Trying to compete with Big Booksellers
While it’s tough for small businesses to compete on price and shipping speed, those who want to succeed in the market need to stop considering massive retailers as direct competition.
Lean into what makes you unique—especially if it’s something the massive retailers could never achieve:
Differentiate your brand. Work on having a solid brand story, mission, and set of clear values that attract customers looking to support businesses that care about the same things. Consumer trends during the pandemic saw a shift in favor of brands with a social mission.
Be hyper focused. A bookstore that offers everything for everyone often lacks depth on one particular genre or theme. By sourcing rare and independent titles and staying in your lane, you can build customer loyalty.
Offer a curated experience. For online businesses this may include niche book collections that go beyond genre, quizzes, or tools to help recommend books based on interests, or 1:1 virtual shopping consultations. Physical bookstores can offer a warm experience with community-focused spaces and events.
Focus on customer service and relationships. Small businesses benefit from having a small pool of loyal customers with whom they can build relationships. Offer loyalty perks like exclusive events and invest care in a customer service strategy.
Build community. Connect with your biggest fans by building online communities, running in-store events, and hosting virtual book clubs.