Power Retail Podcast: How Booktopia Became a Real Page Turner

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 07 Jul 2019

Booktopia is Australia’s number one online bookseller. Established in 2004, the company now ships more than two million orders every year. We sat down with Deputy CEO and CTO, Wayne Baskin, to discuss the changing book reader demographic, keeping ahead of the competition and establishing a smooth customer journey.

For a while, it seemed that physical books were on the way out, due to the introduction of eBooks and Amazon’s Kindle. However, the trend of the electronic books started to die down, and the hardback and softback books made their way back into popularity.

“I’ve always said that Kindle is the ‘breadmaker of our century’ now because they’ve bought one, they’ve tried one; they bought one for their mother for birthday presents, but then they tried it and thought ‘Nah, not for me’, and they put it next to their breadmaker or the fondue sets,” explained Wayne Baskin.

In order to become Australia’s number one online bookseller, Booktopia doesn’t focus too heavily on its competition. “We don’t focus on competition as much as people think we do,” explained Baskin. “We look at what others price their books at, but we’re not looking every day; price isn’t big for us. You know, we price our books at a price that we think will be good for the customer, but also allows us to be a sustainable business.”

In order to stay on top, Booktopia remains ‘customer obsessed’. “For us, it’s the customer obsession. We have always had a phone number at the top of our website. People used to call us and say ‘Are you real people?’ – ‘Yes we are’ – ‘Great’, and put the phone down and go and order from us,” he said.

Booktopia has unveiled its latest venture of printing its own books in order to compete against its rivals like Big W and Kmart. The books will only be available to those who are signed up as book club members, who will have access to ‘significant’ discounts on popular books and limited edition copies of bestsellers. The first round of releases will unveil in October and November 2019.

To listen to the full podcast, tune in to the Power Retail Podcast at the Retail Global Gold Coast 2019 Conference below.

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