Whether you’ve always had bargain books in your store or you’re just getting started, here are four key points that will help your sales soar! Learn about the best place to merchandise your bargain books, effective strategies for signage, how bargain book prices make both you and your customers happy, and the best way to get the word out.
The great thing about independent bookstores is they are all unique and vary widely in size, shape, and character. Not all of these ideas may be applicable for your store, but here are some things you can try:
Cash Counter is King
Placing a stack of your favorite bargain book at the cash desk is the perfect impulse buy—a great price and your recommendation is all the convincing your customers need to take it home.
If you have the room in your store, create a bargain book section separate from all your other categories. Use tables, shelf sections, or even a cart. This can become a destination for your customers in your store. You can have it right at the front to grab your customers’ attention and also create that buying opportunity where they pick up a low-cost item they weren’t looking for but can’t pass up. If you sell sidelines in your store, you may want to keep your bargain section in this area.
Nothing attracts customers more than a table or cart full of deals outside a store. We all know the best deals can be found on the sidewalk. Bring your books outside and people will stop to browse—even if they weren’t planning on shopping for a book (perish the thought!).
Having a pallet display or dump bin of bargain books at the front of the store will create a “treasure hunt” feel, which many customers love. They will flip through the books to find hidden gems they didn’t know they needed!
This is another important piece in making bargain books a success in your store. Bargain books are great deals, but no one will know that without the proper signage.
It’s important that your signage be big and bold so your customers don’t miss it.
Save, Save, Save!
When customers see a sign saying “save 50-75%” or “everything $5 and less” they won’t be able to resist. Showing your customers the savings with proper signage is key.
Make shopping a breeze for your customers by having category signs within your bargain section. Some people may like digging through hundreds of books, but others may only want to look at certain categories, so having your section well signed is important. Your time is valuable, and so is your customer’s.
Customers love a bargain, and with bargain books great prices for them can still mean fantastic margins for you! Crunch on these:
You can generally buy bargain books for anywhere from 70% – 95% off the original price, allowing you to offer a great deal to your customers.
Your Sale Price
You should offer your customers at least 50% off the original price of the book—this kind of sale is what will catch your customers’ attention and keep them coming back for more.
Don’t forget to factor your shipping costs into the price of each book. If you ordered 100 books and the ship cost was $50, add $0.50 to the price of each book. So if you bought a cookbook that originally retailed for $30 at a wholesale cost of $4, and sold it for $10, that’s a margin of 60%. That means your customer is saving a whopping 66%. It’s a win-win, and everyone goes home (or to the bank) happy.
Marketing & Events
Carrying bargain books in your store is like having a year-round savings party for your customers, but every now again you may want to kick it up a notch.
Bigger is Better
Consider having a special sale, such as “buy 3 for the price of 2” or “3 for $10.” Make it a limited-time event to create a sense of urgency. Better get it while you can!
Get the Word Out
Knowledge is power! Keep your customers informed by leveraging your store’s website (which you update often, right?), and don’t forget social media. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to reach your customers on a daily basis. Share specials, promotions, a hot title, a cool quote; it will keep your store top of mind. Consider collecting customer emails so you can send out a monthly newsletter, but be sure not to overdo this because no one loves a spammer. Print advertising in a local newspaper is another option, especially to promote a big event. Even a chalkboard easel on the sidewalk will help draw customers in.
No matter how you decide to merchandise bargain books in your store, don’t be afraid to try new things, and remember to always keep it fresh. Continually bringing in new titles and changing up your displays will ensure that your customers are always coming back to see what’s new.