A few best practices to share to kick off your week:
Offering Shipping Options
Thank you to Suzanna at Oblong Books for this idea: Worried about free shipping for all the orders they were sending out, Suzanna added a shipping option for customers—“I am happy to contribute to the cost of shipping! (Media Rate): $5.00”—and 30% of customers have chosen this option over the free option!
Joining the #SaveIndieBookstores Campaign
The fund is now at $700,000! Apply by 11:59pm on April 27 for your opportunity to receive a cut of the funds.
Detailing Your Bookshop.org Affiliation
A bookstore’s customer recently visited the store’s website and was directed to the store’s Bookshop.org affiliate page to make a purchase. The customer complained that they didn’t realize that they were buying the book from Bookshop. If your store is directing customers to your Bookshop affiliate page to sell books, make sure you’re communicating with them about why they’re being directed to Bookshop. Let your customers know that on your website and provide information about how they should follow up on their order (i.e., through Bookshop). Explain why you’re using Bookshop and explain to them that Bookshop is a B-corp that supports indie bookstores.
Going for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan
A bookstore member recently offered the following report of her PPP experience: “I asked my bank about a PPP loan about March 30 and provided them with all requested forms and documentation on April 3. Working with this bank and filing our application for this loan was started and completed today (April 9) utilizing a company called SmartBiz. This process took about two hours and required the uploading of numerous documents, all of which I had compiled electronically last week. It was far more streamlined than what I believe is typical for SBA loans. It wasn’t too painful.” But remember: Start the process before the funds are depleted.
Selling Non-Book on Your Website
Adding a few high-demand non-book items to your website, like puzzles, cards, or chocolate, can help increase your dollars per transaction. If you have an IndieCommerce site and can still fill orders from your store inventory (via curbside pickup, delivery, or shipping from your store), check out BookWeb for custom products instructions or watch this custom products webinar. The steps are as simple as creating a new product class, managing authoring information, including attributes (if the custom product has attributes, like sizes for T-shirts), adding tax, and creating the product. (Reminder: Media Mail is only for shipping media, like books.)
Using Transparency to Boost Fundraising
Nicole Magistro of the Bookworm of Edwards didn’t just launch a fundraising campaign to raise money for the store during the crisis—she used her GoFundMe campaign as a platform to educate her customers about her business. She was candid about how much payroll costs and how much the store’s rent is, and she detailed for donors exactly how their money was being used: “So proud that we added 80 staff hours between now and Wednesday thanks to YOU!” for example. And Bookworm explained that donations and online shopping were both ways that customers could help support the bookstore. The campaign is almost at its goal, but, more importantly, Nicole has made her customers feel part of Bookworm’s success.
Have any other best practices you want to share? Let us know! And remember, ABA is here for you. Please reach out if there is anything we can help with. We are an incredibly creative, resilient, supportive industry. We’ll get through this, together.