July 11, 2018 • Aerio Staff
According to two Publishers Weekly (PW) articles, in 2017 nearly flat sales were reported by three of the biggest publishers. The past five years have also seen little to no growth in the publishing industry as a whole, and PW’s annual salary and jobs survey pointed to flat sales as the #1 issue facing the industry today, closely followed by competition from other media.
Halfway through 2018, it isn’t unthinkable that these trends may continue and have a rippling effect on the publishing industry at a wider scale. One viable solution many other businesses facing the same slowdowns have adopted is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales strategy.
No matter the size, when book publishers sell direct , they can discover the added boost needed to get sales moving in the right direction.
In the past five years, with all the industry upheavals and added constraints, publishers haven’t seen a serious decline in books sales—yet. While neither PW article directly identifies where the pressure is coming from, in addition to outside media causing more distractions, many of the survey respondents cited Amazon’s aggressive business model as creating barriers to success.
With a consumer-base that has more options and greater control over the buying process, relying solely on a narrow, somewhat disconnected sales channel, isn’t going to improve your outlook.
Instead of riding out the waves of change and hoping for the best, the business savvy publisher should consider more targeted ways to combat slow growth, such as supplementing your online sales with a DTC solution. Such methods are designed to expand your reach and help you move closer to decision makers—your customers—by giving you complete control over the sales cycle
1. Sales Channel Diversity
Most book sales take place in a handful of locations online —the majority of them at Amazon. In addition to their market dominance, online retailers like Amazon hold most of the power when it comes to defining the sales process.
A DTC sales platform gives you a sales channel you control. You alone call the shots on how the customer’s buying journey progresses.
For an added bonus, when using a DTC platform like Aerio, 100% of the retail profit earned goes in your pocket. Plus, as a publisher-retailer, you still have your publisher compensation earned on every sale, adding to your direct sales revenue.
2. Offer Customers More Options
When combined with smart marketing, DTC sales can also benefit from emergent buy local/small trends. This way, you become a double threat, gaining more profits while improving the customer experience, and thus relationships.
According to an article from Adweek, this type of thinking has been adopted by numerous brands looking to redirect reliance on large online retailers like Amazon, while improving the entire customer ecommerce experience.
For more information about building your own audience with direct-to-consumer book marketing, see:
3. Improved Book Discoverability
A DTC platform provides one more corner of the internet for you to place optimized book metadata and SEO keywords. A purely consumer facing platform for your publishing brand.
Think of it like adding your very own online bookstore as an extension to your business — more room for your customers (and search engines) to explore.
4. Price and Discount Control
Once you establish a position of autonomy from big name online retailers, you can price your books how you see fit. You can also create promotional deals and offer attractive discounts.
Want to run a free book giveaway campaign ? Go ahead.
Want to reward a specific group of readers by offering a promo code? It’s your show.
With a DTC solution like Aerio, you can even collect pre-orders and sell backlisted titles . It’s your sales channel. You control what you sell and how you sell it.
5. Own Consumer Data
All the consumer data is yours.
With a DTC platform like Aerio, customer emails, engagement analytics and sales reports are just the beginning. When you control the sales channel, you also control the data.
Access to good data is an important part of taking ownership and managing the customer experience. Customer data helps open lines of communication, allowing you to nurture the relationship and continue the conversation. It also helps frame and target those conversations.
For example, engagement analytics can ensure you’re delivering the right book marketing content to the right audience. Targeting your audience with valued content makes email captures more likely. With a healthy email list , you can keep conversations moving forward with people you know are interested.
A decent amount of work can go into managing a direct-to-consumer sales platform. And like most things in life and business, you’ll get out of it what you put in. Choosing the right platform, one that has various options and services to fit your specific needs, can help make it a tad easier.
On top of being scalable, Aerio has added convenience for the direct-to-consumer publisher by helping out in a couple of key areas: fulfillment and customer support.
Since you’re basically managing the front operations of an online bookstore, Aerio handles everything on the backend. No more worrying about inventory, pulling all-nighters to get your books out the door, or being available 24/7 to field questions about order status and exchanges/returns. We handle all that so you can focus on selling your great content.