Best Practices in Online Selling
“Say you are a consumer of casual interest, or a pharmacist who has a distinct need, but is not operating in the academic universe. We now offer 24- and 48-hour subscriptions [for them], along with our 12-month subscriptions,” Parr says.
What’s important, Anderson says, is to customize purchase options to the needs of your audience. Science Direct launched 4,000 e-books last year, but still makes print copies available for certain disciplines. Online tools augment graphical elements in books, and the company is considering selling e-books by the chapter later this year.
While Hard Case has enjoyed marketing success with community boards, and Focal Press through social-networking sites, Indiana University Press (IUP; IUPress.Indiana.edu) has focused much effort on its blog, which features original content (author interviews, excerpts from upcoming books, etc.) and book-purchase opportunities. A bar down one side of the blog highlights book sales and titles with seasonal interest, as does the press’ home page, which is updated at least once a month.
A recent Web-site redesign made facilitating online purchasing a top priority, according to IUP’s electronic marketing manager, Laura Baich.
“[The creative-service office] did a lot of usability studies,” she says. “They called for volunteers—students and other people—to look at the site. That’s how they came up with the site design to make it more user friendly.”
Improvements include a “bread-crumb trail” at the top of each page, so users always know how to navigate links and get back to where they were. Important features have also been added to the shopping cart.
“They tried to lay everything out very clearly—the shipping address, where you are in the order [process], payment information and delivery information,” Baich says. “They put big, orange buttons on things like ‘change address,’ or to direct people to ‘continue.’ Important things have been highlighted because I think before, people were complaining that [the process] wasn’t as easy as it could be.”