What makes a Paperight outlet a good bookstore?

Paperight now has over 160 active outlets throughout South Africa. Naturally, some of these outlets are more active than others, and some are better at selling Paperight products than others. This post is to show you what sort of thinking and marketing is going into some of the most successful Paperight outlets.

Marketing: where do we stand?

Curiously, most Paperight-registered outlets have not used any form of marketing to advertise their print-on demand book service, which is strange, seeing as advertising is (rather obviously) the most effective way to inform customers about your services.

Below is a list of the number of sheets of A4 paper printed by selected outlets when selling books via Paperight.

  • Urban Eastern Cape Outlet: 19822
  • Urban Western Cape Outlet: 14740
  • Rural Eastern Cape Outlet: 12422
  • Franchise store #1: 9529
  • Franchise store #2: 7998
  • Franchise store #3: 7424

All of these stores were selling respectable amounts of books with simple advertising, like posters. But the top three on that list got much bigger returns than franchise stores – which have much bigger advertising budgets and much more swish marketing potential – because of these simple things:

At the Rural Eastern Cape outlet, the owner, who runs the outlet out of his home, went to meet with teachers at schools and spoke with students in person. The Urban Western Cape Outlet’s improved sales came after a High School principal approached them after discovering them on Paperight’s outlet map and purchased past matric exam papers for their small matric class. (This initial order also led to a follow up order less than 2 months later.) The Urban Eastern Cape Outlet placed Paperight posters strategically at the entrances of nearby schools and within their outlets. They also trained the few staff they have to use the website efficiently in order to provide great customer service.

Tapping into new markets

When students came to the Urban Eastern Cape outlet to purchase past exam papers, they also discovered that that outlet offers IT training courses. Those students have since shown interest in partaking in the courses after completing high school. If this outlet didn’t advertise effectively, those students may never have gone to that outlet and may never have known that they offer IT courses.

The same is true for your outlet. Many outlets may feel that this is not their market – but we say that it can be. Why limit your slice of the pie? A high school student may come to your store for past exam papers today; next year they may return to buy their university setworks and textbooks from you; a few years later they may return to have their thesis printed; the year after that they may return to buy Write the Winning CV; when in business they may return to have their corporate printing and marketing materials printed.

We don’t see a student, we see an opportunity. Paperight is an opportunity to attract customers to your core business via a market which you otherwise may not have had access to: the bookstore market.

Traditional bookselling is starting to fail

Unfortunately for many, traditional bookstores are fast becoming unsustainable. More and more people in South Africa’s small book-buying public are switching to e-books, taking away a large slice of income from bookstores. E-books however, cannot overcome inaccessibility to books in developing nations of Africa, Asia and South America. Especially not in a world starved of electricity to feed its needs.

On the other hand, bookstores cannot continue to keep doing business as usual and still expect to keep their doors open. Bookstores stock their shelves with books hoping that customers would buy them but, if they don’t get sold, those books get pulped. We all would like to believe that they are given to the less fortunate to stock libraries in areas where books are scarce, but the reality is that in many cases they are simply pulped or recycled.

The print-on demand service which you provide, partnered with Paperight’s system of delivery, is the ideal solution to for the growing gap being left in the market. With print-on demand, there is no need for large amounts of books to gather dust on shelves. Books are only printed as customers need them, which also means less wastage and pollution. You are in the position to offer print-on demand books today without any changes to its existing business.

All that is left now is letting everyone know that you are part of the world’s largest network of print-on demand bookstores. So, get in touch with us if you need materials for your outlet, or how about you print out a Paperight catalogue, or check out our poster archive?

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