A well-executed gift guide is a powerful sales tool for bookstores, especially over the holiday season. Avid readers will be looking forward to enjoying the latest release from their favourite author over the summer holidays, and books are a popular go-to for gift giving. A quality bookstore is one of the few places shoppers can confidently go to for just-right presents for everyone on their Christmas list.
Whether your bookstore hasn’t created a gift guide before or you feel past efforts haven’t got much traction, here are five ideas to help your bookstore create a Christmas gift guide that gets attention and drives sales.
- Examine your store’s sales data and industry trends
When you’re pulling your gift guide together, look at your sales reporting for the past few months to identify popular titles, emerging trends and any products tracking well below expectations. You should also check out book industry resources like Books + Publishing for insight into market and consumer trends. For example, did you know that sales of manga rose 86% during 2021? Graphic novels are also flying off the shelves as they’re embraced by younger readers.
- Speak to your employees and customers
Chat to your staff about the titles they think would sell well during the holiday season and encourage them to have a similar conversation with regular customers. Your employees will likely find it easier to sell a book they really enjoyed reading, so give them a voice in your gift guide and physical store.
If your bookstore has a social media presence, you can use polls and other online tools to ask followers about the titles they’d like to read over the summer holidays and the books they’re planning to buy for loved ones. You might also garner some ideas about the types of add-on products they’d be likely to add to cart.
- Create gift bundles
Bundles are a clever way to achieve a higher average transaction value for your bookstore while making life easier for your customers. A Harry Potter book becomes that bit more special when bundled with a collectible figure, board game or mug, for example. You could also look at opportunities to bundle bestselling titles with some of your slower-moving books or gift products.
- Be creative when categorising your products
Consider stepping away from the traditional “books for him”, “books for teens”, and “books under $50” categories and get creative. Marketing to “crazy plant ladies”, “fitness fanatics”, “globetrotters” and the like will let your bookshop show a little personality and demonstrate that you’re different to the large chain bookstores.
- Have a guide for last-minute shoppers
Many of us feel time-poor – particularly during the busy Christmas period. Make it easy for frazzled last-minute shoppers to find the perfect present by creating a section within your gift guide that highlights reliable, crowd-pleasing books that are loved by all types of readers. Don’t forget to include book-focused extras like bookmarks and clip-on reading lights, along with popular gift options like puzzles, games, candles and fancy teas. And, of course, gift vouchers are a no-brainer for last-minute shoppers. If your gift guide is electronic, make sure readers can click through to your website and add gift cards to their cart in a click.