Buyer's Guide: Why Ecommerce is a Strategic Imperative
The digital transformation has introduced completely new business models that present both challenge and opportunity for book publishers. Services like Goodreads.com show that reading can indeed be social online, while the rapid adoption of Oyster demonstrates that a subscription-based model is inevitable and hopefully viable, all thanks to the immediate accessibility of digitized books.
These examples provide a glimpse of what's possible. For many book publishers, simply enabling their sites for ecommerce is a good, and logical, first step. They must then create opportunities to engage more deeply with consumers. In other words, give them more reasons to interact, and presumably buy, directly from the publishers themselves. Adopting marketing best practices that encompass multiple channels and content types is an important step in reaching consumers where they already are-on the go across the world. (See the section on marketing automation tools on page 26 for information on staying in front of today's audiences.)
A New, Bumpy Road
Developing a sophisticated ecommerce platform introduces some new challenges for publishers. Providing a web presence with functioning ecommerce now comes with the extra burden of being usable on a variety of mobile devices, browsers, and operating systems. Providing online payment capabilities introduces security issues and regulatory requirements around use and protection of customer information, not to mention digital rights management for ebook sellers.
Ecommerce has existed for long enough that a full range of tools and services exist to address these challenges, while new book industry-specific vendors are carving out a service niche tailored to publisher needs. These solutions can help manage and automate ecommerce within an organization, while providing the agility and immediacy required to compete in today's digital retail marketplace.
Arriving at Ecommerce
Ecommerce tools can be adopted individually or in combinations. Ecommerce platforms typically encompass the full, end-to-end digital process, from order submission to payment to fulfillment. Additional capabilities may be folded in, such as sending automated emails during specific milestones in the fulfillment process.