Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bookstore management principles

What are things to be considered while managing a bookstore? The following explanation is based on my personal experience in running the Xavier bookstore. Managing a bookstore entails various retail business aspects. Similar to other business entities, a bookstore has to be managed on the following principles:
Serve a wide range of customers
Every person needs different categories or titles of books. The books that a bookstore has to provide should meet the demand of the customers. Depending on the educational background of the customers, the manager of staff of the bookstore must make a survey to access the books which customers look for the most. The survey can easily be done by providing a wish list where unavailable books can be written down by the customers so that the next month these books will be arrived or ordered from the supplier. Book owner needs to obtain the books which his customers need in order to meet their demand.
Buy less Sell More
Every business has to make profit in order to cover or pay the expenses spent during the operation of the business and increase or develop the business to create growth to the bookstore
Competitive Price
Selling books is not an easy thing to do. It is not as easy as selling everyday merchandise such as foods and drinks. In addition, the price of the books have to be determined based on the purchasing power of the customers to that they still can buy books after their basic needs have been fulfilled. The profit margins should not be higher than the ones that is applied by other bookstore in the same town or city. If the books that you sell is more expensive than your competitor, people will not come to buy books from you. 
Bookshelves may look similar to shelves that are used by supermarket. But in general the shelves in the bookstore are designed to be in inclined position, some 45 to 60 degrees. This is to avoid the buckling of the books. Bad design bookshelves will buckle the books. Buckled books will not be attractive to customers.
Book Categories
Similar to displaying merchandise in supermarket, the arrangement of books in a bookstore should be based on such categories as school textbooks, children, computer, religion, agriculture, animal husbandry, fishery, forestry, management (accounting, salesmanship, retail, entrepreneurship, finance, banking system), governmental systems, politics, and law, engineering (architecture, civil, mechanical, mining), health, psychology, and etc. The layout of a bookstore must be arranged according to the categories that are applied in the bookstore to help customers find the titles of the books easily. Standard space between bookshelves should be wide enough to allow two people to pass by each other, 1.75 meter up to 2.5 meters should be wide enough for enabling customers move around between the bookshelves without colliding with one another or with the bookshelves. 
Promotion of the bookstore
Self-printed brochures are the cheapest way to promote the bookstore. Inside the bookstore, the staff write or type the synopsis of newly arrived books with small inset photograph of the book on the left side of the page.  Other promotional tools such as banners and mass media advertisement should be carefully considered before executed in order to avoid unnecessary spending that might not be suitable for small business bookstore.
Online bookshop
Today's technology enables bookstore owners to sell their merchandise to overseas customers. The shopping cart technology is now available on the internet and is mostly provided by webhosting company in, for example, a webhosting package, such as fantastico. ZenCart and OS Commerce are examples of free open source shopping cart software which can be used by bookstore owners when they want to expand their business through online outlet.
There are still many things to consider and I will write more about them in my later posts. Thank you. Charles Roring - contact email peace4wp@gmail.com or lroring@yahoo.com

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