Amazon entered the Brazilian market six years ago, initially only selling books.
The country’s most significant book chains sought legal help, with limited success, and Amazon flourished, eventually moving into other products.
The truth is that bookstore owners had ignored the technology revolution and now they are paying the price. In 2015, the book market shrunk by 7 percent, and then in 2016 by 9 percent.
But there is hope. I believe there is a huge opportunity for Brazil’s independent bookstores, if only they were to embrace becoming ‘modern retail stores’.
One size never fits all
Instead of thinking about ‘scale’, the stores need to invest in having a deeper connection with their community. They need to understand who their main customers are, learn their consumption patterns, and recognise what they truly value about their shop.
Be here when I need it
We as customers are more impatient and demanding than ever, and ‘near me’ searches on Google are stratospheric right now. Modern retail stores need to create strategic partnerships with other businesses, using a proactive approach to fulfil their potential.
More than for selling
What is the purpose of having a bricks and mortar bookstore? Is it only to sell books? Once you understand who visits your shop, you can craft unique experiences and events. Surveys confirm this can be successful. British retailer Missguided started purely online, but now has now two bricks and mortar shops. Collaborate with influencers and customers, and craft unique experiences based on what customers need and desire, rather than using the one-size-fits-all approach.
Use cloud solutions to take control of your data, security and servers, and do the same for your email services, e-commerce platforms, CRMs and ERP systems. It will give you a better understanding of your customers and preferences.
Think outside the box
Be different, don’t be boring – because these are unforgiving times! If you can’t find inspiration within your industry, look outside it. Be curious, be humble, ask questions, investigate! Have experienced managers working side by side with the youngsters. Make them visit technology shows, watch speeches and talk to technology suppliers and companies alike. The world is full of outstanding examples of companies that are successfully transforming the way they operate.
However, courage, curiosity and passionate people are required – always!