We at BookNet Canada talk a lot about metadata, sometimes ad nauseam. Accurate and thorough metadata is the best way for consumers to find out about a publisher’s book online. Some people think, “Well, that’s great for online. But we know that a lot of books are still sold in brick-and-mortar stores.” True, but that doesn’t get you off the hook, especially with women. Women looking for their next favourite book will find their perfect match online.
As Paco Underhill tells us in What Women Want, research shows that women tend to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of choice some retail stores now offer. This is not unique to books and it is certainly not limited to women. Browsing in stores has become less pleasurable—and less productive—as we are given more and more options. (However, not having a book in stock is a sale killer. You just can’t win.) This is driving consumers online for research purposes. They look things up online to make their trip to the store less intimidating or less disorienting.
So even if a woman buys her books in a store, you should try to catch her online. This goes not only for the publisher, but for the bookstore too. Booksellers should not miss the opportunity to speak to their customers online. It need not be strictly on a store website, although that’s a good place to start. Use social media and email newsletters.
Recommendation lists are also helpful (duh). Make sure to change them up and personalize and specialize them, if you can. Updating lists encourages readers to return to your website for new ideas, and focusing your recommendation lists gives your suggestions credibility.
An interesting tip for recommending something specifically to women: Women trust women’s recommendations a lot more than men’s. (I guess they’re just sexist that way.) Do with that what you will, but it’s good to know when planning your communication strategy.
Find the previous post on the female book-buying market here.