Monday, August 27, 2012

Storefront Positions

Therese says: I missed the event Morgan attended at Jan's Paperbacks last Saturday but on Wednesday morning I wandered through Barnes & Noble. It wasn't on purpose, my intention was the sporting goods store around the corner, but I had plenty of time before a noon meeting and writers like being surrounded by books. I know the store well enough to notice recent changes and thought maybe I'd see something interesting to share about product placement...
The main section for school supplies is on the top floor, east corner, the romance and mystery racks are in the west corner. These are considered high traffic destinations and positioned so buyers who walk through the store for a specific purchase pass by lots of end caps, tables, and strategic displays. The children's section can only be reached by navigating through the music and videos section, then an aisle of racks and tables featuring the latest buzzed books.

But instead of noticing the marketing, I found myself remembering the 1998 movie, "You've Got Mail." This romance story featured the anonymity of dating, via email, behind snappy screen names. The conflict stemmed from the local bookstores closing their doors because the mega bookstores were opening across the street. How quickly that's changing! The mega bookstores are scrambling for customers and the local shops are reopening and having more fun making direct connections between readers and authors.
Indie shops are becoming more popular and the owners have much more flexibility than the mega stores. Bookstore owners can choose favorite authors to promote, they can have a used books section and swap process, they also have the opportunity to hand sell their products directly to readers. Sales are still primarily a physical book purchase process but these Indie shops could be the fertile ground where epubbed authors will partner with booksellers in some cool and innovative way. ** Anything we hear about - we'll be sharing! Maybe something using distinct QR Codes? **
With the initial opening of the mega stores, shoppers suddenly discovered the joy of reading books! There were lots of customers! But these were not avid readers who had frequented the local bookshops and libraries. Many of mega store customers were infrequent readers enticed with the new fad. Avid readers stayed loyal to the local bookstores until the end. In many ways this story has been mirrored with the sudden frenzy of digital readers and free ebooks, a new fad. However, the avid readers, especially those devoted to specific genres, were the big chunk of change that shifted quickly from book stores to ebooks.

Storefront Positions, and many of the separate racks, endcaps, and table displays, are spaces rented by the publishers as promotion spots. It's a good strategy since anyone walking into a bookstore is probably going to buy a book. It's that first glance, and be seen, objective that is a primary part of making a sale.

And for an added insight: Our local Barnes & Noble stays open an hour later than the other stores at the mall. It is where singles like to spend their evenings and maybe meet other singles. This puts a new spin on "who" is in the storefront for that first glance and be seen position.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to questions.

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