able to survive and thrive. How do you make sure that your bookstore is one of them? Build customer loyalty through relationship marketing.

Start a book club

A book club can take a variety of forms: story reading for young kids, a forum where readers discuss the same book they are all reading or a place to share each reader's favourite book. You can choose one group to focus on, depending on the readership that you aim to expand, or you can run several different book clubs each week. This will bring booklovers into your shop and will create a sense of community.

Send out a newsletter

Keep your customers informed about the latest book arrivals and the events you are running. Send interesting book-related articles and reviews. A regular newsletter will keep your store at the front of your customers mind and will deepen your relationship even while the customers are not physically in front of you. Offer a free e-book or, if you are able, even a physical book as an incentive for people to join your mailing list.

Customise your name badges

It is essential that your staff members wear name badges to make it easy for your customers to identify them and ask for help. The top reason why shoppers leave a store without a purchase is because they cannot find the product they are looking for. Do not let that happen to your customers. Books can be difficult to locate, and your customers will appreciate it when help is easily available.

The name badge can also become a relationship-building tool when you add an interesting call to action. Here is some information to include on the badge to turn it into a conversation-starter.

  • The staff member's preferences in literature. When a customer knows that someone else shares their interests, they are more likely to mention what they have read lately, start a discussion or ask for recommendations.
  • Invitation to the book club. If you are running several groups, simply put 'Ask me about our book club' on the name badge and allow the staff member to offer more information when approached.
  • Invitation to join the newsletter.
  • An interesting quote, especially if it relates to books.