The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Getting to Know Your Customers

One of the biggest handicaps (and sometimes--to be honest--benefits) to being on online bookdealer is that you rarely meet your customers. In a B&M store, people wander in and out, you talk about whatever, and you get a sense of them as a person. This can be great for one's well-being (and would probably cut down on my talking back to NPR) but it also has commercial advantages. You can take want lists, highlight books they might enjoy, and save items for the next time they come in.

Lately I've been trying to come up with ways to duplicate this experience with my online store. This blog is part of the answer (I'm also planning to do a virtual reading series, and have guest bloggers down the road), but more direct contact would be nice...

One of my store focuses is sleaze/pulp paperbacks from the 50s and 60s. I've noticed that I have frequent multi-book sales in this category, so I decided to comb my e-mail records and make a mailing list of these customers. In the process I discovered several faithful, repeat buyers that (due to the detached nature of online commerce) I never noticed before. So I started compiling email lists from these sales (including only customers who clearly browsed my inventory extensively) and I'm considering notifying these customers when I have a large buy in a category they've shopped.

Has anyone tried this? Would you be annoyed of put-off if you got such an e-mail? I would provide a clear opt-out option in anything that I send....

What about other ideas to personalize the online bookbuying experience?

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