Christian Retailing

Explore potential growth areas to increase sales Print Email
Written by Scott Etheridge   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 03:10 PM America/New_York

Scott-EtheridgeDVDs, audio and ancillary products offer revenue streams

You can build your store’s revenue and draw more foot traffic with movie tie-ins, ancillary product and audiobooks.

Recent statistics and current trends show that retailers across the country have the potential to experience growth in several key product areas: books being converted into movies/DVDs, audiobooks and ancillary products.

Just look at some of the books that have been or are being made into movies, or have close connections to a movie. God’s Not Dead by Rice Broocks and Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo are two recent books that were brought to theaters. Previous films such as The Vow and Fireproof (tied to The Love Dare) and the upcoming movies Same Kind of Different as Me and Miracle on Voodoo Mountain are a few other examples of this book-movie connection.

The stories that were first told in books made them strong sellers before they were turned into movies. However, when they were contracted for film, their “long tail of sales” expanded and was given a new life.

In my experience, the results are great for everyone involved. Publishers will benefit from the additional publicity, retailers will capitalize on revenue opportunity, and consumers will enjoy a new format to consume the books they love.

Here are some helpful tips to make your store more profitable in this area:

Contact your sales representative as soon as you hear about a movie tie-in opportunity. Ask questions like these:

  • “Will there be a new movie-edition cover for the book?”
  • “Will there be additional content (If so, how much and what will it be)?”
  • “What ancillary products will be added to the product line?”
  • “Will there be any licensed products available? Which ones?”
  • “Will there be merchandising materials available to help display the products?”

This kind of dialogue is not only beneficial to you, but it provides valuable feedback to publishers.

Prior to a movie release, you and your staff also can prepare by reading the original book, hosting a staff meeting and discussing opportunities about how to take advantage of sales in your store. If you are short-staffed (or short on time), simply create a “Talking Points” sheet to help your employees engage with customers.

Stock audiobooks related to print books. What does your audiobook section look like? Are you ensuring success by displaying audiobooks near your best-sellers or along with a movie tie-in?

Other questions to consider include: “Do your partner churches have outreaches for the elderly or blind?” and “Have you created a destination point for your community and its audio needs?”

These statistics from the 2012 Audio Publishers Association industry report will help you evaluate your dedicated square footage versus sales revenue.

  • Audiobook publishers are trending at double rates year over year
  • In the last year, 90% of audio listeners have read at least one book
  • 51% of audiobook listeners do so in a car
  • In 2013, there were 45 million units sold and revenue of $407 million

Catherine Zappa, director of licensing and audio at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, sees the benefit of the audiobook for consumers in this fast-paced world.

“Today’s audiobook consumer is the voracious reader that simply does not have enough time to sit down and enjoy reading the printed word,” Zappa said. “In today’s world of multitasking the consumer is any career person, homemaker, parent, student or elderly or vision-impaired individual. They want to be reading everywhere they go and whenever they want as a matter of convenience. Whether driving, exercising, cleaning, working, traveling, listening to your favorite book on audio is always available. This is where the audiobook has the ability to meet the consumer need that a printed book oftentimes cannot.”

Make sure to carry ancillary product. Begin by asking, “Where are the key traffic patterns within my store?” Then, display all related products in those locations. Also, be sure to place products in multiple locations—in various departments and in special sections—to increase sales.

Host a pre-sale event. With movies/DVDs, for example, offer a giveaway to win a specific prize associated with it, such as a book, movie poster or a T-shirt.

As you consider your store and customer base, you will discover that there are a lot of opportunities to capitalize on, including the popularity of a best-selling book, a book being made into a movie, audiobook options and ancillary product lines.

With more than 30 years of experience and numerous awards, Scott Etheridge is an expert in sales and development. A 16-year veteran of the Christian retail industry, Etheridge has produced top sales accolades, including 14.8K Twitter followers and a Klout score of 61. He serves as manager of sales development at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, and is responsible for promotions and sales analysis. Connect with him on Twitter at @scottetheridge.