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Five reasons why now is the time to sell books direct
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Posted by IPG
Ingram Content Group, gold sponsor at the IPG’s Autumn Conference, explains some of the advantages of D2C sales
In the past five years, despite all the industry upheavals and added constraints, publishers haven’t seen a serious decline in book sales—yet. But instead of riding out the waves of change and hoping for the best, the business-savvy publisher should consider targeted ways to combat slow growth, such as supplementing your online sales with a direct to consumer (D2C) solution. Such methods can extend your reach and move you closer to decision-makers—your customers—by giving you complete control over the sales cycle.
Here are five benefits to publishers of D2C sales.

1 Diversity of sales channels

Most online book sales take place in a handful of locations—and the majority of them are often at Amazon. In addition to their market dominance, online retailers like Amazon hold most of the power when it comes to defining the sales process.
A D2C sales platform gives you a sales channel you control. You alone call the shots on how the customer’s buying journey progresses. For a bonus, when using a D2C platform like Aerio, 100% of the retail profit earned goes in your pocket. Plus, as a publisher-retailer, you still have your publisher compensation earned on every sale, adding to your direct sales revenue.

2 More options for customers

When combined with smart marketing, D2C sales can also benefit from emergent trends for buying locally or small. This way you become a double threat, gaining more profits while improving your customers’ experience, and thus improving your relationships with them.
According to an article from Adweek, this type of thinking has been adopted by numerous brands looking to redirect reliance on large online retailers like Amazon, while improving the entire customer ecommerce experience.

3 Improved book discoverability

A D2C platform provides one more corner of the internet for you to place optimized book metadata and SEO keywords. It’s a purely consumer-facing platform for your publishing brand. Think of it like adding your very own online bookstore as an extension to your business, providing more room for your customers—and search engines—to explore.

4 Control over price and discounts

Once you establish a position of autonomy from big name online retailers, you can price your books how you see fit. You can also create promotional deals and offer attractive discounts. Want to run a free book giveaway campaign? Go ahead.

5 Ownership of consumer data

On D2C platforms, all the consumer data you gather is yours. Email addresses, engagement analytics and sales reports are just the beginning of it.
Access to good data is an important part of taking ownership and managing the customer experience. It helps to open lines of communication, allowing you to nurture the relationship, continue conversations and frame and target those conversations. For example, engagement analytics can ensure you are delivering the right marketing content to the right audience. Targeting your audience with valued content makes email captures more likely—and with a healthy email list, you can keep conversations moving forward with people you know are interested in what you sell.

Getting started

A decent amount of work can go into managing a D2C sales platform. And like most things in life and business, you’ll get out of it what you put in. Choosing the right platform—one that has various options and services to fit your specific needs—makes it easier.
To learn more, attend a session from Ingram Content Group’s Peter McCarthy at the IPG's 2018 Autumn Conference. Peter will be talking about the fiscal benefits of developing D2C business relationships, and the Ingram solutions that make this possible. More information about the Autumn Conference is here.

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