The number of online bookstores is growing every day though the number of people who are fond of reading and take it as a hobby is coming down due to the availability of alternative options of passing time. Nowadays people have access to e-books in different websites and tend to read them in pdf format rather than buying a hardcover which saves their money.
But still, there are bookworms around the world for whom books are their best friends. If you can identify your market and have the drive, then your bookstore can be up and running in a few months.
Online bookstores can cut costs and potentially reach out to a wider variety of customers. Here are some steps to start a bookstore business online.
The first step is to do research, you must find out where can you buy the books at a wholesale rate, developing relationships with a wide variety of distributors or publishers will provide you the opportunity to buy them at a cheap rate and in bulk. This will enable you to sell your products to the customers at a marked-up price. Another important part of the research is to know about the kind of competition existing in the market.
In order to differentiate your products from the rest of the market, it becomes imperative to gain knowledge about your contenders and the genre of books they are selling and which of them are popular. You should apply a customer’s perspective while researching about the market and make note of the things that attracts you as a customer.
You should also take a look at the stores that are under-performing as this will keep you informed about the mistakes that lead to losses in your business. You can exploit the gaps in the market to make inroads quickly and recognize the ways of making your business profitable.
Focus On a Specific Genre
People from all over the world will have access to your online bookstore as well as others. You will have to compete with those who are already established in the market so there needs to be a specialty in your bookstore that attracts the customers and keep them loyal.
You need to collect an impressive inventory to give the customers enough choice. In order to stand out in the market, you can focus on a specific genre and specialize in selling it. This will give you a better chance of building loyalty with specific customers from whom you will receive orders frequently all throughout the year. You can choose romantic novels, horror, drama, comics, thrillers etc.
For example, if you are selling romantic novels then your whole site should be dedicated based on that theme to appeal to those customers who are fond of reading romantic novels. You need to stock your inventory based on the genre that you choose and the corresponding target group. You can also supply books to libraries in schools and colleges at a cheaper rate, in that case, you cannot focus on specific genres and also include books that are required in the curriculum of schools and colleges.
Purchasing a Domain and Hosting
The store requires a name, host and a website. The name should be related to the business and also something that the customers can relate to and instantly captures their interest. In the case of the domain and host providers, you will be spoilt for choice and have plenty of options to choose from.
You should be prudent in comparing the prices and features to choose the best option as this will bring down the business costs and make sure that the online store functions smoothly. An experienced web designer should be hired to design the website to exact specifications. The website design should be nice and attractive.
The product details should be mentioned clearly along with the company’s belief, vision etc. In addition to that, your site must also have a shopping cart with 128-bit security encryption, customers should feel secure in making online payments on the website. The website must be appealing with product images as the customers will view the books virtually and not in person.
The photos should clearly depict the condition of the books so that the customers can decide whether to buy them or not, this will spare your bookstore from getting a negative review. A list of best sellers should be uploaded on the website to keep the customers informed about the popular books. The website should be promoted in a way that it reaches out maximum to those people that are in more need of your products or comes under your target groups and the customer service should be exceptional.
Information like publishers, publishing year should be available on the website for all the books that you are selling. Feedback should also be taken from customers through online rating and there should be a section in the website that caters to the grievances of the customers relating to services, payments etc.
Using social media platforms can help you to reach out a large number of people. You can use the platform for promotion and answering the queries of your customers. Online ads and content can also help in promoting your bookstore.
Discounts should be given throughout the year to attract customers, you can also keep deals buy two and get one free if someone is interested in buying more than one book in a specific niche or of a specific writer.
If you are a newcomer in the market, you will want to find a shopping cart that gives you plenty of room to work with limited technical expertise. Developing a business model constitutes the next step- the operational, financial plans of your business and the timeline.
You should not launch all the genres at the same time and include a trial period in your timeline, once you are confident that particular genres are getting more popular than the others then you start focusing on those specific genres. You can take expert advice before launching to have an idea about the nature of the business and the market.
Budgeting and Accounting
You need to fix a budget before starting. Accounting the business will help you to remain updated about the profits earned and the losses incurred and also the financial performance of your store. Faulty and unwise investments can be curtailed if you are aware of the reasons for which you suffered losses and the avenues of generating more revenue.
Hence starting an online bookstore can be a good business idea if you can make your bookstore appealing to the customers by offering variety and well as specifics. Your bookstore should contain huge volumes of books that are popular in the market and trending. It should also contain those books that are quite old but popular and not easily available in the retail market. The packaging should be proper and attractive, it can also contain bookmarkers in them to make reading more comfortable.
You should also be aware of the legalities affecting your business. You can definitely be the owner of a popular online bookstore if you can follow the steps mentioned above perfectly, remain patient and possess the skills of managing and supervising the business efficiently.
Reading is a very good habit. Through this, you get huge knowledge from different resources. Here is the infographic which gives you more knowledge of why reading is a good habit and its Rising. Read more