Whether you buy ebooks from a website, a store built into your reader or an app, it still tends to be an unexciting experience thanks to a lack of vision by retailers who are failing to capitalise on the benefits of ‘digital’ selling.
While some retailers such as Waterstone’s allow book tokens and gift cards to be used against the purchase of ebooks, many others don’t and none offer the multi-buy deals associated with paper books.
Beyond replicating the traditional book buying experience, there are other initiatives retailers could take to liven up the shopping experience, for example:
LOYALTY & TIED PRICING
Publishers may be moving to less flexible pricing but why not work with them to offer customers a ‘loyalty’ discount based around purchases of books in a series or by a single author?
Let’s say I buy one of the Adrian Mole books, why not encourage me to buy more in the range by offering some form of discount or loyalty points for every additional book in the series?
Rather than front loading massive discounts on the latest books as some retailers do, this loyalty programme could offer more modest reductions at the outset, with the biggest discount or bonus applied to later purchases.
Or, if I add The Hobbit to my basket, why not offer me a bundle price if I buy Lord of the Rings at the same time?
At present very few retailers really make much effort with recommended purchases, yet their knowledge of what you’ve bought allows for a much more targeted approach than has ever previously possible.
Imagine I’ve just seen the The Runaway Jury on DVD and decide to buy the book. A retailer can easily see that I’m buying my first ever John Grisham from them so why not use that opportunity to offer me a bundle of 2 or 3 Grisham titles which have also had the Hollywood treatment?
Or, why not offer an ‘Essential Grisham’ selection just as Apple’s iTunes does with music?
The possibilities of engaging with an audience is far higher in the digital commerce world than just shoving the same list of recommended titles in front of every customer and asking them to rate a purchase from 1-5 stars. The only true limitation is retailer’s imagination…
These ideas deliberately compliment my recent post on why retailers have nothing to fear from opening up their apps and involve some investment or time and, in some cases, money, on the part of booksellers.
I wanted to set out how, by offering incentives for repeat purchases and an informed, and genuine, two-way relationship, retailers could retain custom without relying on DRM prohibitions to lock customers into their app or devices.
Surely the best customer is one who chooses to buy from you, not who is forced to?