It is interesting to watch the developments within the Waterstone stores, and the improvements to the in-store experience. As a book lover the new feel is very welcome, it pulls me in and through the store. I find myself beginning to stay longer and visit more sections of the store. There seems to be a good mix face out and spine-on, more interest points, a greater quantity of recommendations, product highlighting and feature points. So I start to pull books from the shelves,and to browse more seriously. I begin to discover titles and my enthusiasm for these books and this shop rises.
I start thinking about capturing the information about these books so I can remember that I may consider buying them. So out comes the iPhone & happily photo the covers into my Evernote books file already wondering about the ebook price and how much I will save.
But then I stop myself, I know the maths, if I choose to buy these books online, that I discovered in-store, then the store won’t survive. I check the prices on the back…ouch £12.99-£16.99, a quick online price comparison shows that the ebook prices are up to half the physical price, and with my preference for e-reading (travel, accessibility)
So here is the next challenge for Mr Daunt and his team. I like your new stores, I love the bookshop experience and I know I need to buy from you to retain this experience, but here’s the problem. My relationship with you doesn’t exist. Yeah, I’ve got one of your cards, (somewhere I forget where), I get your generic emails (yep, they are automatically filed away…unread) but I wish it was better, that you cared more about my browsing and spending. If we are going to get closer then we both need to change our habits, you need to work harder at connecting with me in my local store, make it feel as if I own that store with you, give me more space to sit, read and stay longer, give me free wifi that leads me to your site, give me an offer code that may tempt me to buy the physical book. Work harder at your social media that pulls me into the store…keep giving the new discovery and yes I would buy from you, and I would buy a lot of books, an awful lot.