#2 Great idea you intend to do in your store

NEIBA Question of the Week #2

The NEIBA Board members are starting a Question of the Week on the NEIBA Group at Yahoo! Groups (our Listserv). The goal is to share everyone’s common knowledge about bookselling or anything related to independent bookstores.  It is our hope that after the Board has run through with their questions other members will continue the asking.

WI: a 
great idea you intend to implement in your store, a great workshop you went to, an author or book you learned about.

Steve Fischer, NEIBA

Of the many great ideas I heard, one stands out:
Borders concentrated a good amount of time and effort building institutional and corporate sales on a local basis. Borders has disappeared but their customers have not. It may be possible to capture some of those B2B sales within your region. The key is figuring out who those customers are and how to get to them.

Wendy Hudson, Nantucket Bookworks

Here are a couple tidbits I liked:
* Include staff in strategic thinking. Dan from Ingram said that in his background managing restaurants, he found time and again that “when he shared the numbers he got more”. As he put it, “Make your team part of the process because they are integral to the solution.”
* For staff scheduling, Maria’s Bookshop in Durango loves the service at www.workschedules.com, and says that an electronic time clock changed their life. They said even the employee most vocally opposed when they put it in now loves it, because it makes everything so fair.
* Accepting PayPal on your store’s website can really boost sales. If you have an ABA site, they can switch it on for you.
Len Vlahos’s session on BISG data was very interesting – I think he said it will be up on BookWeb soon.

Ann Kingman, Random House sales rep

Speaking personally, the Paypal button can be a HUGE game-changer for online retailers, and lack of Paypal can often be a deal-breaker for me. In fact, just last night I abandoned a shopping cart because the store did not have Paypal. Sometimes I’m just too lazy to go fetch my credit card from my purse. Sometimes the need to go get my credit card takes away from the ‘Impulse” of the sale, and by the time I go get the card (if I do), I have often had a chance to “rethink” the purchase .

Claire Benedict, Bear Pond Books

I came home with a 22 point list of things to do/implement/consider – where do I start? None of them are huge by themselves but the list includes:
– Get Credit Card retention activated on our website
– Analyze last year’s frontlist order for a publisher to go over with the rep during our next appointment
– participate in Abacus survey this year and take a good look at the results
– work with local high school to get volunteer students to help with children’s events
– develop a media kit for events
A book I came home with that I’m absolutely loving is “The Orphan Master’s Son.”

Josh Christie, Sherman’s Books and Stationery

No one from our store made it down to WI this year, but I found the educational handouts listed on the website incredibly helpful. We’ve been working a lot with our local library, and the handouts for that session in particular have some great ideas. The results of the new Verso survey were both surprising and encouraging.

Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books

I made a few notes from Wi7 and will share some here.
* There was an interesting calculation at the non book item discussion that reminded everyone to make sure your sidelines are priced correctly. And if they don’t sell after 4-6 months get rid of them.
* Don’t use zeros in high end sidelines..just write $75-.
* I liked a saying Eat Read Give
* Mitch Kaplan talked about imprinting books for corporate sales. With Borders gone corporate sales could be an opportunity.
* One bright idea in working with libraries is to ask for a charitable donation be given to the bookstore on behalf of the library so the library can come to the store to buy their books with the donated funds.
* Who else uses an electronic time clock for employees besides Maria’s Bookshop in Durango? I find this intriguing. Thoughts?