by Sherrie Wilkolaski
One of the most important things you can do to make sure you’re prepared for books sales is to have your virtual storefront, open for business! Not only is it important for the sake of your visibility as an author, but if you do things right, you may end up actually selling some books!
What is a virtual storefront?
A storefront used to be defined as something concrete, an actual place of business, a brick and mortar type of dwelling. Then thanks to the 21st century and our wonderful new technological advances, we can order products online via a website or even better…from our smartphones. This is what I want to talk about today, getting yourself positioned to take orders and sell books on the fly!
Having a virtual storefront is a great way to make sure that you look professional in the “real world.” You’ll have to try to strike the balance between approachable and polished. It’s a hard tightrope to walk. But a great way to do this is keeping your storefront up-to-date and letting your voice come through so that potential customers can understand that you’re a person too.
If potential readers are browsing late-night on the Internet (guilty!) looking for something to read, you’re giving them an option...something that a bookstore closing at 10 p.m. can’t help with. Plus, that bookstore may only have a few locations...with your virtual storefront you can reach out to all kinds of people that you couldn’t physically hand a business card to.
Are you prepared to take book orders online? From your smartphone? Via a phone call?
Here are some tips on what makes for good virtual sales:
1. Website product placement. You need to have one to sell your books!! There’s a reason that half of the word has a shopping connotation. The traffic that comes to your storefront needs to be able to see what it is that you’re selling...and if you don’t have the products available, you won’t be selling. Be sure to include links to your online storefront at buybooksontheweb.com, as well as Amazon and Barnesnandnoble.com. Don’t forget to include a link to your local indie bookstore!
2. Smartphone that takes credit card orders. Personally, I use PayPal Here which ties directly to my already established PayPal merchant account. I can take book orders on the fly and carry my card swiping tool with me wherever I go. All you need is a PayPal account, fill out their online form and they will mail you the credit card processing tool that fits right into your phone jack…for free! Another option for you is to use Square, it is a little more expensive than PayPal on processing fees, so see which better suits your needs.
3. Virtual Phone Number. I’m going to keep harping on this but authors, if you don’t have a phone number on your website and your marketing materials, you will miss out on what could be potentially big opportunities for a sales OR an chance to do an speaking engagement or other event.
FINAL TIP: Be sure you're promoting all of the different ways you can sell your books, everyone is buying differently these days!
What are you doing to sell more books virtually? Leave a comment below!