Books are a product that can always look amazing in curated in-store displays. But increasingly bricks and mortar retailers can't always rely on passing footfall to earn sales.  Visibility in the digital world is critical for reaching new and existing customers.

We know many of you are using social media to promote your books. We love seeing it! But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through online, so here are some of our tips for maximum success.

Books on a shelf in a retail setting

Make books a seamless part of the online journey

As with your physical shop, many of your customers won’t necessarily be visiting your website with books in mind. Instead, they might be arriving at your website seeking inspiration. Are books visible on your home page? Are they included in all appropriate categories, for example a gifts under £20 section or as part of your children’s or homewares pages? Websites can offer great opportunities for cross promotion. Try flagging up relevant books as a “product you might want to add” at the basket stage of your customer’s online journey, and you might see book sales increase.

Start a conversation, not a sales pitch

Behaviour on social media is constantly changing and the latest research suggests that users are experiencing sales fatigue. Most people just want to use these platforms to connect with people. So, if you’ve noticed a decrease in engagement with your social media posts, don’t be too disheartened, this is the likely reason why. It doesn’t mean you should stop using social media but instead dial down on the selling and think of it instead as a tool to build a sense of community with and between your customers. Books can be great conversation starters. Try connecting the books you sell with a media event or an awareness day or ask your staff to share reviews of the books you sell. For a bit of interactivity ask your customers what types of books they’d like to see you sell more of.

Create a focal point

We know how busy you all are! How often does social media get neglected as a result? We hear you! For those of you with a substantial book range, building in a regular slot, such as a Book of the Month, might remove some pressure and will also generate interest in your books. You could theme it to link to the focus of your business, for example cookbook of the month or children’s book of the month. It is something that works well for bookshops, but there’s no reason why different types of retailers can’t try it too.

Tell a story through imagery

coastal themed products on a beach

Your social media photography can operate as an extension of your in-store product displays by telling a story. Use gifting occasions as a prompt to pair books with complementary products to help your customers visualise a gift package for a loved one. Think about who your target customer is and what their interests and motivations might be, and stage a scene with a book to appeal directly to them. Featuring a book as part of a wider package can be an effective way to inspire a sale. 

Book-themed newsletter

As we know, using social media isn't always the most reliable way to reach your audience, so a well-crafted email newsletter can be a more direct alternative. Consider making it book-themed to target those customers who have shown an interest in your books. You can include news of stock-drops, new titles, or staff recommendations. There are some free easy-to-use tools available to help you craft newsletters and sign-up prompts.  

Jump on the TikTok bandwagon

TikTok is no longer just for bored teenagers. The platform hosting bitesize DIY videos has achieved mass popularity. It hosts a popular book community that has been credited with boosting the books sales of some recent bestsellers. So if you want to seek out book buyers, TikTok is a worthwhile place to be. Not only that, the app is set to overtake Google as the go-to search engine for Gen Z. Successful content on TikTok is authentic and fun. A quick video of a Bookspeed unboxing could make a great first post!

Provide a direct route to purchase

This might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s surprising how often it is neglected. When you are operating in the online environment, whether on social or using email, don’t forget to offer your customers a direct route to purchase via a clearly visible link to your website. Instagram still makes this challenging but there are ways around it. Including a link in the Instagram bio is a popular approach but it has its limitations. There are tools, for example Linktree, that allow you to host multiple links in the bio url space, which is handy when you want to direct customers to specific products or collections. You can also add links to Instagram Stories using one of the stickers. For those with advanced skills, the app’s inbuilt shopping features are useful.

Work with Bookspeed

If you’re looking for a partner to support your book retail needs, get in touch. We can help you curate and source book ranges.

Contact us