Innovation and re-invention are at the heart of any sustainable growth strategy. Last week there was an article in the Economist about the bookselling industry, particularly book-shops, and how they are needing to innovate and come up with new ideas to maintain their sales and market share. I like the following quote from the story:
Independent bookshops face a particularly grave threat, because they are unable to match bigger rivals’ prices. Many are branching out by offering new services, such as creative-writing classes. BookPeople, a bookshop in Austin, Texas, runs a literary summer camp for around 450 children. Steve Bercu, the shop’s co-owner, says that independent booksellers can still thrive, provided they “reinvent themselves”.
Particularly, the part about BookPeople, who despite being a small community shop, are reinventing themselves and on top of their literary summer camp, run other events for kids, 11 regular book clubs and around 300 other events per year. They have been around for over 40 years and are continually refining what they do. They are utilising new technology and social media tailored to their needs and not to compete. They do sell online but its not their focus and it seems that they are successfully changing the focus on book reading as an individual affair to one that is social, family and community based. They also show their commitment to that and their customers via their opening hours: they are open from 9am to 11pm 364 days per year. Wow! That’s commitment.
Who says that old industries can’t re-invent themselves? The key seems to be finding your niche and giving them what they want.
Do you consider yourself to be in an ‘old’ industry? What are you doing to re-invent yourself?
Thanks to AIGA Wisconsin for the photo.