Last spring while visiting a prospective university with our oldest son, my wife and I found ourselves in a men’s clothing store that we had paid a visit to a couple years earlier while in the same town. I remembered having a good customer experience the first time and thought I would just pop in for a quick look. Sixty minutes later I walked out with a new suit, two shirts, some ties, and a few other accessories. The gentlemen helping us out was someone I felt comfortable with as he previously owned another men’s clothing store that I frequented close to our hometown. He was also very knowledgeable about his product and took away every barrier for me to buy. Even when I said, “Your store is 90 minutes away and I can’t drive back here next week to pick up the new suit after you alter it,” he said, “No problem, I’ll personally deliver it to your house as I live not too far away.” Wow, now that’s a customer experience, I thought!
Perhaps you have a story of your own that matches an experience like this, or maybe you’ve had an experience that was less than favorable and you would just like to forget it. It may even be possible that you’ve had a bad experience with us somewhere in our history together, and if so, please read on to get to the good stuff and find out why you should try us again.
So what’s new at Book Depot? Over the last five years we have spent millions of dollars investing in our customer experience. It started with a major overhaul of our 450,000 square foot warehouse, as we retrofitted it with over one mile of conveyors to move product efficiently around the warehouse and ultimately out the door to our customers. The impact of this automation has been nothing short of dramatic for the customer experience—we have the best fill rate in the industry at over 99.05% and also the fastest order turnaround time, with most orders being shipped in 3-4 business days.
In 1997 we launched the first bargain book B2B website, and today we have the most user-friendly website with the largest selection of bargain book titles anywhere in the world. When the site was redesigned two-and-a-half years ago it was important that we made the site responsive so that all our customers, no matter the device they were shopping on, would have the same great experience. If you have not been on our website in the last three years, please take a look; I know you’ll be impressed with what you see and the ease with which you can shop for bargain books all from the convenience of your office (or wherever life takes you!) on your PC, smartphone, or tablet.
As I said in the opening part of this article, I was impacted by a particularly amazing team member of the men’s store I visited. I know that today we have the team at Book Depot that can provide that same amazing experience to you. This past year we invested in our sales and customer service team and held a two day intensive sales training with John Asher Sales Training. Today, our sales team has a combined experience in the book industry of over 90 years, and along with that comes a wealth of product knowledge. Maybe you’re someone who would rather not shop online—no problem. Give us a call at 1-800-801-7193, ext. 229 and ask to speak to a member of our sales team. Or perhaps you enjoy shopping the website but need some occasional help from a member of our customer service team. Give us a call and I guarantee you’ll be impressed with the level of service you will receive, as we have completely revamped our customer service department by training and empowering our team members to help our customers. This year we are continuing to invest in our sales team with the launch of Salesforce, which will give our people even more tools to grow and maintain excellent customer relations.
As you can see, Book Depot continues to take the long-term view on the bargain book industry. We wouldn’t be investing millions of dollars in our company if we didn’t believe in the future of books or in the future of our company. Rather than taking out as much of the profits as possible, we continue to invest for the long term in order to deliver the best customer experience in the industry. I’m excited to say that we continue to push the limits of technology, and this past year has been no exception as we launched and completed one of our most exciting projects to date. New automated sortation equipment (watch video) enables us to sort more books, process them quicker, and assist us in providing you with an even better selection of titles. However, all the infrastructure and systems are worthless if we couldn’t offer you the quality product that we have. We have agreements in place so that shopping here gives you access to bargain books from all the major publishers and many smaller imprints. This past year we added some key new suppliers that have complemented our mix to the point where I am confident in saying that our selection has never been better in the 30 years of being in this business.
Maybe you’ve just had a bad experience with bargain books. If that is the case, consider with me the following for a moment. In November 2015, bookstore sales were up 7.5% versus the previous year and overall 2015 sales are up over the previous year. We are hearing encouraging reports from many of our customers that business is growing and their customers are delighted to have a local bookstore where they can browse, shop, and generally spend a few hours “hanging out.” As the owners of one retail bookstore ourselves, we have experienced the same trend with year-over-year sales being up strongly. What are we hearing from our customers? They love the personal service—the experience of touching and feeling the printed book while being able to get assistance from our knowledgeable customer service team. They love the ability to just browse around and find new favorite authors or titles they would never have thought to buy online. Oh and most of all, they love the bargains.
Everybody loves a bargain right? As a bookstore owner there’s no one who should love a bargain more than you. As mentioned above it is very encouraging to see revenue growth in the category, but ultimately as business owners you need profitable growth. Top line is vanity, bottom line is reality. Let’s face it, double-digit sales growth is fantastic, but if the bottom line is not moving at the same pace, you’re not happy. And you shouldn’t be. This is where bargain books can help you. With a margin that is often double the margin you can achieve with new books, you cannot afford to be without bargain books in your store. With the advance of smartphones, tablets, and eReaders, we’ve seen many changes in the industry and in our business over the years. However, one thing has not changed: booklovers will never lose the appreciation for the tactile experience of the printed book.
If you’re a long-time customer, thank you for your loyalty and for the trust you have placed in us over the years. If this is your first time back after many years, I would encourage you to spend some time browsing our website so you can see for yourself our large selection and the changes we have made to our business. I’m confident you will find that shopping with us is a way to save time and money, and those are powerful benefits in today’s market. If you would rather not shop via our website, please call us and ask to speak to one of our experienced sales representatives, who would be happy to assist you by tailoring a list of products for your specific needs.
Book Depot is the single best seller in bargain books. Our vast selection of titles and fast processing times make us a valuable one-stop shop, cutting down on your purchasing time and overhead costs. More choice. Less time and cost.