Buyer's Guide: Why Ecommerce is a Strategic Imperative
This article is from the Book Business Buyer's Guide which is a publisher's reference on emerging technology in the book industry. You can find other Buyer's Guide Sections here:
The tide of retail is turning digital, and the book publishing industry, like most others, is being swept along. Research shows that consumers are increasingly turning to online sources to purchase books. In 2012, online book retail accounted for 44% of consumer books sales in the U.S., up from 39% in 2011, according to Bowker Market Research.
Meanwhile, ebooks have transitioned from a growing trend to a business imperative. Aided by the explosion of tablet computers and ereaders like Amazon's Kindle, ebook sales have surged in recent years, now accounting for nearly 30% of U.S. book sales in 2013.
The bottom line is this: The introduction of mobile technologies like smart phones and tablets is fueling vast shifts in consumer behavior and consumer expectations. To keep pace, book publishers must get to where their customers already are-connected, digital, and on the move. Consumers can, and now expect to, purchase and/or consume books whenever and wherever they want. Book publishers should be aligning their web presence, their digital tools, and their IT to enable customer engagement in the online sphere, with ecommerce firmly at the center of it all.
The Ecommerce Advantage
Ecommerce offers some compelling benefits that could redefine book publishers' relationship to their end consumers. Enabling ecommerce allows consumers to interact with and buy directly from book publishers, which has several upshots: Book publishers bypass distributors and retailers to retain more revenue from book sales, have the opportunity to develop ongoing relationships directly with their readers, as well as gather valuable data that would otherwise be tightly held by intermediaries.